For many years, psychoanalysis was the primary treatment of both depression and anxiety. Psychoanalytic theories held that depression and anxiety were psychotic disorders triggered by internal conflicts, and psychoanalytic treatment focused on helping people understand and manage these conflicts
A number of new treatments have been developed for depression and anxiety, all of which have varying degrees of success. Psychotherapy treatments include behavioral, cognitive and interpersonal therapies. Pharmacotherapy, in contrast, involves treatment with clinically-managed medication.
Some of the most common psychotherapy approaches include relaxation training for those with anxiety and preventative exercises for those with depression. Pharmacotherapy for both anxiety and depression often involves antidepressants and other medications, such as benzodiazepines and lithium.
These new treatments for depression and anxiety have varying degrees of effectiveness. For example, cognitive therapy, which focuses on an individual challenging and revising unhealthy thought patterns, has shown to be more effective than medication with treating anxiety, but less effective than medication with depression.
The most effective treatment for a person who suffers from anxiety or depression is often one tailored to that individual's specific needs. Some patients, in fact, benefit from a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatments.
Between five and 10 percent of the adult population suffers from either clinical depression or anxiety, and often people with major depressive disorder also experience generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). New treatments for both disorders involve a wide range of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral treatments and pharmaceutical medications.