Depression and Anxiety Disorders
At Mount Sinai, we understand the significance of mood and anxiety disorders—serious mental health conditions that affect your overall sense of well-being. We recognize the difference between common temporary changes in mood and actual chronic mood disorders. Our staff of psychotherapists and psychiatrists understand the importance of diagnosing mood disorders accurately.
There are many types of mood and anxiety disorders, the most common are:
- Anxiety: An illness that leads to stress, fear, and debilitating uneasiness with no outward cause
- Bipolar disorder: Extreme swings in mood and energy that affect the ability to function.
- Depression: The condition of lasting sadness that causes both physically and mentally disabling symptoms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A reaction to a traumatic event that makes it difficult or even impossible to function with ease
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a possible mood or anxiety disorder, you can get help by making an appointment to see a medical or mental health professional. There are a various treatments available from talk therapy to medications that can make a difference in improving your quality of life.
Conditions We Treat
We offer treatments for those with a wide variety of disabling symptoms.
The most common signs of depression are a discouraged, overly sad, or irritable mood most of the day and nearly every day for at least two weeks. Depression often prevents you from enjoying activities that you used to find enjoyable. Additional symptoms include otherwise unexplained weight loss or gain, changes in sleep, loss of energy, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm. While the number and severity of symptoms vary by person, depression can affect every part of a person's life, including the ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy regular life activities.
Depression should not be confused with the blues or normal feelings of sadness, grief, or disappointment that often occur following stressful major life events such as bereavement, loss of employment, or relationship problems.
If feelings of depression persist beyond what seems to you to be a reasonable period of time, we encourage you to speak with a health care provider to find out if you are experiencing depression.
It is normal to experience some level of anxiety. However, when the level of anxiety you are experiencing—extreme worry, fear, and nervousness—interferes with your day-to-day activities, you may have an anxiety disorder. There are many types of anxiety disorders and related illnesses. Anxiety disorders share common symptoms of uneasiness, inability to feel calm or to sleep well, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
To receive a diagnosis and treatment, you will need to schedule an in-person assessment by a trained clinician.
Patients with bipolar disorder seesaw unpredictably between two types of mood extremesꟷmania and depression. The mania phase of the disorder brings increased energy and less need for sleep accompanied by extreme irritability or an unreasonable sense of elation or happiness. The depressive phase is characterized by fatigue and an irritable down mood, almost the polar opposite of the manic phase. Both moods may feel normal to the patient, but the extreme swings affect the ability to maintain relationships and manage daily activities.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but treatments can decrease the number of mood swings and lessens the severity of the changes. Enjoying life, succeeding, and having healthy relationships are all possible with the right care.
Treatment programs for bipolar start with an accurate diagnosis of the disorder. Once we have determined what is going on, we can offer psychotherapy, medication, and the possibility of participation in clinical trials for new treatments. Medications to treat bipolar disorder include antipsychotics, lithium, and anti-seizure medications.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from a terrifying or life-threatening eventꟷsuch as military combat, a violent attack, a serious accident or illness, or a natural disaster. While military service during war is a common cause of PTSD, it is not the only cause of PTSD.
Fear during such events is a natural response. However, when the level of anxiety that you or a loved one experiences afterward interferes with everyday life, it may be PTSD. This disorder can make it difficult to socialize or work due to symptoms such as flashbacks to the trauma, irritability, an overactive startle response, or being extremely sensitive to your environment in a constant state of anticipating danger (hypervigilance).
Signs of PTSD usually occur within three months of the traumatic event. There can be a delayed onset of PTSD with many months or years passing before symptoms appear.
Treatments We Offer
To treat mood and anxiety disorders, our specialists first assess your symptoms to make an appropriate diagnosis. Following that evaluation, we develop a treatment plan designed for you.
Treatment often involves a combination of therapies incorporated into your daily life. We often use talk therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive psychotherapy. In addition, we may prescribe medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. The type and severity of your condition determines which treatments are right for you. In addition, you may want to participate in one of our treatment programs.
We also conduct research to develop new and better antidepressants and psychotherapy approaches. You may want to ask your doctor if you are eligible to participate in one of our ongoing studies.