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A Prescription For 'Peace Of Mind'

More than 38 million Americans suffer from depression or some form of anxiety disorder. Despite the many options available, patients rarely receive the right treatment.

Although there is no clear solution to the mystery of these illnesses, a new book, "The Peace of Mind Prescription," examines the various options available and gives some insight into getting the best help for your situation.

Dr. Dennis S. Charney, author of the book, tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler one of the reasons people do not get the right help is because they don't know they are suffering from anxiety or depression.

He notes, "Everybody has bad days when they might feel more tense or feel down. But it's sometimes difficult to recognize when that is turning into a severe problem with depression or anxiety.

"The purpose of the book is to try to empower people so they can recognize the symptoms in themselves or their loved ones can see it, and then help them get the help that they need. If you're having symptoms of sadness and you're losing sleep and you're not eating and losing weight and that's persisting for a long period of time, that's one of the ways that you can identify that you might need some help," he explains.

If you think you need help, Charney says it is important to be an informed consumer. "First, go to your family doctor because getting a physical exam can be important to rule out any physical problems that might mimic depression or anxiety. And in many cases, your family doctor can help you get a referral to an expert. We recommend to patients that they ask the psychiatrist or the counselor if they have been trained to treat depression; and how many depressed patients or anxious patients have they treated so you're informed that you're getting the best care."

Charney points out it should not take years for a person to see improvement. He says, "The good news is that there is effective treatment. So if you can recognize the problem, treatment can be effective, whether it be psychotherapy or medication. Many times the first treatment won't work, but usually within a few months, the vast majority of patients get better."

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