The difference between depression and anxiety is something that we need to understand from different angles. Additionally, each of these mental health problems has a different therapeutic approach.
Clinical depression or anxiety differs from occasionally feeling low or anxious. Regularly feeling anxious or depressed might indicate a significant mental health disorder that needs medical attention.
What is Depression?
Depression is referred to as a downturn in mood. This “mood” is usually transitory and is generally caused by something trivial. Depression is another term for sadness, feeling blue, discouraged, hopeless, or “down in the dumps.”
Depression is often the result of many factors. These factors cause depression or may have the same results when experienced individually.
Events in our lives, often some form of loss, are the most likely causes of depression. The loss could be readily apparent, like the death of a family member or a friend, or it may be less noticeable.
Moving away from home for the first time can cause a less obvious feeling of loss. Domestic problems, financial difficulties, feelings of helplessness in controlling your environment, and even a monotonous climate are common causes of a depressed mood.
A sad song can bring on a depressed mood. Rainy weather and lack of sunlight are examples of common seasonal causes.Difference Between Depression and Anxiety
The depressed mood can also stem from an internal source. Lack of self-esteem or a negative view of your life can lead to depression. Hereditary and hormonal factors also contribute to depressed moods. Certain illnesses can encourage depressive behavior.
A depressed mood may come on you quickly with no apparent reason but is likely to leave you quickly. Depression lasting for more than two weeks or so severe that it interferes with daily living may indicate a more serious problem and should be discussed with your doctor.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a physiological state causing feelings of fear, apprehension, and worry. These feelings are as common as happiness and joy. Studies suggest anxiety is a protective mechanism. It could be our body’s warning against participation in potentially harmful situations.
Basically, what happens is our minds perceive danger. It may be real or imagined. Our body reacts to this threat by preparing for action. Heart rate and blood pressure increase the blood flow to the major muscle groups. Sweating is raised to help maintain body temperature. These bodily functions lead to daily anxiety and unpleasant physical symptoms when the threat is only imagined. These include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, nausea, and chills.
Sigmund Freud said anxiety was a “signal of danger” which results in physical defensive behaviors. These “defensive behaviors” are meant to enable our bodies to overcome whatever danger is threatening us. He believed we get these anxious feelings from traumatic experiences and then reinforce the feelings through classical conditioning.
When we see or feel something we associate with a previous traumatic experience, we feel a resurgence of the anxiety these situations caused. Emotionally, we feel a sense of panic or extreme dread. Voluntary and involuntary behavior urges us to escape. However, avoiding or running these situations without dealing with the anxiety reinforces the desire to escape. It could result in even more anxious feelings the next time this situation is encountered.