The mixed depression and anxiety course is our most popular course with more than 2000 patients enrolled in this course since 2012. Why do we think this is? Because more than half of people with anxiety will experience depression and vice versa. Dr. Jill Newby, a researcher and clinical psychologist, has recently led the work here at CRUfAD to update the mixed course. We asked her a bit about mixed anxiety depression.
Q. Why does anxiety and depression go together so often?
It’s not surprising that people experience both anxiety and depression. We know that similar factors make a person vulnerable to experiencing anxiety and depressive symptoms such as their genes, environment and experience of stressful life events. Most people with anxiety or depression will experience the symptoms of both at some stage.
Q. How is THIS WAY UP helping those with mixed anxiety and depression?
THIS WAY UP offers a proven and effective online course for mixed anxiety and depression. We’ve recently updated the mixed anxiety and depression program and we hope these improvements will help even more people get better. Last year we asked patients who had started the program for their feedback and we listened! We updated the illustrations, lessons and added extra resources so that we provide the best service possible.
Q. Is the course effective at treating mixed anxiety depression?
Yes it is. The program is based on a large body of literature showing that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is effective for treating depression and anxiety. In over 26 research trials we have shown that 80% of people who complete all lessons benefit substantially and that 50% of people report no longer being troubled by depression.
This program combines a set of key CBT skills to help people feel happier and more relaxed. The course specifically focuses on helping people to detect and manage the type of thinking that makes people feel depressed and anxious: we call this thinking rumination and worry. Rumination and worry are the labels used to describe repetitive, negative, unproductive thinking. We can tell when we are ruminating or worrying when we’re dwelling on things, when our thoughts go round and round without solutions, and when negative thoughts start to increasingly trigger more negative thoughts. The program specifically addresses this type of thinking, which helps people gain control over it, and feel better long-term.
We’ve also shortened the lessons a bit, and added a few extra resources including the Boosting Motivation resource. We wrote this resource because we know that people with depression and anxiety struggle to get and stay motivated. Low motivation can sometimes affect how much benefit people get out of the program because if you’re not feeling motivated, you may not even log on to do a lesson.
This resource includes practical tips about how to boost motivation, and understand what to do when you lack motivation. The most important tip is to do things anyway, even if you don’t feel like doing it. If we wait until we feel motivated, we may never get motivated and will keep avoiding doing things that have the opportunity to help us feel better. But, if we do things regardless of how we are feeling, motivation will eventually follow. Motivation follows action, rather than the other way around.
Q. Can people reading get a copy of the Boosting Motivation guide?
Absolutely. I’ve provided the download link at the bottom of this article.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for people who decide to sign up and do the mixed course?
- Set aside time each week to work on the program, and make it a priority.
- Tell other (supportive) people you’re doing the program, and get them to read it too so they know how to help, and so you’re not alone.
- Keep a notebook, journal or folder to keep all of your resources in.
- Don’t try and do it all at once. The beauty of online programs is that we can revise it at any time of day, any day. We don’t have to wait for an appointment to learn new skills or to practice our new skills. Split the program up into smaller parts. Tackle one part at a time, and revise, revise, revise.
- Set yourself goals each week to work on, and write them down. When we write on the action plans and lesson summaries, we benefit more.
- Ask for help if you have trouble with any of the skills, either from the This Way Up Clinic clinical team, or from your clinician.
- Be patient and don’t give up…. With time, the skills you learn in the program will be life-changing, but they take time, persistence, and hard work to turn them from new skills into habits.