If you have been feeling blue or worried for long periods of time and it is starting to affect your everyday life, you may have a condition that needs treating. Nearly 18% of American adults (almost 40 million) suffer from anxiety disorders and about 3–5% from depression. Both disorders can be treated if diagnosed. However, the symptoms are similar and because they often occur together, there is much confusion on how to tell them apart.1
Anxiety Versus Depression
An anxiety disorder is an illness where people experience fear, uneasiness, or distress for no perceptible reason. This may be the result of prolonged or sustained stress or sudden trauma which causes nerve cells to malfunction or modify the way they send information to different parts of the brain. One branch of study is even exploring the possibility of a hereditary side to anxiety issues.2
Sometimes an underlying medical condition like hypoglycemia, a heat stroke, or even a heart
As with anxiety, depression can be a short-lived, affective state but which puts “a negative spin” on everything in life.3 If the feelings of sadness, despair, and disinterest in daily activities persist it could be a case of clinical depression.4
Telling Them Apart – Are You Depressed or Just Anxious?
It is possible for people to have both anxiety disorder and depression. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. For everyone else, there are ways to figure out which one you are dealing with.
Feelings of being wound-up, restless, or “on the edge” are typical of anxiety disorders, while the hallmark of depression is
While both mental health issues result in the person feeling irritable and fatigued and having sleep problems, there are some signs that separate the two. While a person who has an anxiety disorder usually has restless sleep and finds it hard to stay asleep, someone with depression typically wakes up early or oversleeps but may not experience restless/interrupted sleep.
When it comes to concentration and decision-making, with anxiety, blanking out for a bit is typical; while those who are depressed also have issues with decision-making in addition to facing memory problems.
Depression is also additionally marked by a feeling of being worthless or a prevailing sense of inexplicable guilt. There may be more obvious manifestations of depression like a sudden increase or loss of appetite, change in
Differences In Treatment
For both anxiety and depression, the most common treatment includes either medication or psychotherapy or both. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps a person overcome social anxiety problems. Stress management techniques help limit episodes of anxiety. In some cases antidepressants may help, while a second line of treatment involves benzodiazepines.
For depression, antidepressants are typically prescribed and some form of psychotherapy suggested. In cases where intervention does not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies might be used.8
Ayurvedic cures for anxiety include a blend of almonds and milk, with saffron and honey, or
For depression, Ayurveda recommends you eat the appropriate pacifying foods depending on whether the depression is connected to vatta(linked to loss/death), pitta(perception of failure/not living up to expectations), or a mix of both. Fresh food that is chemical-free and rich in sattvic spices like basil, ginger, and cardamom are considered healing and open up the mind and body.10
In addition, some exercise can help get endorphins flowing and boost the mood of the person.The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest the use
|↑1, ↑6||Klerman, GERALD L. “Anxiety and depression.” In Handbook of studies on depression, pp. 49-68. Excerpta Medica Amsterdam, 1977.|
|↑2||Anxiety Disorders, Mental Health America.|
|↑3||How Depression Causes Negative ‘Spin’, Clinical Depression UK.|
|↑4||DSM-5 American Psychiatric Association. “Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.” Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing (2013).|
|↑5||Anxiety Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health.2016.|
|↑7||Depression, National Institute of Mental Health. 2016.|
|↑8||Mental Health Information, National Institute of Mental Health.|
|↑9||Verma, Sitansu Kumar, and Ajay Kumar. “Therapeutic uses of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) with a note on withanolides and its pharmacological actions.” Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research 4, no. 1 (2011): 1-4.|
|↑10||Ayurvedic Approaches to the Treatment of Depression,California College of Ayurveda.|
|↑11||Ravindran, Arun V., and Tricia L. da Silva. “Complementary and alternative therapies as add-on to pharmacotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders: a systematic review.” Journal of Affective Disorders 150, no. 3 (2013): 707-719.|