Depression and anxiety disorders may sound like opposite conditions, but they have more in common than you may think. Researchers have discovered a new drug that works on the brain's mood messengers whether they're anxious or apathetic.
Janis Schonfeld says she's suffered from depression since she was a teen, but she didn't get professional help until her forties.
"I would tear and cry for no reason, just driving my daughter to school," says Janis.
Sallie Broadway's anxiety disorders put her on the other end of the mood spectrum.
"My eyes start, like I have an eye twitch. I start feeling like I can't breathe and like I'm having a heart attack," says Sallie.
Although Sallie's condition seems opposite of Janis', more than 60 percent of anxiety sufferers experience depression too.
"They both affect your functioning. They're both related to abnormalities of brain chemicals."
Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
"Neurotransmitters are the feel-good chemical messengers that make our brain function," Dr. Says Hyla Cass.
Researchers believe when certain transmitters, like serotonin and norepinephrine are off-balance, it can lead to depression or anxiety.
"It's how the brain is processing the transmitters. It's kind of like the car that is not tuned up very well will tend to run out of gas more quickly."
Traditional antidepressants work on only one brain transmitter, but newer drugs called dual reuptake inhibitors work on both. Medication didn't work for Sallie, but it did for Janis. Today, her depression is gone and she's glad to be back to her old self.
For more on this innovative treatment and others, watch our half-hour special: Medical Breakthroughs 1:30 Sunday afternoon right here on WCTV.