Mixed Anxiety and Depression Disorder: Definition, Symptoms, and Causes

Mixed anxiety and depression are a mental health disorder characterized by symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the signs do not qualify for a depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

The recognition of this is relatively new; the combination of depression and an anxiety disorder (comorbid) has long been recognized as the one that commonly affects many people.

What are the symptoms and signs of mixed anxiety and depression disorder?

The essential feature of this disorder is persistent or recurrent dysphoria that lasts at least one month; this mood is accompanied by additional symptoms of the same duration, including a minimum of four of the following:

  • Difficulty with concentration or memory.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Acute irritability.
  • Intensity.
  • Cry easily, or have feelings of hopelessness, pessimism about the future, worthlessness, and low self-esteem.
  • Anticipation of danger and insecurity all the time

These symptoms cause significant clinical discomfort or impairment of social, work, or other essential activities.

Many people experience symptoms of depression and anxiety at a similar time, usually severe enough for each to be diagnosed. Between 100% and 60% of people with anxiety disorder jointly experience a major affective disorder, and about a third of those people experience depression before the panic begins.

For others, restrictions on modus vivendi and the erosion of social and emotional well-being caused by current anxiety can lead to depression. However, mixed anxiety and depression disorder occur once someone experiences symptoms that do not appear to be sufficient to identify the associated mood or mood disorder, although the symptoms cause emotional distress or interfere with educational activities and social. Identification of the disease could also be ensured if the person has practiced a persistent or continuous depressed mood for at least a month amid various alternative symptoms.

This diagnosis is also inappropriate if the criteria for any other anxiety or mood disorder are met simultaneously, even if they are in partial remission.

What are the causes of mixed anxiety and depression disorder?

In numerous studies of disorders of anxiety and depressive disorders, experts have reached similar results on their causes; both diseases are probably caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

  • The biological factors include imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain and genetic predisposition.
  • The psychological factors may include trauma or stress.
  • The environmental factors are linked to psychological factors and include an unstable home environment or socioeconomic factors.

Since the possible causes of depression and anxiety disorders are very similar, it is not surprising that these disorders occur so frequently together: approximately 58% of patients with major depression have an anxiety disorder, and about 17.2 % of patients with generalized anxiety disorder have depression.

Mixed Anxiety and Depression Disorder

How is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders can be very similar. A diagnosis of this mental health problem compared to depression, or an anxiety disorder can be difficult.

Many people experience symptoms of depression and anxiety simultaneously, often severe enough that both can be diagnosed. Between 10% and 65% of people with panic disorder also experience the major depressive disorder, with about a third of those people experiencing depression before the onset of panic.

For others, lifestyle restrictions and the erosion of social and emotional well-being caused by ongoing anxiety can lead to depression.

How Is Long-Lasting Mixed Anxiety and Depression Disorder?

This disorder occurs in eight out of every 1,000 people worldwide. The associated prevalence rate is prevalent in medical settings at around 1.3 – 2%. It is one of the most common mental health disorders.

It was recently included in the upcoming DSM-5, so it is difficult to get accurate information on mixed anxiety and depression disorder prevalence.

How to treat mixed anxiety and depression disorder.

There are no studies that explain or compare the treatment methods for this type of mixed disorder; doctors and experts in the field present the appropriate treatment depending on the generated symptoms, the severity, and the effectiveness of the different treatment methods.

Psychotherapeutic approaches can be used for a short period, such as cognitive or behavioral therapies. However, some doctors or therapists use a slightly less structured psychotherapeutic approach, such as introspection psychotherapy.


Drug treatment for mixed anxiety and depression disorders is usually with anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, or both. The type of anxiety symptoms a person experiences typically dictates what types of drugs a doctor will use to treat the disorder.

The types of medications used to treat this condition include:

  • Anti-anxiety medication (anxiolytics)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buspirone
  • beta-blockers
  • Antidepressants
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

The types of medications prescribed work to treat the various symptoms caused by depression and anxiety; with depression treatments, in particular, it can be difficult at first to find the proper medication to meet a person’s individual needs. It is not uncommon for doctors to try two or more different antidepressants before a person finally gets relief from depression symptoms.

Of the different anti-anxiety medication options, benzodiazepines, while effective, carry a risk of addiction. People who have had problems with addiction in the past may wish to avoid benzodiazepine medications as a treatment for the disorder.

Psychotherapy treatment

Psychotherapy for mixed anxiety and depression disorder comes in two forms: cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, each approach focusing on different aspects of the disease.

The cognitive-behavioral therapy approach works to modify the negative thought patterns that drive the symptoms that a person experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapists also work with a person to alter any negative behaviors that perpetuate their symptoms.

The interpersonal therapy approach addresses specific problem relationships that may be aggravating a person’s mixed anxiety-depression disorder symptoms. In effect, therapists help a person identify specific relationship patterns that worsen their symptoms; this may involve behavior modification exercises designed to help improve communication and general social skills.

The idea is that the patient resumes their previous level of activity; to do this, a therapist encourages them to do pleasant activities, either gradually returning to one or participating in a new one.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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