Health After 50 Topic Page:
Depression and Anxiety
What is a mood disorder? Elation, sadness, anxiety, grief—we all feel these emotions at various times in our lives. Sadness may be caused by a setback or a loss, while anxiety may be triggered by a threat or a challenge. It is perfectly natural for our emotions to wax and wane with the ups and downs of our lives. The difficulty comes when these feelings do not go away—or when they seemingly occur out of the blue without explanation—and begin to interfere with our daily functioning. When that’s the case, a mood or an anxiety disorder may be present.
- Mood disorders include depression and bipolar disorder (a term used to indicate an illness with episodes of both depression and mania). Usually, both depression and bipolar disorder are episodic—that is, bouts of illness are separated by periods of remission.
- Anxiety disorders are characterized by either recurrent or persistent psychological and physical symptoms that interfere with normal functioning, continue in the absence of obvious external stresses, or are excessive responses to these stresses. Specific anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobic disorders.
In any given year, about one in four Americans develops at least one mental health disorder, according to a national survey. Luckily, effective treatments are available. Proper diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders can lead to a remission of symptoms. If you or someone you care about has a mood disorder, obtaining accurate information is an important part of the treatment plan.
- You’ll find articles on: antidepressant therapy, the genetics of depression, trends in psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, animal-assisted therapy, alternative treatments for depression and anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and much more.
For more information on Depression and Anxiety please visit the BOOKSTORE .