While different, anxiety and depression share a biological basis.
Low serotonin levels are thought to play a role in both, along with other brain chemicals such as dopamine and epinephrine, which is why these two conditions often are linked.
While the biological groundwork for these conditions is similar, anxiety and depression are experienced differently and can show a variety of different symptoms (though some do overlap).
The Differences Between Anxiety and Depression
While many people experience anxiety from time to time, it can become an ongoing, chronic condition known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
The main signs of ongoing anxiety can include:
- difficulty managing fear and worry
- irritability, physical restlessness, or a sense of being on edge
- a sense of dread, doom, or panic
- sleep problems
- persistent fatigue
- brain fog
- physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea
For depression, it is normal to feel sad every now and then, but if it becomes chronic, that is when it could be a sign of a more serious issue. Suppose feelings of sadness and emptiness last for longer than two weeks, especially when positive events or changes in your environment don’t seem to have any impact on your mood. In that case, it can be a clear sign of a depressive disorder.
The symptoms of depression can include:
- loss of interest or enjoyment in your usual activities and hobbies
- a sense of hopelessness or pessimism
- anger, irritability, and restlessness
- a lack of energy or a sense of feeling slowed down
- chronic fatigue or sleep problems
- changes in appetite and weight
- difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering information
- unexplained aches and pains or gastrointestinal concerns
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- thoughts of suicide, death, or dying
Symptoms that can be experienced with both conditions can include:
- changes in sleep patterns
- changes in energy level
- increased irritability
- trouble with concentration, focus, and memory
- aches and pains or stomach issues that have no clear cause
If these symptoms seem to line up with how you’ve been feeling, it may be time to talk to your doctor about seeking treatment. From medication to therapy, there is help waiting for you.
GeniusRx is here to help you on your mental health journey.
If you decide medication will be part of your treatment plan, our team of dedicated clinical professionals can help.
Common medications you could be prescribed include:
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