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Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder

Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder

Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder (MADD) is the most common mental disorder in Hong Kong, affecting about 7% of Hong Kong people. It refers to the condition when both anxiety and depressive symptoms are present, but neither types of symptoms are of the severity that warrant a separate diagnosis on its own.

Nevertheless, studies showed that individuals affected by MADD were distressed as those affected by anxiety or depression. Their work and daily life may be severely affected too. It could even evolve into depression, anxiety or other mental health problems if it is ignored. Therefore, early detection and proper treatment are very important.

Life is busy in Hong Kong. Facing stress, it is normal to feel down occasionally. However, when individuals are experiencing MADD, they will find it hard to feel happy. Even after work, they may lose interest in activities that they normally enjoy, or withdraw from others. At the same time, they may be over-worried about these and other things such as work, family or daily life, which makes them hard to relax.

Besides the impact on mood, they may also experience body discomforts such as dry mouth, dizziness, tremble, muscle tension or palpitations. Over a period of time, they may be easily tired and hard to concentrate at work. It may also affect their appetite or lead to loss of sexual desire. They sleep poorly although they are tired. It is common to have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and keep thinking about worries in work or daily life.

If some of the above conditions occur over a period of time and affect your daily life, please consider seeking advice from professionals.

What can you do if you or someone you know have similar conditions?

Step One: Professional Assessment
We will see a doctor when we are feeling ill. Likewise, if you or someone you know suffer from the above mood problem, do seek professional assessment from doctor or clinical psychologist to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Step Two: Appropriate Treatment
If treatment is indicated upon assessment, there are treatments that have been clinically proven to be effective for MADD.

Psychological Therapy
Health care workers will first understand the situation and come up with a treatment plan together with the affected individual. The individual will then be guided to understand the relationship between emotion, behaviour and cognition, to modify negative way of thinking step-by-step, and to learn about stress and emotional management techniques. Through treatment, the individual will be able to build a healthier lifestyle.

Drug Treatment
Doctor may prescribe drugs after assessing the condition of the individuals.

Step Three: Listen Empathetically and Walk together

When our loved ones suffer from mental disorder, we will feel the urge to help relive their distress. However, this may sometimes put the individuals under greater stress as they have trouble controlling their emotions or thinking positively.

Avoid saying:
“You should be tougher. Just let it be.”
“You shouldn’t dwell on the negative sides!”

Don’t rush to change them. Try to listen, understand and accept their feelings and needs at the moment.

Try to say:
“I know you’re so worried. It must be very tiring and you don’t want to be like this.”
“Take it step-by-step. Let’s look for help together.”

When facing distress, the affected individuals may sometimes blame themselves for not being strong enough. In fact, none of us want to suffer from mood problem. The encouragement and company of family and friends throughout the process will be important to the recovery.

If you wish to get more relevant information, please call:

Hospital Authority Mental Health 24-hour Hotline: 2466 7350
Social Welfare Department Hotline: 2343 2255