Depression and Anxiety
This health video will show you about the link between the two disorders of Depression and Anxiety.
Dr. Dean Edell: Depression, and anxiety disorders may sound like separate conditions, but researchers have discovered a common link in the brain that could be key to successfully treating both. Take a look at how two new and very different therapies work on the brain's mood messengers.
Janis Schonfeld: I think it was mostly a sad overarching kind of a feeling of hopelessness. Everything just felt very heavy and I had trouble just getting through the day.
Tucker Davis: I didn't really have any motivation to go on. I felt I was a burden to my family and friends.
Dr. Dean Edell: Loneliness, guilt, grief all are common symptoms of depression.
Janis Schonfeld: I would tear and cry for no reason, just driving my daughter to school.
Dr. Dean Edell: Janis Schonfeld says she suffered from depression since she was a teen, but she didn't get professional help until her early 40s.
Janis Schonfeld: I tended it to be a little self-critical because I kept thinking that it was a personality flaw.
Dr. Dean Edell: More than 19 million adults in the US Suffer from some type of depression, six million people are over age 65, women experience it twice as often as men. Sallie Broadway's anxiety disorders put her on the other end of the mood spectrum, sometimes just the thought of certain tasks would surround her in fear.
Sallie Broadway: My eyes start like I have eye twist, and I start feeling like I can't breathe, and I am having a heart attack.
David Hellerstein: Well generally anxiety disorder is a condition where people feel a constant level of anxiety that pervades most of their day-to-day life.
Dr. Dean Edell: Although Sallie's condition seems opposite of Janis's more than 60% of generalized anxiety patients also suffer from depression.
David Hellerstein: They both affect their functioning, they are both related to abnormalities of brain chemicals.
Dr. Dean Edell: Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Hyla Cass: Neurotransmitters are the feel good chemical messengers that make our brain function.
Dr. Dean Edell: Researchers believe when certain transmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine are off balance, it can lead to depression or anxiety.
Male Speaker: It's how the brain is processing the transmitter, that's just kind of like a car that is not tuned up very well, will tend to run out of gas more quickly.
Dr. Dean Edell: Antidepressants can help restore the brain's chemical balance, but traditional depression drugs have a little affect on anxiety and vice versa. Studies show a new group of drugs called dual reuptake inhibitors are having more success.
David Hellerstein: The antidepressants medicines actual increase the amount of transmitter system but they also stop the brain from cycling so much. It sort of calm things down.
Dr. Dean Edell: Traditional antidepressants work on only one transmitter, while dual reuptake inhibitors work on both.
David Hellerstein: With the dual mechanism drugs there is a greater chance that not only with the depressants response might get little bit better, but actually would go into remission, which mean that would mostly go away.
Dr. Dean Edell: Today Janis's depression is gone. She is off medication and back to her all self.
Janis Schonfeld: I feel fine. I actually continue to feel even better.
Dr. Dean Edell: But antidepressants aren't for everyone, when they didn't work for scuba instructor Tucker Davis he enrolled in a clinical trial to test a new depression device.
Tucker Davis: I was quite frankly desperate for any type of relief I could get.
Dr. Dean Edell: Doctors implanted a pacemaker like device called vagus nerve stimulator in his chest.
Mark George: The vagus nerve is a very important nerve that's in our neck that communicates with our brain. It's actually the information super highway for all of the information about how our heart and our lungs and our guts are doing.
Dr. Dean Edell: Every five minutes an electric charge is sent through the nerve to parts of the brain believed to control emotion.
Mark George: Unlike a cardiac pacemaker that's constantly going and that's actually driving the heart, this actually only intermittently sends a signal to the vagus. So it's not on all the time.
Dr. Dean Edell: The device is also being tested on anxiety patients including Sallie Broadway.
Sallie Broadway: I get out a lot more and I participate in a lot more activities than in was doing before.
Dr. Dean Edell: Clinical trials for both conditions are ongoing, but Tucker says he doesn't need more proof, it worked for him.
Tucker Davis: That sense of hopelessness is gone. Life has more meaning for me.
Dr. Dean Edell: Now when he has spotted him it's purely for pleasure.
Only about one third of those suffering from depression actually get the help they need. If you think you have a mood disorder don't wait to snap out of it, get professional help.
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