Depression and anxiety disorders are not the same, although at first glance they seem very similar. Depression generates emotions such as hopelessness, despair and anger. Energy levels are usually very low, and depressed people often feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks and personal relationships so essential to life.
A person with anxiety disorder, however, experiences fear, panic or anxiety in situations where most people would not feel anxious or threatened. The sufferer may experience sudden panic or anxiety attacks without any recognized trigger, and often lives with a constant nagging worry or anxiousness. Without treatment, such disorders can restrict a person’s ability to work, maintain relationships, or even leave the house.
Both anxiety and depression are frequently treated in much the same manner, which may explain why the two disorders are so often confused. Antidepressant medication is often used for anxiety, while behavioral therapy frequently helps people overcome both conditions.
Not everyone suffering from an anxiety disorder experiences attacks per se. An anxiety attack is the sudden onset of panic or overwhelming worry. The heart may begin to pound, and the victim of the attack may feel dizzy, nauseous or faint. It is not unusual for people to feel as if they are about to die during an attack. Generally lasting about ten minutes, full recovery may take hours. An anxiety attack leaves a person feeling drained and exhausted.
Over nineteen million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Almost half of all people diagnosed also suffer from depression or depressive symptoms. Statistically, two out of three people diagnosed with depression exhibit anxiety symptoms.
Although the two disorders have a tendency to be present at the same time, this does not mean they are the same. Anxiety disorders can develop without any signs of depression, and people living with depression may not experience any anxiety symptoms.
Some symptoms of anxiety include:
- Anxiety attacks
Some symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling “empty”
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Loss of interest in enjoyable