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What is the Difference Between Anxiety and Depression?

What is the difference between Anxiety and Depression?

Anxiety and depression are the two most common mood diseases that often lead us into great distress and suffering situations. 

Let’s see the difference between anxiety and depression and their common causes. 

difference between Anxiety and Depression
difference between Anxiety and Depression

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression 

What is the difference between Anxiety and Depression?

Let us first define two terms.

We describe anxiety as a person experiencing discomfort and a suspicion of a particular threat to a person or others. 

Depression is primarily a mental and chronic illness.

Depression has no cure, and there are only specific methods of treatment that can only smooth out certain forms of depression.

On the other hand, we relate anxiety to something that causes it. 

Anxiety and depression are not the same diseases but both disease symptoms are the same. 

We also classify Anxiety disorders as a group of neurotic disorders. 

These features of the human psyche result from a pathological condition characterized by a diverse clinical picture and the absence of personality disorders.

Patients who have prolonged depression are also familiar with the phenomenon of anxiety disorder. 

Experts believe that depression and anxiety disorders are closely related. And therefore, they often accompany each other. 

Note:  there is a close psycho-emotional relationship between anxiety and depression. 

Anxiety exacerbates the state of depression. 

And depression, in turn, increases the feeling of anxiety. 

Depression’s emotions are different from those that a person can experience when feeling anxious. 

With social anxiety, it’s probably some social situation you need to get in. Treatment may also differ depending on the type of anxiety.

Common Causes of Anxiety and Depression 

What Causes of Anxiety and Depression?

Common causes of depression and anxiety include a genetic predisposition in humans. 

Thus, those people whose relatives were ill with depression or increased anxiety significantly increased the occurrence of symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Unsatisfactory living conditions: The emergence and development of various situations that traumatize the psyche and a person’s inability to cope with them can cause anxiety and depressive symptoms. 

Human hyperactivity: It is the dysfunction of the serotonergic neurotransmitter system. 

It occurs due to an increase in the presynaptic sensitivity of 5HT1A receptors. 

In addition, anxiety can occur in a person in certain life situations or be present.

Types of Anxiety

What are the Types of Anxiety?

Anxiety – as an adaptation mechanism, can be of the following types:

  • Mobilization – is the norm and allows you to mobilize the psychophysical resource of a person. 
  • Personal – can be observed as a feature of an Anancaste personality, which is a reduced threshold for anxiety. 
  • Situational: can be triggered by various factors that cause stress and end at the traumatic situation’s end. 
  • Social – may be present in several specific situations and cases where a person can be in the spotlight. Examples are exams, reports, and eating in public places.

What is Depression

The percentage of patients with depression affects many people, and it is on the increase. 


It has peculiar characteristics and should not be confused with the psychological reactions resulting from particular and stressful situations. The patient reports his state of mind in terms of sadness, unhappiness, and feeling down in the dumps.

Symptoms of Depression

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Symptoms present in a depressed patient are:

  • Low mood: the mood is the ability that man has to adapt to various conditions, feeling pleasure in favorable situations and sadness in negative ones. When this plasticity to adjust is lost, there will be a reflection of mood, and one will tend to see reality negatively. There is a loss of interest in general;
  • anhedonia: inability to feel pleasure in any activity 
  • Alteration of thinking: we orient ourselves towards low self-esteem sense of guilt. There may be episodes of self-harm, suicide attempts that are sometimes carried out with “extended suicide” involving loved ones;
  • Psychomotor slowdown: affects movement, language, facial expression, and the ability to make decisions. The patient has an essential reduction in psychic energy, which leads him not to react (it can be misunderstood and confused with a lack of will);
  • Vegetative disorders: profound asthenia, decreased libido, insomnia, reduced appetite with weight loss, and malnutrition.

Diagnosis of Depression

How to diagnose depression?

Specialists diagnose depression In the presence of a suggestive clinical picture using Different clinical types.

  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: occurs in children and young people up to eighteen years of age. They have outbursts of anger that are exaggerated concerning the causes, sad moods found at home or school;
  • Major depressive disorder: mainly affects women and is characterized by
  • low mood and at least five of the following conditions that last for at least two weeks and occur every day: weight loss or alterations in nutrition, insomnia, asthenia, thoughts negative (inadequacy, inability, and guilt), inability to concentrate and make decisions, suicidal thoughts;
  • Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic disease affecting young individuals who may have a personality disorder or substance abuse. There is a depressed mood that has persisted for at least two years and is associated with at least two of the following conditions: asthenia, insomnia, changes in appetite, negative thoughts, difficulty concentrating;
  • The premenstrual dysphoric disorder manifests itself with affective lability, depressed and irritable mood, and a tendency to conflict. Physical symptoms such as fatigue, swelling, and joint and muscle pain may be present. It starts the week before the cycle and ends the first days of the menstrual cycle;
  • Substance Depressive Disorder: Following substance intake or deprivation;
  • depressive disorder due to another medical condition: depression is associated with a medical illness or taking medications:
  • neurological diseases: Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors;
  • viral infections (HIV);
  • drugs: interferon, beta-blockers, oral contraceptives, corticosteroids;
  • Endocrine disorders: Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, thyroid diseases
  • Rapid tests are available to be administered to the patient to evaluate the clinical picture and evolution (Zung self-assessment scale).

Therapies of Depression

What are the therapies for depression?

Depression therapy uses drugs whose prescription must be personalized, taking into account the related variables:

  • to the drug: efficacy, tolerability, safety, formulation;
  • to the patient: associated pathologies and close interaction between medications.

Drugs prescribed for depression:

  • serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs);
  • serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs);
  • specific serotonergic and noradrenergic antidepressants;
  • Irreversible and reversible MAOIs;
  • tricyclic antidepressants (has noticeable side effects).

Pharmacological therapy includes various options like psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.

What is Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized as an exaggerated emotional reaction of alarm towards every day or personal situations and involves changes in behavior and physical symptoms. 


The patient complains of feeling systematically worried about everyday problems and is in a permanent state of alert for fear of adverse events. This condition of anxiety and worry is accompanied by visceral symptoms such as increased heart rate, breathlessness, sweating, dizziness, dry throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Diagnosis of Anxiety

How to diagnose anxiety?

The interview with the patient allows the specialist to frame the clinical picture and make a diagnosis of anxiety. Then they commence Self-assessment tests (Zung anxiety self-assessment scale) on the patient. Several clinical pictures are recognized:

  • Separation anxiety disorder: affects children who are afraid of losing emotional figures such as parents;
  • Panic disorder: sudden anxiety attack with vegetative symptoms, lasting from a few seconds to an hour. A particular form is agoraphobia (fear of the square);
  • selective mutism – affects children, occurs concerning stressful situations (school);
  • Specific phobias: anxiety and unmotivated fear towards animals, objects (syringes), heights, or airplanes;
  • Social anxiety disorder: anxiety and worry at the thought of having to deal with situations in which one is exposed to the judgment of others (public speaking);
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: anxiety, fatigue, and muscle tension are present. Anxiety may be present in conjunction with organic pathologies such as hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, heart failure, arrhythmia, and asthma. The intake of drugs/substances corticosteroids, insulin, thyroid hormones, salbutamol, and caffeine may cause anxiety.

Therapies of Anxiety

What are the Therapies of Anxiety?

Anxiety therapy uses:

  • Psychotherapy: cognitive therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapies;
  • Drugs: serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines.

Difference between Anxiety and Depression- Video


Depression and anxiety do not always manifest themselves with definite clinical pictures. 

In fact, in addition to presenting variable severity, there may be nuanced symptomatology or the association of the two conditions with a prevalence of one or the other. 

The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) encodes the peculiar characteristics of depression and anxiety, allowing us to know what differences characterize them.


Sl NoTopic NameURL
3.Nation Institute of Mental Healthhttps://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression

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