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Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety vs. Depression

While the terms anxiety and depression may be used in the same context there are many differences between the two psychological problems. The symptoms of both disorders are often confused for one another; however a person who is experiencing anxiety over a long period of time will often become depressed. Both disorders can lead to irritability, lack of sleep, and a feeling of nervous tension, which all in turn can lead to problems in the home, at work, or in a social environment.

Anxiety is difficult for doctors to diagnose, those who suffer from the disorder often cannot even put words to the feelings they have. The constant feeling of worry over even the smallest tasks or problems plagues sufferers to a point of mental shutdown; they can focus on nothing but the worry. Panic attacks are common with anxiety sufferers, the body feels as though it is attacking itself, and they are common when a person has become overtaken with worry. A depression diagnosis is suspected when a person has seemingly given up on life. Those who are sad, indignant to life, and seem uninterested with those around them are showing symptoms of depression. There are some who suffer from severe depression who will even attempt to or do end their lives because they feel there is no purpose to living.

Both disorders are caused by similar internal and external conditions. The causes of anxiety include stress, substance abuse, and even side effect of other medications. The stress of school, work, or financial burdens can lead a person to feel the constant worry over these situations, enough so that it affects the rest of their lives. The causes of depression can include a history of abuse, or substance abuse, family loss, financial burdens, a traumatic event, and even heredity. A person who suffers from depression may have the hopeless feeling because they have been previously victimized, or are also feeling a large amount of stress. Both disorders can also come as a side effect of other medications intended to treat an entirely different medical condition. Some medications which help Parkinson’s disease, treat alcohol abuse, treat attention ‘‚Äúdeficit hyperactivity disorder, and even male sexual dysfunction have been shown to cause signs of depression in those who are prescribed the medications. Studies have shown that depression can also be genetic, in that if someone in your immediate family suffers from clinical depression you stand a higher chance of also having the disorder.

While both anxiety and depression may seem similar they differ upon studying the brain. When studying the brain of those who have been diagnosed with anxiety it has become noted that the amygdala produces a higher feeling of insecurity to the body. That feeling can lead to increase in pulse, blood pressure, and shortness of breath when anxiety is leading to a panic attack. The brain of a person who is depressed typically has a smaller than average hippocampus, which means less serotonin production. Depression sufferers are unable to produce as much of the calming chemical, serotonin, as a non-sufferer. Anxiety and depression sufferers have a chemical imbalance in the brain, however each is of a different part.

The treatment process for those who are suffering from anxiety or depression is either prolonged therapy or medication, sometimes both. With therapy a person is encouraged to focus on a calming situation, so that when anxiety peaks they are able to control it using those calming skills. If you are depressed a therapist can help get to the cause of the depression and help you work through it. For those who are opposed to taking medication, therapy is a non-evasive treatment which can have equally as beneficial results. There are also medications which treat the brain’s imbalances which cause anxiety and depression, such as Prozac and Zoloft. These medications are prescribed by a doctor in order to treat the chemical problems within the brain causing either disorder. Both drugs are not a guarantee to counteract depression of anxiety and have a long list of side effects which accompany them.
While both anxiety and depression have clinical differences, they are both serious disorders. Sufferers should seek medical attention as soon as they feel symptoms of either disorder.

Summary:
Anxiety and depression are both psychological disorders.
Anxiety is a constant feeling of overwhelming worry. Depression is the overwhelming feeling of hoplessness.
Depression affects the hypothalamus and anxiety affects the amygdala.
Both depression and anxiety are treated with therapy or prescribed medications.
Symptoms of either anxiety or depression are serious and a professional should be contacted immediately.


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