Anxiety and depression are both serious mental disorders and must be treated as such. And even if some people don’t see them in the same way they see a broken leg or a person in a wheelchair, this doesn’t make them less significant and overwhelming for people who have one or both of these conditions.
To determine the differences, it is best to look at the main symptoms. Bear in mind that there can be a great deal of overlap, though, and people can often experience them both at the same time.
Anxiety mental symptoms include:
- Feeling the need to escape or avoid anything that may make you more anxious.
- Having worrying thoughts or thinking that something will go wrong.
- Worrying about what will happen now and/or in the future.
- Feelings of fear or anxiety in situations where others don’t experience them.
- Panic attacks that don’t have an identifiable cause.
Anxiety physical symptoms include:
- Hyperventilation and rapid heart rate.
- Fight or flight symptoms such as sweating, shaking and thinking you must run.
- Symptoms that resemble other seemingly unrelated health problems.
Depression mental symptoms include:
- Feeling listless.
- Not believing that positive things can happen.
- Feeling sad and hopeless about the future.
- Possible suicidal ideations.
Depression physical symptoms include:
- Lack of drive or energy.
- Headaches and trouble sleeping.
- Severe changes in appetite.
- Feeling flat and emotionless.
- Behavior and thinking becomes slower.
Depression may have less important physical symptoms, but the mental ones can be far more dangerous (particularly the suicidal thoughts). Neither should be considered less serious than the other when it comes to diagnosis and/or treatment.
People who have anxiety often think that something bad will occur, and then start worrying about it. Those with depression assume that the future will be bad for them, and they don’t believe that there’s any solution that will prevent those bad things from happening.
It is common for people with anxiety to end up falling into a depression as well, especially if their anxiety is severe.
Most people experience both anxiety and depression at some stage. In one study, 85% of people who had depression also suffered from anxiety and 35% had a panic disorder. OCD, PTSD and Bi-Polar are also common mental disorders that can be faced by those with one or both of these main health problems.
If you believe you have any mental issues, no matter how trivial they may seem, it is best to talk to your doctor. Early detection can certainly save a lot of heartache and sadness down the track.