How Are Anxiety And Depression Different
Anxiety and depression have distinct psychological and physical features. The main psychological symptom of anxiety is excessive worry. For example, this might include worrying a lot about the future or about getting hurt. People with anxiety also avoid situations that might be anxiety-provoking or think a lot about “bad” things happening.
Anxiety also can have physical symptoms. These symptoms have to do with our human fight-or-flight response. For example, people with anxiety can sometimes have an upset stomach, feel dizzy, or have a fast heartbeat. They can also sometimes have trouble sleeping.
Mental symptoms of depression are feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and worthlessness. Physical symptoms generally represent a shift in normal daily habits. For example, people with depression may have changes in their appetite, energy, and sleep. They can also sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on work or activities.
In both depression and anxiety, all of these symptoms can have a big impact on daily life.
What You Can Do To Feel Better
When youre depressed, it can feel like theres no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.
Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or dont want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you. They just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.
Get moving. When youre depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.
Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
Ways To Identify The Conditions
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, one place to start is to speak with your primary care doctor. They can do an initial screening and may look for medical conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms. You will likely then be referred to a mental health professional for an official clinical diagnosis.
The mental health professional will use the standard reference manual for diagnosing recognized mental illnesses in the United States, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition .
The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for depression and each anxiety disorder are different. A diagnosis might be harder to make when anxiety and depression overlap.
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How To Prevent Anxiety And Depression
Given the number of factors that affect these conditions, there’s no way to definitively prevent depression and anxiety. However, there are certain lifestyle choices and safeguards that can decrease your likelihood of experiencing symptoms.
First and foremost, it’s important to look at the daily decisions that affect your life. These include where you work and what you do for a living, the people in your life, the foods you eat, where you live, and so much more. All of these things can affect your quality of life. For instance, a well-rounded person who loves his or her career, lives in a nice home, and surrounds himself or herself with supportive friends is more likely to be physically and emotionally healthy than someone who hates his or her job, lives unhappily, and wastes his or her time around negative influences. The way you spend your time greatly affects your health and happiness.
You can also reduce your likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression by spending time on yourself and taking care of your health and wellbeing. This sounds simple, but many people delay caring for themselves because they think they’re too busy or undeserving. Everyone deserves time for self-care. It’s a crucial part of maintaining a healthy emotional and mental state.
When we do, we may constantly think, “I feel like I’m drowning” and we become a magnet for anxiety, depression, and other emotional states that can make you feel as if you’re drowning and that you’re two feet under.
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Do I Have Anxiety Here’s How To Self
If you think you may have anxiety, you can self-test using an online instrument, such as:
Self-screening tools do not replace a mental health professional. They are designed for the results to be shared with your doctor to inform further discussion about diagnosis and treatment.
You may be one of nearly 40 million people in the United States who experience an anxiety disorder in any given year, or 18% of all Americans.
Online screening tools are not a replacement for a diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional. We encourage you to share your results with your healthcare team.
The Complete Guide To How Anxiety Feels
Anxiety is the worst kind of monster it sneaks up on you, doesn’t announce its presence, takes control of your life, and leaves you on its own terms. Its symptoms are wide-ranging, depending on your circumstances and your physiology. It can even disguise itself as other health problems, like heart arrhythmias and chronic pain. Worst case scenario, chronic anxiety can even cause diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and chronic inflammation.
Anxiety is common-especially in the West. Whereas Eastern cultures focus on family and community, Western cultures tend to focus on the individual and work. People in the West may become isolated and over-worked, triggering feelings of depression and anxiety. In fact, anxiety affects 40 million people in the U.S. alone, which is roughly 18 percent of the population. If you feel nervous or anxious, you are certainly not alone.
So how do you know what anxiety feels like? Use the following as the ultimate guide to assess whether you are feeling anxious. Here’s the ultimate guide as to how anxiety feels:
Like you can’t breathe
Sure enough, when you are anxious, you tend to suck in air, tensing your neck and chest muscles. You breathe shallowly instead of deeply. This disordered breathing pattern leads to an oxygen deficit.
Like your heart is beating out of your chest
Like the world is leaving you behind
Like you are running in place
Like you are dying
Like your head is in a fog
Like you are drifting aimlessly
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What Might Indicate That Both Anxiety And Depression Are Present
Traits that may signal the presence of both anxiety disorder and depression include:
- Irrational worries or fears that wont go away
- Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, labored breathing or abdominal pain
- Difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep
- Changes in eating habits either too much or too little
- Trouble remembering, making decisions or concentrating
- Constant feelings of sadness or worthlessness
- Loss of usual interest in activities or hobbies
- Feeling often tired and cranky
- Inability to relax and live in the moment
- Suffering from panic attacks, including the sense of losing inner control2
Sometimes It Also Feels Like We’re Drowning In The Chaos Of Modern Life And Are Two Feet Underwater
In a time of constant connectivity, we’re at risk of being overstimulated, which can exacerbate anxiety and depression. Our brains take sensory stimulation from the environment around us, filtering out the relevant aspects and focusing our attention where it matters. Sometimes, brain injury, emotional trauma, or even the strains and stresses of life can reduce the effectiveness of this filtering. This can leave an individual feeling overwhelmed, faced with an intense sensory experience that changes the way they interact with their environment or makes them want to withdraw.
Stimulation is part of what gives life its color, but overstimulation can have detrimental physical and psychological effects. The brain’s natural response is to become alert our muscles tighten into knots, and we may find ourselves constantly on edge. Our bodies weren’t meant to feel this pressure all the time, so many people succumb to anxiety and depression as a result.
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Key Differences Between Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety is a constant feeling of worry. It can occur on its own or be triggered by certain events or factors. Physical signs of anxiety often include shortness of breath and tense muscles. People dealing with anxiety sometimes experience panic attacks, heart palpitations, and dizziness.
Depression is prolonged sadness or loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities. It is characterized by low energy, feelings of low self-worth, and sometimes, suicidal thoughts.
Symptoms that overlap between anxiety and depression often have different origins. For example, anxiety may cause a person to stop doing an activity or withdraw from a social setting. This is often because those things inspire panic. Depression can also cause someone to withdraw in similar ways. In the case of depression, withdrawal may be due to loss of interest in the activity.
Fatigue or loss of energy are other symptoms often linked to depression. But anxiety may also cause a loss of energy, which can stem from a sense of exhaustion. This tiredness is often caused by anxious thought patterns, obsessive thinking, or rumination. In the case of depression, loss of energy may be more likely to occur as a primary symptom.
Both conditions can cause social withdrawal or a change in activity levels. These symptoms can have vastly different causes. Different approaches may be necessary to address these causes.
How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis
Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.
If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.
In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.
Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.
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Can Anxiety Make You Feel Like You Have Depression
So weird subject just want to know if anybody has felt this way.. so I’m really scared of depression and the things that come with it.. I don’t feel depressed I’ve suffered with anxiety most of my life and are on medication for it but I’ve found my self being very scared of becoming depressed i feel like my anxiety is manifesting into making me think oh crap I’ve got depression when actual fact it’s just my anxiety making me feel this way I don’t feel sad or the usual symptoms people have with depression like I’m generally a pretty active and social person which hasn’t changed I’m working on dealing with my anxiety in small doses I’ve suffered intrusive thoughts in the past which I don’t really take seriously as I’ve learned to deal with them but I feel like what happaning now are intrusive thoughts about depression because I keep second guessing my self like oh what if I do have depression it’s just super weird and just want to know if anybody with anxiety has had a fear of depression
You Often Feel Stuck In Vicious Loop
For me, anxiety isnt just worrying about everything that could go wrong its an obsession with all of the things that need to go right. However, having depression at the same time means Im often stuck. Im painfully aware of all of the things that could go wrong, desperate to make everything go right, and yet utterly helpless at making anything happen at all. Its a vicious, self-feeding cycle and sometimes its hard to tell which came first the anxiety or the depression. Nicole Starbuck, 29, an entrepreneur in Denver
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Treatment Options If You Have Anxiety:
Wondering how to deal with anxiety? The following treatment methods can help you deal with your anxiety symptoms:
- Medication: Medication alone is not often a cure for anxiety disorders, but it can help with many symptoms. Prescription medication commonly used to treat anxiety disorders may include anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, or beta-blockers. Choosing the right medication can take time and needs to be done under the guidance of your psychiatrist.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, has been proven effective for people with anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy is directed at your specific anxieties, and its customized to improve your individual needs and goals for therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one type of psychotherapy thats often used to treat anxiety disorders. Through CBT, you learn how to change your thinking and behavior.
- Support groups: Support groups can be beneficial for some people with anxiety disorders, but this option alone may not be enough.
- Stress management and relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, journaling are all great ways to help ease anxiety. Exercise and healthy sleep patterns are other potential options that have shown great success. Again, these techniques by themselves may not be adequate treatment. When used in combination with psychotherapy and/or medication, however, they might be very helpful.