November 5, 2018

What Stigma? Always Tell Your Doctor about Anxiety or Depression

By Jesse Pace, DO

Around 40 million adults in the US live with an anxiety disorder, impacting 18 percent of the population and making it the most common mental illness in the US. About 16 million people live with depression every year. While both anxiety and depression can be managed, not even 40 percent of these individuals seek treatment. This is often because of the stigma around anxiety or depression. However, you should always – ALWAYS – talk to a medical provider about how you feel, or if you have any concerns that anxiety or depression is affecting you. This is a case where “always,” always applies.

The CDC says it best: “depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day.”

Anxiety and depression are two different issues, but can sometimes occur together and be difficult to tell apart.

Depression is typically associated with loss of interest in things you used to enjoy doing – it’s feeling down, depressed or hopeless for a long time. Anxiety can manifest as many different symptoms such as feeling irritable, on edge, restless or having difficulty controlling fear or worry.

Often, someone with an anxiety disorder will also suffer from depression, or vice versa.

Either anxiety or depression can be linked to a specific event, but often times a person may not even know why they feel anxious or depressed. Genetics, brain chemistry, personality or life events can all influence a person developing anxiety or depression, which can happen to anyone at any point in their life.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for anxiety and/or depression.

There are several other psychiatric issues that can be mistaken for anxiety or depression. When talking to a provider about anxiety or depression, you may be asked about when your symptoms started, how they affect you, anything that makes your symptoms worse or better, and past treatments you may have tried.

Often times, treatment will involve therapy, medications or consultations with a specialist. If you have concerns about anxiety or depression, always talk to a medical provider. They are here to listen to you, and work with you on finding a treatment plan that’s personalized and works best for you.

Not talking to someone, or a medical provider, about anxiety or depression can do more harm than good in the long run. Always talk to a medical provider if you have concerns about anxiety or depression.


Jesse Pace, DO, is a physician leader at Mission Community Medicine – Glenwood.

Talk to a medical provider or your primary care provider if you have concerns about anxiety or depression. Mission Health makes finding a primary care provider easy: choose the primary care doctor right for you at missionhealth.org/bestlife.

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anxiety and Depression Association of America