Anxiety versus Depression

Do you know the difference?

In the United States, approximately 40 million adults struggle with anxiety, and more than 16 million adults struggle with depression.

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health challenges people in the U.S. face. They also cause the most confusion in distinguishing the difference between the two. For example, many people have found themselves asking questions like, “Is anxiety and depression the same thing?” and “What is the difference between anxiety and depression?”

Anxiety disorders are characterized by intense, excessive, and persistent feelings of worry, fear and dread. One of the key differences between anxiety and depression though is the difference in the way people move. Those with anxiety may appear agitated and present jerky movements or rush around to try and calm their anxious feelings.

Several different disorders fall under the anxiety umbrella. The following are the most well-known.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This disorder involves chronic feelings of anxiety and exaggerated worry; these feelings are generally unprovoked.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): People with OCD experience recurring, unwanted thoughts (or obsessions) and/or perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions) to provide temporary anxiety relief; failure to perform these behaviors tends to increase anxiety symptoms.
  • Panic Disorder: Panic disorder involves repeated and unexpected episodes of fear or panic; these feelings are accompanied by physical symptoms like hear palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD typically develops after exposure to a terrifying event in which harm may have been threatened or occurred; triggering events include assaults, natural disasters, accidents, and military combat.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: People with Social Anxiety Disorder experience overwhelming anxiety and feelings or self-consciousness that occur during everyday social situations; it can be limited to individual situations like speaking in front of a crowd, or it can be so broad the symptoms are triggered whenever other people are around.

Depression is another common mental health disorder characterized by a persistent depressed mood. Those struggling with depression, may experience a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, and may struggle to carry out basic activity of daily living because mood and energy levels are so low.

The most well-known type of depression is referred to as major depressive disorder. It lasts for extended periods (at least two weeks) and impacts your self-esteem and overall feelings of well-being.

In addition to major depressive disorder, there are a few other types of depression of which to be aware, including these:

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Those with persistent depressive disorder, symptoms last for a least two years with little to no relief.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mania (extremely high energy, limited sleep, irrational behavior, impulsiveness, etc.) followed by periods of depression) extremely low energy, excessive sleep, feelings of self-loathing, struggle to carry out basic activity of daily living, etc.).
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: This type of depression typically occurs during the fall and winter when the seasons change, the weather cools down, and the days get shorter.

Can You Have Anxiety and Depression at the Same Time?

As far as causes go, there are a lot of similarities between anxiety and depression. Trauma, gender, and family history all play a significant role in your mental health and can increase your risk of developing the other issues.

You can experience symptoms of anxiety and depression at the same time. In fact, panic disorder and other types of anxiety disorders are often accompanied by major depressive disorder.

A recent worldwide study also showed that, of those who experienced major depression for 12 months, 41.6 percent of them also dealt with one or more anxiety disorders during the same period.

Many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety overlap with each other, so it’s understandable why these two conditions are often diagnosed simultaneously.

Be mindful of your particular symptoms and discuss them with your mental health professional for an appropriate diagnosis.



ADAA – Facts & Statistics