What is Anxious Depression? A Brief Explanation - Active Path in OR and WA

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What is Anxious Depression?

Anxious depression refers to the anxiety symptoms present in patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD).  It affects approximately 10-16 million adults in the United States each year.  This is distinct from patients who experience depression that is triggered by a primary diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or panic disorder. Anxious depression is linked to greater severity of depression symptoms, higher risk of suicide, reduced response rates to treatment, and higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

How is Anxious Depression different from  GAD & MDD on their own?

For MDD, the trigger is related to a sense of sadness, whereas anxiety grows from thoughts of a future “threat” whose likelihood remains unclear. While depression is defined by a lack of energy, anxiety is perceived as more of a system overload and is tied to excessive concern over the possibility of experiencing harm. Common anxiety symptoms include nervousness, feelings of panic, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, insomnia, trembling, and difficulty focusing or thinking clearly.

Anxious depression refers to the comorbid anxiety symptoms in patients with depression. Over 50% of patients with depression experience significant symptoms of anxiety. 

TMS Treatment for Anxious Depression

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-cleared treatment for anxious depression and is covered by most insurance plans. TMS is non-invasive, does not require anesthesia, has no systemic side effects, and can be easily incorporated into the patient’s daily schedule. Patients can drive themselves to and from treatment. The treatment protocol for anxious depression mirrors the one for depression so there is an added benefit for patients who may have only been treated for depression in the past. 


Rodriguez, Tori. “Examining Anxious Depression: Differences in Course and …” Examining Anxious Depression: Differences in Course and Outcomes, 17 Dec. 2017, https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/mood-disorders/depressive-disorder/examining-anxious-depression-differences-in-course-and-outcomes/. 

“Deep TMS: Anxious Depression Treatment – Brainsway.” Introducing BrainsWay Deep TMS for Anxious Depression, https://www.brainsway.com/treatments/anxious-depression/. 


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