What Is the Diff Between Anxiety & Depression
Stressed and Sad Handsome man sitting on the bed. Disappointment Depression Anxiety and disorder concept with copy space.

What Is the Difference Between Anxiety & Depression?

Anxiety and depression are common mood disorders. The former is an umbrella term for conditions that make us feel anxious (panic disorders, phobias, and general anxiety disorder (GAD), while the latter is a single illness.

Can You Have Both

From a therapist’s point of view, depression and anxiety can coexist. When this happens, the conditions become intense and long-lasting.

Do You Treat Them Separately?

It is important to understand depression and anxiety have similar treatments (psychological therapies and medicines). For this reason, if you take antidepressants, you are more likely to reduce the symptoms of both conditions at the same time. It is best to treat the conditions with combined treatment approaches rather than separately.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed doing

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath

Crossover Symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained fatigue or tiredness
  • Trouble getting sleep

Situations When They Coexist

Depression and anxiety are more likely to coexist when you have chronic anxiety or panic disorder. In most cases, anxiety precedes depression.

How Often They Coexist

My research established that 5 in 10 people with depression or anxiety have the other condition. It is safe to say when you have one condition, you meet the criteria for developing the other.

Is It Hard to Treat If You Have Both?

Yes, treating depression and anxiety that coexist can be a tough call. These conditions have different symptoms and crossover symptoms. For this reason, if you treat one condition, some symptoms are more likely to persist or override the others.

How Does Treatment Change in That Case?

Instead of getting treatment for one condition, opt for combined treatment approaches. These include therapy (exposure therapy, interpersonal therapy, CBT, or problem-solving therapy) and medication(antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications).

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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