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Over 50 million people suffer from stress, depression and anxiety per year, and that is just in the USA alone! The numbers are even greater in other places like Europe. Of these people suffering from depression and or anxiety, whether diagnosed or not, a good number of them are almost always not sure if they are suffering from depression, anxiety or an association of both. In fact, many people are always asking about the differences that exist between then two conditions. In order to manage and treat either of the two conditions, it is essential to know the important differences between anxiety and depression.
The two conditions depression and anxiety are easily confused with each by many people. Many people think the two conditions are similar but the differences that exist between them are quite vast. Most probably the reason why the two conditions are often confused with each other is that they are usually treated in a similar manner with the same medications and therapy. According to statistics released by PyschCentral, 85% of people diagnosed with extreme depression are also diagnosed with anxiety, this could also lead to the belief that the two disorders are the same.
Usually depression comes from the pressures and situations people go through in life, as work and life push them, they are made to subdue a lot of pressure in their minds and body, because of this situation that the body finds itself in, it responds by releasing a stress hormone called adrenaline. The presence of adrenaline in the blood for an extended period of time causes depression, fast beating of the heart and a whole lot of other effects immediately follow suite.
Such a situation eventually leads to what is called anxiety. Anxiety is when the mind begins to worry, and that worry is projected to the rest of the body. Worrying too much or being over anxious about something often leads to serious body effects like chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness and eventually a panic attack.
Now that there is a better understanding of what depression and anxiety is and how it comes about, these are the most common causes of depression and anxiety:
There are many ways that depression and anxiety can manifest in an individual, as you may already know, people are different so the way stress impacts lives may differ a lot. Some people can find themselves in super depressive states and even contemplate suicide, some may project on the rest of the body leading to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Here is a short guideline list of the most common signs of depression and anxiety:
A person a depression problem shows different behavioral patterns as compared to anxiety. Rather than worry about what will happen in the future as with anxiety, a person suffering from depression will show the following signs:
The signs of depression described above may not all be present, usually they appear gradually with suicide thoughts being the most severe state of depression.
Contrary to Depression, Anxiety is characterized by thoughts of the future. It is usually a fear of future events which brings about a sense of doubt and vulnerability. Anxiety can range from mild to severe, various symptoms project upon the body according to the severity of the anxiety disorder. The following symptoms may be present in an individual suffering from an anxiety disorder:
From the information discussed above, it becomes easy to differentiate between depression and anxiety. The important differences between depression and anxiety include:
The simple answer would be no, the two can not exist exactly at the same time but it is a bit more complicated than that. A person can suffer from one of either depression or anxiety and then have that one condition develop into the other. It is also possible to suffer from conditions alternatively, one after the other. This is a disorder called Bipolar.
Bipolar disorder is a condition that involves both depression and anxiety but not really at the same time. It is a mood disorder characterized by involuntary mood shifts from high moods to low. The mood changes can be triggered by events or situations, sometimes they can happen very suddenly with no known trigger.
When a bipolar person is in a high mood they tend experience racing thoughts, unusually high levels of energy with poor judgment accompanied by less need of sleep. They also have very high levels of enthusiasm and positive attitudes. They speak very fast and adopt an impulsive behavior.
When the mood swing occurs, you find the exact same person in a state of depression as described earlier on.
Treatment for depression and anxiety is often the same. To manage depression, anxiety or both, the following treatment methods may be applied:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy works as a preventive measure, control measure and curative measure. It is often used in treating anxiety disorder that is associated with depression. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, patients are taught and trained to manage their thoughts and fears, and control their minds to avoid or relive symptoms related to both anxiety and depression.
Part of the treatment involves uncovering the causes of the disorder that is affecting them. By uncovering the cause, both depression and anxiety can be controlled.
Antidepressant medications can be used to manage both depression and anxiety. Most of the times, antidepressants are prescribed together with cognitive-behavioral therapy, used in association the two treatment methods are very efficient in managing both depression and anxiety.
Exercise is known to release what are known as feel good chemicals in the body and mind. These chemicals can help the mind relax and be at ease there by controlling symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise can range from taking walks to working out, and playing sports.
Relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga can be prescribed to ease signs and symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
So in conclusion, there are big differences between depression and anxiety in terms of causes and symptoms but the two conditions are often related and treated together. It is possible to find someone who suffers from both depression and anxiety constantly, one disorder after the other. Knowing the symptoms of each disorder and seeking professional attention is an important part of managing the two disorders.