Depression and Anxiety – How Do They Differ?

Depression and anxiety are often considered to be same, and have been often been substituted and confused with each other. However, there is a thin line of difference separating them, which has been agreed by psychologists worldwide. It is also very important to determine which came first – the depression, or the anxiety. There are certain similar symptoms such as lack of concentration, improper sleep and appetite, etc, but there are many differences as well.

Anxiety relates to day to day immediate worries such as losing your job, car or your loved one. Anxiety can easily be determined on the basis of mood swings. It is highly possible that after some passage of time, an over anxious person would behave normally, which would not be the case in depression. “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD), is one of the major symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety could ultimately result into depression, but this is a very preliminary and easily treatable condition. However, if depression comes before anxiety, such as some long standing strain, then it could be termed as “true clinical depression”, and requires appropriate treatment.

At this stage, it is important to understand “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” This state is more of a mix of both depression and anxiety. Here, an individual could exhibit symptoms of anxiety for some period of time, and then switch back to depression, and vice versa.

Depression is more than just daily worries and passing moods. Clinically, depression refers to “several weeks of profound sadness and despair that interferes with normal functioning of life”.

An anxious person experiences feelings of fear and apprehension. On the other hand, a truly depressed person feels helpless, hopeless and empty from within. Anxiety could result in enormous display of energy, agitation, muscular tension, etc. Depression on the other hand could lead to a lethargic display in terms of physical movement.

Anxiety could also result from the fact that the person focuses on perfectionism, and is very much concerned about the result of his/her activities. A depressed person on the other hand has no sense of ambition and generally exhibits poor performance.

Anxiety may make one fear death, but it would not result in suicidal tendencies. Depression could cause the person to exhibit suicidal tendencies.

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