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Anxiety and depression are two separate conditions. Each has their own causes and its own symptoms. Anxiety can make people feel agitated and overwhelmed. Depression can make them feel hopeless and discouraged. Often people who are having a difficult time with anxiety begin to feel depressed as a result of the way anxiety is affecting their lives.
Depression is prominent in fibromyalgia patients with the risk of getting depressive symptoms at least once being about 90%.
Both, anxiety as well as depression can be the result of being under prolonged stress. Stress is a part of everyday life. Everyone feels stress. It is the normal reaction to a situation where you feel under pressure. For most people, its in the moment stress…running late, traffic, etc.
For others, stress affects their state of health, both physically and mentally. Constant stress can make you more likely to develop chronic illness. And if you have a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia, stress can make your symptoms worse.
You can easily have anxiety and depression together or you can develop depression as the result of having anxiety. It’s important to know the similarities of depression and anxiety, as well as the differences between the two.
Similarities Between Anxiety and Depression
One of the reasons anxiety and depression have a great deal in common is because they both cause changes in chemicals in the brain. Because of this, they also share some symptoms and the two can contribute to the other.
Both anxiety and depression can leave you feeling drained and exhausted. In the case of anxiety the fatigue tends to occur after an episode of intense anxiety. With depression, the fatigue tends to be more constant without any necessary triggers.
Other symptoms anxiety and depression have in common include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interests
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Drop in self-esteem and self-confidence
- Feelings of guilt, self-blame or unworthiness
Someone dealing with anxiety may end up feeling drained and hopeless, leading to depression. In fact, having an anxiety disorder is the single most significant predictor that a person will develop depression.
Differences Between Anxiety and Depression
The main difference between anxiety and depression is how anxiety symptoms are rooted in the body. Whereas, depression is more about your feelings. How you feel about yourself, other people and your general outlook on life.
Depression feels dark, lonely and hopeless. Those with depression often assume a bad future and don’t expect anything positive will occur. There can be a severe lack of energy and emotion along with the loss of interests, ambition, and hope.
Anxiety generates feelings of fear, panic and constant worry. Those with anxiety often fear that something bad will happen. They feel extremely worried about what is about to happen and what could happen in the future.
While someone with depression may have thoughts of suicide, people with anxiety likely have a fear of dying or going crazy. Although someone with depression can experience chronic pain, anxiety is more a physical ailment. Anxiety disorders are based on physical symptoms that occur with disturbing thoughts.
The physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Muscle tension or twitching
- Chest pain, tightness or heart palpitations
- Sweating, trembling or shaking
- Chills or hot flashes
- Numbness or shooting pains
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Shortness of breath or choking
- Nausea, acid reflux, heartburn or bowel issues
Depression can occur after anxiety because dealing with an anxiety disorder can leave a person feeling drained and hopeless. Similarly, someone with depression can fear things getting worse. Thar is why it can be difficult to tell the two conditions apart.
When you are under chronic stress and you don’t find ways to release and cope with the stress it leads to anxiety. Then if you suffer from constant anxiety, chances are you could slip into a depression.
Although anxiety disorders are not the only possible cause of depression, it can play a significant role in developing depression. Symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders both respond to treatment. However, when these disorders occur together, they tend to be worse than when either occurs alone.
Often, depression and anxiety are treated with the same techniques: medications, lifestyle changes, and therapy. Because both anxiety and depression reinforce each other, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can recover.
* CalmClinic.com has tons of information and some great self-help articles about stress, anxiety and depression.