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Anxiety and Depression: What’s The Difference?

“Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure, but no urge to be productive. It’s wanting friends, but hate socializing. It’s wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely. It’s feeling everything at once then feeling paralyzingly numb.”

anxiety and depressionAnxiety and depression may be confusing, especially if a person has both. These mental disorders can be comorbid. Meaning someone with depression can have anxiety symptoms, and vice versa. Let’s look at the definition of these two. Anxiety disorders “occur when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of distress, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger” (Medical News Today, 2018). While depression is “a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest” (Medical News Today, 2017). Living with both disorders can be challenging. I invite you to read my story and learn the impact it can have on your life.

Now, let’s have a look at the different and common symptoms of anxiety and depression:

anxiety and depressionAnxiety Symptoms:

  1. Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
  2. An unrealistic view of problems
  3. A sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  4. Restlessness / fatigue
  5. Anger / irritability
  6. Unexplained aches and pain
  7. Sweating
  8. Difficulty concentrating
  9. Memory Problems
  10. Trouble paying attention
  11. Nausea
  12. The need to go to the bathroom frequently
  13. Insomnia
  14. Trembling
  15. Being easily startled

anxiety and depressionDepression symptoms:

  1. Hopelessness and worthlessness
  2. Loss of interest
  3. Appetite changes
  4. Weight fluctuations
  5. Insomnia / hypersonmnia
  6. Anger / irritability
  7. Fatigue / restlessness
  8. Memory problems
  9. Difficulty concentrating
  10. Trouble paying attention
  11. Self-loathing
  12. Reckless behavior
  13. Unexplained aches and pain
  14. Suicidal thoughts / attempts
  15. Self-harming

anxiety and depressionCommon symptoms:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Fatigue / restlessness
  3. Anger / Irritability
  4. Difficulty concentrating
  5. Memory problems
  6. Unexplained aches and pain
  7. Trouble paying attention


Both mental disorders although different share symptoms making it difficult to understand. The differences can be observed in how anxiety and depression manifests. Anxiety disorders are oriented towards the future. It is characterized by excessive fear and worry that in turn will affect the person’s behavior. This occurs when people overestimate the danger in situations. In severe cases, people will avoid the situation that causes them anxiety. Individuals can experience sensations of impending doom. Feeling on edge 24/7. If the anxiety disorder is not controlled on time. People can experience panic attacks and their daily function will become affected.

anxiety and depressionDepressive disorders on the other hand, are oriented towards the past. People tend to fixate on negative situations that impacted them. Here individuals will have a marked diminished interest in most activities if not all. Physically, depressed people can exhibit psychomotor retardation. This includes slowed speech and decreased movement. Depression also affects sleeping patterns. People will either sleep too little (insomnia) or too much during the day (hypersomnia). Individuals with this disorder have feelings of worthlessness, guilt or emptiness. In severe cases, people will have recurrent thoughts of death, suicide ideation, or attempts.

I hope this article can help you understand what you or a loved one may be going through. Keep in mind if you are struggling with either or both disorders, you are not alone. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Please don’t feel ashamed. With help and determination you can live a happy life.

**Disclaimer: This article was created for educational purposes and to help you understand what you might be going through. If you suspect that you are struggling with both or either of these disorders, please seek professional help.**

Related: Depression: Do Men & Women Express it Differently? 

Checkout Psych2Go’s book about Mental Health Recovery

depressionCheck it out here: Mental Illness Recovery Book, “Something I truly enjoyed about this book is the simplicity and the variety of stories which are all focusing in one subject; mental illness. It’s amazing to see how this book connects each story to one another and to the reader. It provides a direct insight of living with mental illness and tips on how to overcome some disorders. If you feel lost, or if you want to help a friend or family member then this is the book for you.” -Carelyn


Medical News Today. (2018). What Causes Anxiety. Retrieved from:

Medical News Today. (2017). What is depression and what can I do about it. Retrieved from:

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