Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health disorders, yet they can be difficult to differentiate between. Both anxiety and depression can cause symptoms like changes in mood, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances. While some of these symptoms may overlap, there are distinct differences between anxiety and depression that can help people better understand their condition.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of worry, fear, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It’s a normal reaction to stress that helps us cope with potentially difficult or dangerous situations. People living with anxiety often feel overwhelmed by their worries and fears and may experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, muscle tension, headaches, chest pain, racing heartbeats and insomnia.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you think, feel and behave. It can cause feelings of sadness or hopelessness that last for more than two weeks without relief. People living with depression typically experience persistent low moods as well as loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed; decreased energy; difficulty concentrating; changes in appetite or weight; sleep disturbances; social withdrawal; apathy; guilt; worthlessness or hopelessness; thoughts of death or suicide; and physical symptoms such as chronic pain or digestive problems.
The key difference between anxiety and depression lies in their underlying causes—anxiety is frequently caused by external factors such as stressful life events while depression often has more internal psychological roots—as well as their associated treatment plans. However, many people suffer from both conditions simultaneously which can make diagnosis complicated. If you suspect that you may be experiencing either anxiety or depression it is important to talk to a medical professional so they can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.