The relationship between anxiety and depression isn’t always clear-cut. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you might have anxiety as a secondary condition. Conversely, people diagnosed with anxiety often suffer from depression. While both conditions have many symptoms in common, there are important differences.
Both anxiety and depression can manifest themselves in a variety of physical symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches, muscle pain, weight loss or weight gain, loss of appetite and loss of libido. Mental or psychological symptoms include difficulty concentrating, loss of interest or pleasure in normal, everyday activities, feelings of excessive guilt, loss of self-esteem, loss of self-confidence, feelings of unworthiness, and self-blame and self-deprecation.
While there are significant crossover or common symptoms, its more important to recognize the important differences. While anxiety manifests itself primarily in feelings of fear, apprehension and impeding doom, depression involves mostly feelings of emptiness, sadness, or loss of hope. On the physical side, the anxious person might feel agitated or keyed up, while someone whos depressed exhibits a loss of energy and lack of physical movement. Anxious people often feel tense and rigid, while those who suffer from depression tend to slump and feel flaccid. Anxiety sufferers may fear death or feel death is imminent, but do not have thoughts of suicide like deeply depressed people do.
While depression is sometimes thought of as a more serious condition than anxiety, people who suffer from anxiety often report that they are depressed as well. Such depression is the result of the persons excessive worry and fear. This can make the treatment of anxiety tricky, since treatment methods and medications for anxiety differ from those for depression. It takes a skillful health-care professional to sort out the differences and similarities, and design a meaningful treatment regimen for the person suffering from anxiety and/or depression.