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Understanding anxiety, depression and effective interventions

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health concerns. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be highly effective in treating the mental and physical symptoms of these disorders.

Megan Marchetti
April 11, 2024

Do you ever feel like your mind is racing and bouncing from one thought to the next, to the point where it feels impossible to focus on the task at hand? Or maybe all of a sudden your heart starts pounding, your palms are sweating, and it feels difficult to catch your breath. Do you feel overwhelmed with worry and fear of the unknown, or so weighed down by the heaviness of it all that it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Maybe you don’t feel anything at all, and you start to wonder if other people experience the same sense of “numbness” that you do.

If you see yourself in any of these statements, let us be the first to tell you that you are not alone, you are not broken, and you are not wrong. You are a person, like so many of us, experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, or mood dysregulation. And yes, it absolutely can get better.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experienced mental illness in 2021 (NAMI, 2023). Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health concerns, with depression affecting over 8% of adults in the US, while anxiety impacts a staggering 19.1%. Based on these statistics, you are more likely to experience anxiety or depression in your lifetime than to break a bone or get a speeding ticket. Additionally, the prevalence of mental illness can vary greatly based on factors such as socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, gender, age, cultural identity, and access to healthcare. 

An overview of anxiety and depression

So, what exactly are we talking about when we talk about anxiety? Anxiety can be understood as a natural and adaptive response to stress or perceived threats, characterized by apprehension, nervousness, worry, or unease (APA, 2024). Anxiety has the potential to serve as a protective mechanism, alerting and preparing us for some future-oriented threat. However, when anxiety becomes excessive, persistent, or disproportionate to the actual or perceived threat, it can evolve into an anxiety disorder.

Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and specific phobias. While the presentation of anxiety disorders can vary based on the individual, some key features of anxiety include:

  • Excessive, persistent, and intrusive worry about future events or perceived dangers.
  • Physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate, excessive sweating, muscle tension, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea.
  • Restlessness, irritability, feeling on edge, difficulty concentrating or sleep disturbances.
  • Avoidance of certain tasks, triggers, or situations; social isolation, reassurance seeking, or repetitive or ritualistic behaviors.

It is important to note that anxiety is a human emotion, and an important one at that. Anxiety allows us to be more cautious in unfamiliar surroundings, motivates us to prepare for an upcoming exam or presentation, or drives us to avoid a situation that could cause potential harm. Anxiety is our brain and body’s internal risk assessment, but when anxiety becomes excessive, chronic, overwhelming, or disproportionate to the situation at hand, it can have significant impacts on our well-being and overall functioning.

Depression, on the other hand, is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in activities that were once enjoyable. Common depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and persistent depressive disorder. Depression can vary in severity, intensity, and duration from person to person. It can occur as a single episode or reoccur throughout a person’s life. Some key features of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness, emptiness or hopelessness that occurs most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyable.
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns that result in sudden weight gain or loss, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or excessive fatigue.
  • Increased lack of energy, even after adequate amounts of rest.
  • Difficulty concentrating, impaired memory and difficulty making decisions.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt or negative self-image. In more severe cases, individuals may experience thoughts of death, self-harm or suicide.

Aside from these symptoms, anxiety and depression can have far-reaching ripple effects that extend beyond the individual and impact multiple aspects of life. These experiences can result in strained relationships, decreased productivity and impaired performance, the development of chronic health conditions or sleep disorders, elevated family conflict and an increased risk of substance abuse. 

Recognizing and understanding these complex and multi-dimensional impacts further emphasizes the need for comprehensive mental health services, effective interventions, accessible resources and treatment, and destigmatizing of mental health conditions. 

Treatment of anxiety and depression through cognitive behavioral therapy 

There are numerous approaches and interventions when it comes to the treatment of anxiety and depression; however, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) stands out as a highly effective and evidence-based treatment modality for individuals struggling with these symptoms. Formulated from ample research and clinical practice, CBT has over 70 years of scientific evidence attesting to its efficacy and ability to produce lasting change. CBT focuses on the interconnected relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and argues that many psychological challenges are rooted in unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving (APA, 2017). Through structured, skills-based, and collaborative interventions, individuals involved in CBT treatment can learn to recognize and challenge unhelpful ways of thinking in order to create new, more adaptive perspectives. Additionally, CBT supports individuals in:

  • Developing positive coping strategies to help manage difficult situations
  • Mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques to help process challenging or uncomfortable emotions
  • Effective problem-solving skills to build self-confidence and resilience

Get connected. Get support. Get better.

At HealthONE Mental Health Therapy Center, we are committed to providing effective, collaborative, and holistic services to individuals experiencing mental health needs. Our licensed professionals are highly trained and skilled in evidence-based treatment modalities such as CBT, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, mindfulness-based techniques, and trauma-informed interventions to help address a wide variety of mental health services. Our individual and group counseling services include comprehensive evaluation and treatment of issues such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma
  • Life stressors or transitions
  • Relationship difficulties

If you are looking for mental health services that provide lasting change, then we are here to support you on your journey towards well-being. The goal at HealthONE Mental Health Therapy Center is not to provide a quick fix, but instead to learn more about your specific experiences and how we can support your unique needs. We provide care that equips you with the tools and strategies to help manage your mental health symptoms and improve your health and quality of life.

If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing mental health services, please give us a call at (303) 749-3070 or visit We look forward to meeting you.


National Alliance on Mental Illness (2023). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association (2024). Anxiety. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association (2017). Cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD. Retrieved from


April 11, 2024
HealthONE Mental Health Therapy Center

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