Depression and anxiety are two of the most prevalent mental health issues known today. They can negatively impact how we function, behave, and build relationships and friendships in life.
Both depression and anxiety can cause stress, irritability, inability to focus, and other similar symptoms, but they vary from one another, too.
Despite these two mental health disorders often going hand-in-hand with one another, they are two different things. So, let’s take a closer look at depression and anxiety, and how they are linked together.
Depression is the shortened term for when someone has clinical depression, or major depressive disorder. This is a mental health disorder where someone feels persistently sad, low, depressed, and worthless for extended periods of time.
For someone to have depression, these feelings do not persist for a matter of days. They often linger for weeks, months and even years.
When someone is depressed, they may be in emotional duress, suffering from sadness, anxiety, lowness, decreased self-esteem, mood swings, irritability, angry outbursts, inability to focus or concentrate, and they may lose interest in things that they once loved or enjoyed.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- Feeling intense sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Inability to sleep, insomnia or oversleeping
- Low mood
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Feeling anxious or worried
- Negative thoughts
This can make it very difficult to move on in life, as you may feel very low and depressed for months at a time, without the motivation to do anything about it.
Anxiety can be similar to depression, as it can prevent you from wanting to do anything. However, this is often not because of low mood, but out of fear and stress. So, let’s take a look at anxiety as a whole.
Anxiety and anxiety disorders can be categorized as intense feelings of unease, worry, fear, and stress. Anxiety can range from very severe to mild, and everyone can suffer from anxiety at some point during their lives.
Having an anxiety disorder is different from being anxious. It can be an overwhelming sense of unease that can prevent you from leaving the house, seeing people, or even cause panic attacks in some cases.
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Nervousness, tension, and/or restlessness
- Feeling a sense of impending doom or panic
- Panic attacks
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Sweating, trembling
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling lethargic, weak, or tired
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on anything
- Inability to sleep, insomnia, or oversleeping
- Negative thoughts
As you can see, the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety do overlap somewhat. So, how are depression and anxiety linked?
How Are Depression and Anxiety Linked?
While depression and anxiety are two different mental health conditions, they often come hand-in-hand together, and people may suffer from both. For instance, anxiety can occur as a symptom of your clinical depression, or you can trigger depression or depressive episodes if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, as it really impacts your life.
It’s an endless cycle. When you are anxious, you could have intrusive thoughts about yourself, which could lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure, leading to depression.
The main difference is that anxiety is considered a high energy state of mind, whereas depression is a low energy state. That being said, if you have depression, then it is likely that you will experience anxiety from time to time, and you could even suffer from panic attacks. And, if you have anxiety, anxiety can sometimes create and drive depression that would be alleviated by treating your anxiety directly.
Whether you suffer from depression or anxiety, or both, these conditions can be helped and improved with psychological counseling, medications, or therapy. We urge you not only to talk to someone about how you are feeling, but to also make some lifestyle changes as this can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and lessen the symptoms.