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The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are often described together. However, this doesn’t always mean if you feel one that you have the other. They are pretty distinct from each other, but sometimes the lines get blurred between which is which. In society, we often assume that if someone has anxiety that they also have depression because of media constantly pushing them together. What it boils down to is that we have failed to distinguish the difference between sadness and fear. What is the difference between anxiety and depression? How are they similar?

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that creates feelings of sadness or hopelessness. It is normal to feel sad or hopeless every once in a while, but when those feelings persist over weeks, it could be an indicator that you may have depression. Some of the major symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Lost interest in everyday activities or hobbies
  • Decreased energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Eating more than usual or less than usual
  • Sleeping more than usual or less than usual
  • Having thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Body aches that won’t go away

You do not have to experience every symptom in order to have depression. However, symptoms of depression must last persistently for two weeks or more to be considered depression. Hearing that may make you think it would be fairly difficult to develop depression, but that isn’t the case. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one out of every six adults will have depression at some point in their life. Depression can be passed down genetically. It can also be developed over time due to trauma, life changes, medical issues, medications, and more. 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mood disorder that creates feelings of nervousness or worry. These feelings are also a normal part of life when they are felt every once in a while. Having these feelings occur often is an indicator that you may have anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling nervous, worrisome, or afraid
  • Having feelings of panic or doom
  • Increased blood pressure or heart rate
  • Shaking and sweating
  • Avoiding everyday tasks
  • Feeling out of control

Unlike depression, these feelings are not often constant over weeks. However, they do occur excessively and are often triggered by an outside influence whether you know the trigger or not. Triggers of anxiety can be as simple as someone saying a word your brain has associated with danger, seeing a picture of an animal you fear, or walking into a crowded store. It is important to tell someone when you feel anxious. Having someone to talk to when you feel symptoms of anxiety can play a huge role in easing your anxiety.

There are also many different types of anxiety; generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD are a few of the more widely known anxiety disorders. Each type of anxiety disorder comes with its own criteria and symptoms. Like depression, you don’t have to experience every listed symptom in order to have anxiety. The major criterion is that your symptoms occur excessively over time.

How Are Anxiety and Depression Similar?

We know the major difference between anxiety and depression is that depression consists of feelings of sadness while anxiety consists of feelings of fear. Now we have to ask, how are they similar? First and foremost, both anxiety and depression are mood disorders. They also have a few overlapping symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Becoming increasingly irritable
  • Restlessness
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Trouble concentrating

Having a support system can also help you identify whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can talk with you about what you are feeling and be there for you through your mental health journey.

Treatment for anxiety and depression are also similar. Both consist of talk therapy, exercise, changes in diet, and, in some cases, medication.

When to Look For Help

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both, it may be necessary for you to seek help from a professional. By talking to a counselor or therapist, you can find out whether or not you have anxiety or depression. It is not uncommon for people to have both at some point in their lives. There are many types of therapies that work to guide people through their anxiety and depression, and at least one will work for you. Some of the most popular types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy.

You don’t have to face anxiety or depression alone. There is a therapist out there ready to help you. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t deserve to get better, but that isn’t true. No matter who you are, you deserve to be happy.

Have you considered speaking with a therapist about how you feel? A therapist can help you distinguish whether what you are feeling is anxiety, depression, or both. Don’t let anxiety or depression stop you from living a full and happy life. You are more than your anxiety, and more than your depression. With Mindfuli, you can develop coping strategies that help you manage your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Therapy can give you the knowledge you need to overcome your mental health struggles. The therapeutic alliance is at the heart and soul of the care provided through Mindfuli. To learn more about our virtual therapy platform, call us at (866) 973-4415.

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