Anxiety vs. Depression – The Difference Between

The difference between anxiety and depression

Both anxiety and depression are psychological disorders but they are different in the symptoms, duration and treatment.

Anxiety

Anxiety is defined as the way in which the body responds to stressful situations. At the beginning it is psychological but if it continues over time, it can become pathological. The body prepares for fight or flight when you feel anxiety and this activates the sympathetic system of the body.

The symptoms of anxiety include an increase in the heart rate, difficulty in breathing and you may have a pain in your stomach or a headache. Your blood pressure also rises sharply, you start to sweat and there is an increase in the blood flow to your muscles. This condition is also characterized by a decrease in your immune system and in the functioning of your digestive system. You will also find it hard to stay in one position and will often start pacing around.

It is very common for students to suffer anxiety before they write an exam. In fact, the anxiety that they feel can actually help them do well on the exam, but if the anxiety continues it could be detrimental to them receiving a good mark. Children often experience anxiety when they meet new people. This is called stranger anxiety. It is also possible for adults to experience this form of anxiousness.

Those who have a lot of difficulty with anxiety can be helped with behavior therapy and by gradual exposure to the triggers. When anxiety continues over time, patients can be said to have an anxiety disorder and require treatment.

Depression

Depression has been defined as a mood disorder. Patients with this disorder so not have much energy, they lose their appetite, have a decreased interest in sex and are generally lethargic. They are usually fearful of new situation and may exhibit some of the symptoms of anxiety. They are always in a low mood and when this continues, they are said to be in a state of depression.

Everyone goes through depression at various times in their lives, but it is usually short-lived. The death of a loved one, for example, can cause one to be depressed, but this is also grief and a way of dealing with loss.

When depression becomes prolonged or affects one’s daily activities, then treatment in the form of anti-depressant drugs is usually prescribed by the doctor. Those who can cope with stressful situations have a better chance of avoiding becoming depressed. Severe depression can increase the risk of suicide and in such cases electric shock therapy may be needed to activate the brain.

Summary

  • Everyone experiences depression and anxiety in their lifetime.
  • Sometimes anxiety can be a good thing because it increases performance.
  • Anxiety can be treated with behavioral therapy.
  • Depression is usually treated with drugs, but in severe cases ECT may be needed.