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Depression or Anxiety…..do you know the difference?
A great number of people suffer from some form of mental illness. Depression and anxiety are the most common issues but knowing where one ends the other begins can be a challenge. While the two have much in common, they are separate disorders. Your particular disorder and the severity of it plays an important role in deciding which treatment is best for you.
It’s Not That Simple
“Mostly, you cannot explain why you feel bad. It’s just there.” — Dee Mt Tusch
Discovering whether you have anxiety or depression, is not so simple. Someone can have both anxiety and depression at the same time, and some people may develop depression as a result of their anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety may run over into the symptoms of depression and vice versa because both share similar causes.
To understand the differences between these disorders is to know the difference in the symptoms of each.
People with anxiety often have the feeling that something bad could happen and they worry that it will. They expect the worst and then stew over it.
People with depression often presume the future has nothing to offer and don’t expect anything different. They experience a sense of hopelessness as though nothing will ever be good in their lives.
“Being depressed is much different than being sad.” — Laura Sloate
Depression can occur after someone experiences anxiety because someone that deals with severe anxiety may end up feeling wiped out and hopeless after an anxiety attack. This is why the two conditions can be difficult to distinguish. Similarly, those with depression can still fear certain things getting worse, despite already being of the belief that the future is less than sunshine and rainbows.
“Depression hits every age group and gender. It’s not just for middle-aged or older people — younger people can have it too. And both men and women can have it.” — Sharky Gothica
The best way to understand the difference between the two disorders is knowing the different symptoms.
- Apprehension over what’s about to happen and what could happen in the future.
- Worried thoughts, or a belief that something could go wrong.
- Feeling like you need to run away or avoid things that could cause further anxiety.
- Feeling of sadness about the future, as though it’s hopeless.
- Listlessness, and a lack of belief that positive things will occur.
- Less worry, but instead a certainty of future negative emotions. Possible suicidal thoughts.
Physical symptoms can be very different as well. Though again, there are similarities. Both anxiety and depression can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. But in the case of anxiety, it tends to occur after intense anxiety, while with depression it tends to be more constant, without necessarily any triggers. Other physical symptoms include:
- Fight or flight response symptoms, such as shaking, sweating, feeling the need to run or move.
- Physical symptoms that resemble health disorders, especially if accompanied with health worries.
- Fast heart rate, bowel issues, hyperventilation, and other “energy” causing symptoms.
- Severe lack of energy or drive.
- Flat affect (complete lack of emotion) along with slowed thinking and behaviours.
- Severe appetite changes, headaches, and sleep problems.
Depression actually tends to have fewer physical symptoms, but the mental symptoms can be so dangerous (especially the potential for suicidal thoughts) and the lack of energy so pronounced that many people with depression deal with intense struggles daily that certainly rival the symptoms of anxiety.
Both Are Treatable
“Sometimes people need to take antidepressants for the rest of their lives. And that’s OK!” — Stacy Benstock Klein
The good news is that both are incredibly treatable. Research has developed ample ways to ensure that you’re able to control and even cure both anxiety and depression, provided you make the commitment to improving your mental health in the long term.
“You cannot cure someone’s depression by making them feel guilty about it.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober
Your doctor may see the need for you to take medication to treat whichever symptoms you may be experiencing.
Being that I am not a doctor, I won’t get into the different medications and what they can do. But, what I do know is that there is a great number of them. One medication that may work great for one person may have no effect on another person’s symptoms.
Close monitoring by your doctor is very important to find the right medication for you. This can take a bit of time and patience.
Once the right medicine is discovered, you will be truly amazed at what a difference it makes in your overall feelings of well-being.
The right medication can truly change your life. Don’t give up on it.
Depression and anxiety left untreated can lead to alcohol and drug abuse or worse.
No matter how hopeless it may feel, there are effective ways to improve your mental health in the long term, provided you’re prepared for a few bumps that may occur along the way.
No One Is Immune To Depression
More women than men will have depression but it can affect anyone, including men, children, teens, and the elderly. Although depression symptoms most commonly present between the ages of 15 and 45 years, the condition can strike anyone at any age.
It’s not normal to feel sad all the time and not know why. You are not alone. It’s not just you. It’s an illness like any other and requires you to take action.
It’s an illness just like any other which requires you to take action. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Don’t be afraid to treat it.
It may save a life……yours!!