Do Antianxiety Medications Help Treat Depression?

Question: Do antianxiety medications help treat depression?

Answer: About two-thirds of patients with major depression also have anxiety symptoms. About a third of patients with major depression actually have panic attacks. So anxiety is a very very common symptom of depression. So it's very common for patients with major depression also to get an anxiety medication. An antidepressant once it's effective is going to help somebody get over not just the symptoms of depressed mood, but also the anxiety symptoms. In the short run though, when a depressed patient has severe anxiety so severe they may not be able to function during the day or sleep at night, it can be helpful to use a small amount of an antianxiety medication. Usually we use these only for about two or three weeks to get somebody started on the antidepressant, and then after that they're able usually to do without the anxiety medication at all.

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