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Anxiety And Depression - How Are They Different?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Nisha Khanna 86% (54 ratings)
Ph. D - Psychology
Psychologist, Delhi  •  20 years experience
Anxiety And Depression - How Are They Different?

It is true that anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health problems now. In reality, anxiety and depression are two separate states of emotion. If the person is suffering from an anxiety disorder, he/she may or may not suffer from depression. The opposite is also true. One suffering from depression may not have any symptoms of anxiety.

In fact, in about 50% of the cases, people with depression may suffer from anxiety, and vice versa. Since anxiety disorder and depression are two different emotional states, proper diagnosis is the key to proper treatment.

To differentiate between the two, one needs to have a fair knowledge about the symptoms of each.

Symptoms of Depression

Some of the common symptoms of depression are:

  • General lack of interest even in activities that people normally enjoy.

  • Not having a good appetite.

  • Not being able to fall asleep.

  • Movements are getting slow.

  • Lacking energy.

  • A feeling of worthlessness or even guilt.

  • Difficulty in concentration.

  • Suicidal behaviour and thoughts.

If a person is experiencing five or more of the above symptoms for the last two weeks or more, he is probably a good case to be diagnosed as suffering from major depression.

Other Types of Depression:

  • If someone is experiencing only a few of the above symptoms, he too can be diagnosed with some kind of depression, but not major depression. The condition may be best diagnosed as Persistent Depressive Disorder, or simply as Depressive Disorder, due to some known or unknown condition.

  • In the case of women, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a possible diagnosis.

  • If a person is exhibiting symptoms of mania along with some or few of the above symptoms, it may well be diagnosed as the bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder:

Below are some of the common symptoms associated with Anxiety Disorder:

  • Extreme levels of worry

  • Being perennially restive

  • Getting tired easily

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Getting irritated easily

  • Disturbed sleep

If someone is experiencing these symptoms since six months or more, he may get a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.

Other Anxiety Disorders:

Apart from generalised anxiety disorder, there are other types of anxiety disorders as well. These include panic disorder, separation anxiety, various types of phobia, etc.

Conclusion:

If people compare lists of symptoms for Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they can get a sneak peek into the proper state of emotional imbalance: anxiety or depression. Indeed, there are some overlapping symptoms like sleeping difficulties, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, fatigue etc., which are common to anxiety as well as depression. It is up to a trained and experienced psychologist to properly and thoroughly evaluate a person to establish whether the person is suffering from Anxiety, or Depression, or both.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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