Anxiety is the feeling of being nervous or anxious to the limit that it can interfere with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Depression is severe dejection and despondency usually felt over a certain period of time and followed by feelings of inadequacy hopelessness.
Anxiety is characterized by a sense of fear, doubt and vulnerability about future events. The attention of anxious people is focused on something in the future, and fear that it will be bad.
Depression is not characterized by the fear and uncertainty that anxiety is. Depressed people are not as anxious about the future, as they are dejected about the present, mostly as a result of something that has occurred in the recent or remote past. They don’t expect anything different from the future and may often assume the future to be as bad as the present, or think there's anything worth preventing.
edit Symptoms of Anxiety vs Depression
edit Mental Symptoms
- Apprehension about what's about to happen and what could possibly happen in the future.
- Worried thoughts, or a nagging belief that something can/will go wrong.
- Wanting to run away or avoid things that could cause further anxiety.
- Low feeling of sadness, as though there's no hope in the present or future
- No interest in anything, no belief that positive things may happen.
- Not much worry, but a certainty negative emotions towards the future, possibly suicidal thoughts.
edit Physical Symptoms
- Sweating, shaking, restiveness and the need to run away or move.
- Fast heart rate, bowel issues, hyperventilation
- Severe lack of energy or drive.
- Complete lack of emotion (Flat Affect) along with slowed responses and thinking in general.
- Severe change in appetite, headaches, sleep problems.
edit Screening Test
The Web-Based Depression and Anxiety Test (WB-DAT) is a clinically accepted series of questions designed to help screen for depression and anxiety disorders. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. It is recommended to show the final report of this test to your doctor.
edit Understanding Anxiety and Depression
The two video below gives brief but insightful glimpse into anxiety and depression:
edit "Isolation" - A Documentary on Anxiety vs Depression by UCTV
Some of the common types of anxiety are panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and specific phobias. Panic disorder is characterized by a feeling of terror or enhanced worry. Obsessive compulsive disorder causes people to indulge in obsessive behaviors like washing hands frequently, arranging desks or closets, cleaning dust, etc. Social anxiety disorder or social phobia pertains to the fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed in public. Special phobias could be fear of insects, height, water, fire or flying. Post traumatic stress disorder happens to people after they are involved in some natural disaster, accident, physical or sexual abuse. Generalized anxiety disorder is excessive and irrational worry about anything.
The most serious type of depression is major depression disorder, also known as clinical depression. It can seriously inhibit a person’s capability to work, study, eat or sleep. This depression can have drastic effect on a person’s quality of life. Another prolonged type of depression is dysthymia, which is comparatively less serious than major depression but can impact quality of life too. Another type of depression is bipolar depression which is marked by dramatic mood swings, depression and maniacal thinking.
Both anxiety and depression are caused by chemical changes in the brain, specifically the neuro-transmission function. Low serotonin and levels of dopamine and epinephrine are responsible for anxiety and depression.
edit Treatment Options
Anxiety can be treated with the help of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management exercises and medications.
Some of the same treatment methods like psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications can also help in depression but serious depression may require ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) and hospitalization.
Some of the medication prescribed for anxiety and/or depressive disorders include Lorazepam, Alprazolam (Xanax), Clonazepam (Klonipin), Diazepam (Valium), Prozac and Zoloft. The medication depends on various factors like the type and severity of disorder, the patient's response to the medication, other harmful side effects, among other things.
There are some online screening tests available to help with the diagnoses of some disorders. These tests do not claim to be accurate, but are rather an aid for mental health professionals in their analyses.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 18% (40 million) American adults are affected by anxiety disorders in a year; women are 60% more likely experience an anxiety than men.
Adults between 30-44 years of age are most likely to experience depression, about 120% more than adults over 60 years. Adults 18-29 are 70% more likely and 45-59 years are 100% more likely to experience depression than older adults. Overall, women are 70% more likely to experience depression than men.