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The 5 differences between anxiety and depression

The 5 differences between anxiety and depression

May 7, 2021

Both anxiety and depression are part of two of the problems with which mental health occurs more frequently. After all, both emotional and work overload and mood disorders affect millions of people and can manifest in virtually any type of life situation.

However, it is also true that it is not always easy, for the person who is not an expert in the subject, to know how to recognize the symptoms of one and another alteration. In this article we will see, as orientation information, which are the main Differences between anxiety and depression , two psychological states with the ability to make us suffer a lot, although in different ways.


  • Related article: "The 6 differences between stress and anxiety"

The differences between depression and anxiety

In order to detect what are the typical characteristics of anxiety and depression, take the following keys as a reference.

1. The degree of motivation

People with depression tend to experience a symptom known as abulia. The apathy is, fundamentally, the lack of desire to do things, initiative. That is, in the main variants of depression, who suffers state he does not feel motivated to do anything , although it is proposed to do activities that seem fun and do not require effort.


In contrast, people who experience anxiety do not comply with the previous characteristic. It is possible that their state of mental exhaustion makes them more likely to get tired quickly, but in many cases they have problems when resting and, instead, they try to find entertainment to keep themselves occupied and not have to think about what they want. worries.

  • Related article: "Are there several types of depression?"

2. Its causes

The causes of anxiety can respond to an almost infinite variety of factors that, due to being present on a daily basis, lead us to this state: lack of sleep, substance abuse, certain social or economic problems, etc.

Depression, on the other hand, often appears endogenously , without there being a clear cause to explain it. When the onset of symptoms coincides with a specific event, this is usually punctual, and the simple passage of time does not have to make the "return to normal" make the depression disappear.


  • Related article: "Endogenous depression: when unhappiness comes from within"

3. The presence or absence of concerns

People with anxiety are characterized by staying in a state of almost constant worry. Rumination, which is the habit of spinning the same thought all the time (however negative it may be) is a vicious circle from which they can hardly escape.

This is because the reason for the anxiety is keep us in a state of alert very useful when there is some danger but, if it becomes chronic, it gives problems.

In depression, however, there are few, or almost none, concerns in the most severe cases. This type of disorder is not an extension of a useful activation mechanism from an evolutionary point of view, but its origin is much more mysterious and, for the moment, little is known about it.

The feeling of discomfort that is experienced in depression has to do not so much with the awareness that there is danger nearby, on the contrary, by a feeling of melancholy and loss of reasons to get out of bed.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Dysthymia, when melancholy takes over your mind"

4. The ability to enjoy

Another of the most important differences between depression and anxiety is that people with depression often lose the ability to enjoy , even if it is not a psychological pleasure but more linked to physical stimulation. It is a symptom known as anhedonia.

People with anxiety, on the other hand, do not have anhedonia, although it is true that their ability to enjoy can also be impaired due, among other things, to the fact that it is difficult for them to stop thinking about what concerns them, on the one hand, since their physical condition is not optimal, on the other, due to the wear and tear suffered in the day to day for lack of sleep or poor management of work times.

In depression, then, this inability to feel pleasure is of a rather endogenous type, given that there are imbalances in the levels of neurotransmitters and in the activation patterns of specific parts of the brain. However, in anxiety, although there are also changes in the nervous system, the causes of these difficulties to enjoy have rather to do with constant alertness, that is, it depends on the interaction with the environment.

5.Degree of predisposition toward meeting goals

Neither depression nor anxiety are states in which people are oriented towards meeting goals. However, the lack of this predisposition is much more pronounced and notorious in the case of depressive disorders.

In anxiety, we often postpone those tasks that can lead us to resolve what worries us, given that the simple idea of ​​facing this task again scares us. However, the most common is that, once you have started working, everything flows more normally.

In depression, however, we do not even consider if there is something we should do : it is as if the obligations cease to exist. In fact, if you aspire to something is to relive the moments in which the depression had not appeared. This is so because while people with anxiety think a lot about the future, for those patients who have depression, nothing matters more than the present situation.


Understanding the Differences Between Anxiety and Depression | Kaiser Permanente (May 2021).


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