Given a choice between anxiety vs depression, you would probably prefer not to have either of these two disorders, but what is the difference between anxiety vs depression, and what are the symptoms of each condition?
Most people probably experience feelings of anxiety and depression at some point in their life: you might be anxious when waiting to hear whether you have got the job you went for, and then feel depressed when the rejection letter drops on to the mat. However, aside from mild cases, anxiety and depression are both examples of mental health disorders, and in some cases, one can very easily lead to the other.
What is the Difference between Anxiety vs depression?
The main difference between anxiety and depression is how they affect the mind and body. Irrespective of what causes anxiety and depression in the first place, anxiety tends to cause physical symptoms, whereas the symptoms of depression are very much rooted in emotions and how you feel about yourself and your life.
Cases of anxiety disorder do not necessarily need to have a cause: many patients suffering with anxiety find that the illness creeps up on them for no apparent reason, although it can be triggered by stress or a life changing event. A person with an anxiety disorder will suffer from a wide range of physical problems, including digestive disorders, chest pains, dizziness, heartburn, heart palpitations, headaches, and panic attacks. Over time, the physical symptoms of anxiety will cause other problems, including memory loss, a fear of dying or going mad, a sense of unreality and depression.
Anxiety symptoms often come and go, depending on the cause or trigger conditions associated with the anxiety disorder, but in cases of general anxiety, the patient will experience a low level of continuous anxiety at all times, which can lead to more severe physical symptoms of the condition.
Depression does not necessarily need to have a trigger point, although depression can sometimes be caused by stress or a life-changing event such as bereavement, and many patients suffering from clinical depression do not know why they are feeling sad and depressed. Experts believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
When suffering from depression, the patient will typically suffer experience low moods, feelings of hopelessness, apathy, guilt, and sadness. They will probably lose interest in things that previously made them happy, such as hobbies or sports, and withdraw from friends and family. Over time, the illness will cause physical symptoms such as sleep problems, eating disorders, chronic pain, fatigue and a lack of energy, difficulties concentrating, headaches, and low libido.
As you can see, when looking at depression vs anxiety, there is a great deal of crossover in the symptoms of each disorder, so it is therefore hardly surprising that suffering from one can easily give rise to the symptoms of the other. But the good news is that both disorders are treatable, and as long as the patient is correctly diagnosed, there are many treatment options available, including medications and cognitive therapies.