5 Differences between Anxiety and Depression, and Why They Matter


    Some people still not know the differences between Anxiety and Depression just yet. Most of those who suffer from either disorder, tend to group anxiety and depression as one and the same. That is simply dangerous as wrong diagnosis can lead to very different treatment. Add that to self-diagnosis one often does to oneself, the end result can prove to be very lethal.

    5 Differences between Anxiety and Depression, and Why They Matter

    Truth is, when asked about differences between anxiety and depression, we need to present the more obvious  symptoms to each diagnosis. It might help to get this off of your list yet before you move on to next step, so you can get the right help you need.

    differences between Anxiety and Depression
    differences between Anxiety and Depression

    Depression Tend to Develop Negative Thoughts, Anxiety Develop ‘What if’s Instead

    Being gloomy is one of mental disorder stereotype the society believes. However, it doesn’t actually apply to all mental disorder. Prolonged sadness and feeling of helplessness links more to depression, and not necessarily are the obvious differences between Anxiety and Depression. People with depression tend to be occupied with negative thoughts – they believe that no matter what happens, no good outcome will come for them. At its worst, depression can make people considering suicide because they found no light in their jungle of dark thoughts.

    Anxiety, on the other hand, makes people wary or even jumpy.  Simple decisions can drive them crazy. This is because their mind constantly loops to think about future outcomes – people with anxiety seems listless and easily irritable. They are constantly worried if their actions will result badly. This condition can be easily recognized on people who are constantly on guard without logical behavior.

    Depression Makes People Feel Blue, Anxiety Make People Feel Restless

    As we have mentioned above on differences between Anxiety and Depression, depression incur negative thoughts. These thoughts don’t appear only once or twice in a day. Without help or distraction, they can occupy the hosts’ mind all day or beyond. It’s not rare for people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying awake, either because the negative thoughts won’t let them relax or sapping their energy. Also, because there’s basically no break of negative thoughts, depressed people will look gloomy. Their constant thoughts may not show clearly on their face – but when they don’t interact with others, they will stare out blankly or gets emotional on their own. It’s because when there’s no distraction, their mind led itself back to the depressing thoughts.

    If you find people (or yourself) having difficulties to stay asleep despite feeling tired all day, it may be anxiety in the background. Unlike panic responses, anxiety brews slowly instead of coming in like a struck of lightning. However, the effect appears quite similarly despite its slowness. People with anxiety always feel restless and constantly worrying about every action and outcomes. If depressed people will stay low and quite, anxious people will do the opposite – it’s hard for them to keep calm and let things be. Don’t mistake it with ADHD, though, since they react because they are worried, not because they are distracted.

    Depression Can Affect Weight and Appetite, Anxiety Doesn’t

    Unless the person is anxious about their weight or body shape, anxiety doesn’t directly affect body weight and appetite. It also depends on the situation – if people with anxiety gets cornered about eating, they may rashly choose to eat a lot or not at all. This is called ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Their worries will block their ability to think logically which results rash decisions. Plus, if anxiety had drawn them so bad, their body may invest more energy on brain work which will get them thinner without proper meal support. If they are not cornered about food and eat properly, it’s possible to retain their weight, appetite, and health.

    On the contrary, depression is likely to affect weight and appetite. This incurs due to uninterested behavior people with depression develop. At first, it starts by how things they like grows dull in their heart. If the depression gets worse, they may end up doesn’t care to take meals. This is because their interest to food lessen drastically, which affect appetite and then body weight on the long term. However, this doesn’t mean that depression is an effective diet plan – it is a mental disorder that needs right treatment.

    Both Have Symptoms in Common, But The Root Is Different

    In public’s eyes, varieties of mental disorders appear the same. This is because most have common symptoms. Depression and anxiety themselves have common symptoms, such as: lack of energy, trouble concentrating, sleep disturbance, and lastly suicidal behaviors. However, the cause and self-reactions clearly differs. For instance, suicidal behaviors on people with depression occur as conclusion of their negative thoughts and guilt. Meanwhile, people with anxiety may have suicidal behaviors because they can’t stand the feeling of losing control. The exception only comes to trouble in concentrating and lack of energy which is caused by the host’s occupied thoughts. Sleep disturbance is one of symptoms that is caused by the constant thoughts.

    Differences Between Anxiety and Depression as How it Effects The Patients

    Even with common symptoms, the effect on the host’s body varies. There are symptoms that affect them differently:

    • Occupying thoughts treats people with anxiety and people with depression differently. The thoughts made depressed people feeling helpless, losing interest of personal needs and preferences, and guilt. Meanwhile, people with anxiety will appear easily irritable, feeling restless, and behave recklessly due to their fight-or-flight response.
    • Agitation also incurs different reactions. Depressed people will experience sinking feeling that will make them feel deeply sad that will slow heart rate, movement, and reaction. Anxious people reacts the exact opposite. People with anxiety will feel on edge that results in fast heart rate, clumsy movement, and tense muscle. Physically, tense muscle will cause tension headache and unfocused eyes.

    There are also symptoms that affect them similarly:

    Like we have mentioned above, both symptoms triggers sleep disturbance, appetite, and weight problems. Please note that the root of these symptoms is different on each disorder.

    Lack of energy also appears on both disorder. This time, they have the same root, which is occupying thoughts that sap the hosts’ energy. However, as we have written above, the emotional and behavioral responses are different.

    It is really important to know the differences between anxiety and depression. Even though they are related and people tend to develop both over time, we can’t treat them the same way. If you are still not sure, see a doctor immediately and make sure you get all the help you deserve.

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