What’s the Difference Between Anxiety and Depression?

Anxiety and depression are two very different mental illnesses, but they can coexist in the same individual. People often find it difficult to distinguish between the two, especially if both illnesses are present. There are distinguishing factors to both anxiety and depression that can help you differentiate between the two.


Anxiety is characterized by a heightened sense of panic, fear and doubt for the future. These worries are unsupported and often highly exaggerated or completely falsified in the person’s mind. However, the person believes that these fears are real and thus the anxiety increases. People with anxiety can often feel threatened in situations that most people would not find dangerous or stressful. Again, these fears are created in the individual’s mind.

Panic attacks are common amongst people with anxiety. Panic attacks can creep up on a person out of nowhere or be brewing in them for hours before the actual attack. The attacks usually cause a person to hyperventilate or experience shortness of breath, crying, shaking, dizziness and possible fainting. Panic attacks can become very debilitating and a person should seek medical help if they are experiencing them regularly.


Image Source: charlie gaddy


With depression, the symptoms are a bit different compared to those of anxiety. People with depression will feel extreme sadness, loneliness, feel unmotivated and be disinterested in things they once loved.

There are several different types of depression with varying degrees of severity; many of us experience depression at some point in our lives, often in times of trial and tribulation, when feeling stressed out, having lost a loved one or experiencing a great disappointment.

Many people with severe depression will experience what is known as clinical depression—a consistent, persistent depression that affects their lives, their relationships, work and school and all around behavior and actions. The same can happen with anxiety—it can be persistent if left untreated, so it’s important to seek advice from a doctor and therapist or counsellor about various treatment and management options.

Remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety and depression is unique and your symptoms may not fall neatly into one category or another. Help is available to you no matter what and there are many people ready to help you on your journey to better days.

Feature image: Life-Of-Pix