Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/23/2022
If you deal with mental disorders like depression or anxiety, you’re probably very familiar with the symptoms. You may also feel like you’re constantly trying to manage your symptoms or avoid situations that leave you feeling more stressed.
Work can often be a big source of stress, making certain jobs for people with anxiety or depression difficult.
However, work doesn’t have to be a stressor making your anxiety worse. We’ll go over the best jobs for someone with anxiety and depression so you can better manage your mental health.
We’ll start with a brief overview of these two mental health conditions to help you better understand them before getting into the best jobs for someone with anxiety and depression.
Anxiety disorders involve constant worry or fear that also interferes with everyday life and activities. You may experience anxiety symptoms such as:
Obsessive thoughts you can’t control
Feelings of panic and excessive worry
Shortness of breath
Some symptoms of anxiety can differ depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have. Some common anxiety disorders include:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Generalized anxiety disorder can cause excessive or persistent feelings of anxiety or worry. People with GAD may worry excessively about their health, work and social life among other things.
Social anxiety disorder. Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder can cause intense fear or anxiety of being viewed negatively or rejected in social situations. Sweating, trembling, racing heart, trouble making eye contact or feeling self-conscious are common signs of social anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder. Panic disorder can cause people to experience sudden and frequent panic attacks, either after being exposed to a trigger or at random. Panic attacks involve a rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, feeling out of control and chest pain.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).PTSD can cause nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of stress related to a traumatic experience, such as a violent situation, sudden death of a loved one or personal assault.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when someone has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors (obsessions and compulsions). Like other anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder can interfere with a person’s social or professional life and affect their relationships.
People with anxiety may also experience major depression — or depression — at the same time.
People with depression experience a persistently low or depressed mood along with other depressive symptoms that lasts for two weeks or more. A depressive disorder affects how people think, feel and behave and interferes with their lives, from work to social life and relationships.
Or someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder experiences both depressive episodes (periods of sadness) along with manic episodes (periods of a happy, elated mood with higher activity levels).
Some common symptoms of depression in women can include:
A constant feeling of sadness or emptiness
Irritability or frustration
Disinterest in typical activities or hobbies
Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
Thoughts of death or suicide
Different types of depression can include seasonal affective disorder, severe depression, postpartum depression and more.
The cause of depression, as well as anxiety, may vary from person to person, but science does credit imbalances of brain chemicals like serotonin being one possible factor, along with many others, such as genetics, stressful life events and environmental factors.
People with anxiety disorders or depression may worry that certain jobs may not be the best fit for them — especially if that worry or fear about high-stress jobs could worsen their symptoms.
Fortunately, there are good jobs for people with anxiety as well as jobs for people with depression.
Finding a meaningful job can be exciting yet overwhelming, especially for people with anxiety or depression. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggests that work may contribute to anxiety disorders, with many people noting that work anxiety impacts their day-to-day lives.
Therefore, the following factors should be considered when searching for the best jobs for someone with anxiety and depression.
Rather than focusing on your anxiety symptoms that may make a job search daunting, look toward your strengths — or how your symptoms can work in your favor.
For example, typically negative traits associated with anxiety or depression — like a negative mood — have the potential to increase creativity. Another study from 2011 reports a link between creativity and bipolar disorder.
A 2017 study noted that anxiety may be used to boost motivation and performance.
Focusing on your positive traits may help you discover jobs that are suitable for you.
Knowing what triggers your anxiety or depression can help you find the best job. Mental health triggers are situations that may activate an anxious or severe trauma response. Many aspects of a job, such as work-life balance, expectations and deadlines, can result in anxiety and stress.
While it may not always be possible to identify or avoid certain triggers, people can evaluate which jobs may be less suitable for them. If you find that loud or constant noise worsens your anxiety, for example, you may prefer a calm job in a quiet environment.
Another way to reduce stress and anxiety about searching for a job when you have anxiety or depression? Knowing the non-negotiable requirements of a role, such as finances, working hours and location.
Finances can be a top source of stress and anxiety, affecting nearly two in three adults. You may want to figure out what salary you require for financial stability.
Job location can also impact your mental health, especially if you experience anxiety commuting to and from work. Remote and flexible roles may reduce stress and improve productivity by avoiding potential sources of anxiety such as distracting environments or a lack of personal space.
Research from 2021 showed that remote work can reduce psychological and physical stress responses. Whether you work remotely or commute to your job, establishing a healthy work-life balance is also important to your mental health.
A 2021 study found that people with anxiety and depression may experience difficulties with productivity and managing their occupations. So, implementing strategies to help manage anxiety at work could be helpful, such as:
Recognizing and learning how to handle symptoms
Practicing time management and organization skills
Planning for and preparing to overcome potential problems at work
Taking regular breaks
Using employer resources and benefits
Communicating anxious thoughts and asking for help
Learning how to manage your depression or anxiety symptoms can also help you succeed at your job.
While there are jobs for people with depression and anxiety, getting treatment for your mental health can also help in both the short- and long-term.
A common treatment for anxiety disorders and depression is psychotherapy, or “talk therapy”. You can work with a mental health professional to talk about what’s going on in your life, your emotions and what’s on your mind.
The benefits of therapy are vast and may help you:
Identify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors
Learn better life coping skills
Improve your relationships
Become more resilient
No matter the cause, therapy can be a highly effective treatment for both mental health conditions. If you’re interested in working with a therapist to manage your anxiety, you can try online therapy to figure out what type of mental health treatment may work for you.
Both anxiety and depression are incredibly common mental health conditions. Medication is another option to help manage the many symptoms of either disorder.
Certain antidepressants are used to improve depressive symptoms as well as manage anxiety, as some target the same chemicals in the brain responsible for feelings of anxiety and stress. Antidepressants are typically used for long-term treatment as they can take several weeks to start working.
One of the most common types of antidepressants prescribed to treat anxiety as well as depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs used for anxiety include sertraline (Zoloft®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), paroxetine (Paxil®), fluoxetine (Prozac®) and citalopram (Celexa®).
Other types of antidepressants may be prescribed for depression or anxiety including serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). You can learn more about these antidepressants in our guide to the Full List of Antidepressants.
Other medications for anxiety include benzodiazepines, beta-blockers and azapirones like buspirone.
Benzodiazepines are generally a short-term treatment, as long-term use significantly increases the potential for tolerance, dependence and abuse. Some common benzodiazepines includealprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), diazepam (Valium®) and lorazepam (Ativan®).
Because everyone experiences anxiety differently and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” medication, a health professional may prescribe one or several drugs based on your symptoms, general health, lifestyle and other factors.
Our full guide on medications for anxiety can give you more information about anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication. You can also consult with a psychiatrist through our online mental health services to discuss your symptoms and learn more about anxiety medication.
While making changes to your lifestyle won’t treat your anxiety or depression overnight, there are small changes you can make to help manage stress and keep anxiety at bay.
Physical activity is one of the most effective natural treatments to reduce stress, improve your mood and provide sustained health benefits. Start small, with a 10- to 15-minute jog, bike ride or other moderately intense cardio session.
Meditation is another way to relax and reduce stress, with a long history of increasing calmness, improving psychological balance and enhancing overall health and well-being. If you’re new to this mindfulness practice, our guide will teach you how to meditate.
You can find more recommendations (and more info on medication) in our guide How To Calm Anxiety.
While not a specific anxiety or depression treatment, if your symptoms make it difficult for you to manage work responsibilities, you can consider asking your employer for reasonable accommodations.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, some people may be eligible for accommodations to help them manage their anxiety disorder. Potential accommodations may include:
Remote work from home
Removal of certain tasks that trigger anxiety
Receiving instructions in writing, instead of verbally
You should also know that you have legal rights and can be protected at work if you struggle with a depressive disorder or other mental health conditions.
Certain jobs that people with anxiety or depression may consider include:
Lab technician. This job typically involves testing and analyzing various biological and chemical samples but can vary depending if a person works at a hospital, university, clinic, or research institute. It may be suitable if you enjoy the methodological nature of lab work. This job typically requires a college degree, such as a Bachelor’s degree.
Accountant. Accountancy typically involves collecting and documenting financial data and checking documents for accuracy. This may be a suitable role for someone who enjoys numbers and attention to detail.
Librarian. Librarians can work in a variety of settings, such as museums, universities, and public libraries. As such, this role may be suitable for those who prefer quieter or slower-paced environments. The role may involve helping the public find information and resources. This role often requires a Master’s degree.
Fitness trainer. Staying active can help manage anxiety and depression symptoms and maintain mental fitness. If a person is passionate about fitness, they may enjoy helping others to pursue their fitness goals.
Writer. If you enjoy writing and are seeking a flexible role, you may consider a career as a writer or editor. Freelance roles let you work from home, which is particularly significant for people with anxiety.
Software designer. Careers in computing often require people to be meticulous and possess problem-solving skills. Many roles may allow people to work by themselves, while others may need them to work in a team.
Graphic designer. This is a creative role that typically combines illustrations, photo editing, and layout design skills to create visual content. Being creative may help to disconnect from stress.
Even if you’re dealing with the symptoms, there are good jobs for people with anxiety or depression. What can help you succeed at your job is treating and learning how to manage symptoms as well.
One first step you can take is talking to your healthcare provider. They’ll be able to better determine what you’re dealing with and help find the best treatment for you.
Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for everyone dealing with mental health disorders, there aren’t certain best jobs for someone with a mental health disorder.
Some ideas include things like lab technician, librarian, accountant, fitness trainer and many others.
But be aware: the best job for someone with anxiety and depression is one that will bring out your strengths, abilities and interests. While looking for a job may seem overwhelming when dealing with anxiety or depression, it is possible to find the right one for you.