Depression and anxiety can make you feel powerless. There are many ways you can take action, though, and gain a greater sense of control over your emotions and your life.
Take questions about depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, or other mental health concerns to your doctor or a mental health professional. They will assess your situation in the context of your overall health and help you determine the best action to take—whether it’s to consider medication, begin talk therapy, or explore other options.
Addressing mental health conditions usually requires some combination of solutions, including:
Speaking to a mental health professional is a great way to explore root causes and patterns that may be factors in cases of depression or anxiety. There are several types of providers in this category, so you may want to ask your primary doctor for a referral.
MD psychiatrist Psychiatrists have a medical degree in psychiatry and specilize in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental illness. They are authorized to prescribe medications.
PhD psychologist Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology and specialize in behaviors and the mind. They provide counseling, pyschotherapy, and psychological testing.
Licensed mental health counselor Licensed mental health counselors have a master’s degree in psychology or counseling. They provide counseling or psychotherapy to evaluate and treat mental health problems.
Clinical social worker Clinical social workers have a master’s degree in social work. They evalute and treat mental illness, and can provide case management and advocacy services for patients and families.
Several prescribed medicines have proved to be very effective in treating depression and anxiety. Your doctor can help determine whether a specific type would be best for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with other medications you are taking. Here are some of the types of drugs most commonly used to treat depression and anxiety:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) SSRIs make more serotonin available to the brain, which can improve mood. They are typically taken daily.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) SNRIs increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain and are typically taken daily.
Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines are used for short-term or episodic anxiety management. IMPORTANT: Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are taking a muscle relaxant or opioid for pain before beginning benzodiazepines, as it is unsafe to mix these medication types.
When you’re ready to talk to someone, you have lots of options. Maybe you want to begin seeing a mental health professional for therapy. Perhaps you’d rather start by sitting in on a group counseling session. You might just want to learn more about what local advocacy groups are doing in your area. Use the approach that’s best for you.
BCBSAZ network providers.
To find a complete list of healthcare providers affiliated with your network, log in to your MyBlue® online account. If you haven’t already done so, set up your account and choose your network from the drop-down menu. Then, enter the specialty you’re looking for–such as psychiatry, psychology, counselor, etc.
This telehealth service is available with some BCBSAZ health plans. If it’s a benefit with your plan, it’s easy to learn more about it and sign up. If not, there are companies who offer this service for a fee. Search ‘telehealth’ online for a list of companies.
Arizona advocacy groups. Get involved and learn more by connecting with organizations dedicated to the mental health of Arizonans.
Support groups for individuals and families.
Connect with other Arizonans who are living with or around mental illness to share coping strategies and success stories. Lists of free support groups located throughout the state are available from NAMI Arizona and Mental Health Arizona.
At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we’re committed to ending the stigma that’s sometimes associated with mental illness, because nothing should stand in the way of someone getting help. We believe that all Arizonans deserve not just to feel well, but also to feel proud of advocating for wellness in all its forms.
Here are a few ways you can help shift the tone when it comes to mental health:
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