Mixed Anxiety Depressive Disorder – An Overview

Mixed anxiety depressive disorder is a relatively new term in the mental health community. It is defined as a combination of some of the depression symptoms and some of the anxiety symptoms without either one of them being the ultimate diagnosis. In fact, this disorder is only diagnosed when there are no other diagnoses to give.

Unlike anxiety, mixed anxiety depressive disorder is not caused by an individual event or specific stressors in the life of the patient. Also unlike anxiety or depression, drugs and/or alcohol cannot be determined to be a possible cause of the illness.

Symptoms of this disorder include:

Excessive worrying- often seeming as though they are “finding things to worry about”

Fatigue and lethargy- sometimes seen as being “lazy”

Problems with memory- short-term memory may be impaired

Inability to concentrate


Low self-esteem


Problems with sleep- including insomnia or waking frequently

Hypervigilance – constantly being on the lookout for threats

Being overly pessimistic or always expecting the worse outcome

The first line of treatment is usually an anti-anxiety medication such as venlafaxine and after anxiety has lessened, the patient is treated with antidepressant as well. People with MADD do not tend to respond to medications as well as someone with a single disorder. As a result, their social life is limited, work is difficult, and the quality of their life is bleak. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is employed to teach someone with MADD how to change their thoughts, control their reactions, and organize their life to lessen the symptoms. They also learn stress relief techniques such as deep breathing. CBT seems to be the best treatment out there for mixed anxiety depressive disorder.

Research is still being done to determine exactly what causes MADD. There are controversies surrounding this disorder because of the inability to determine an exact cause.