A Complicated Relationship: Anxiety, Depression or Something More?

Vinay Saranga MD

Saranga Psychiatry -Child, Adolescent, Adult Psychiatrist

People often refer to ‘anxiety and depression’ as if they are the same illness. They share some similar symptoms like fatigue, increased irritability and worthlessness. Yet, even with their similarities, they are two different disorders and should be treated individually. Sometimes it’s not easy to identify the difference. So, how do you know if you’re suffering from depression or just having a bad day? Are you nervous for a big upcoming event or is it something more? Here’s a few tips…

Identify You Emotions 

Keep track of how you are feeling each day. Life is full of daily stressors for all of us. It’s normal to feel burdened by a work deadline. However, once the task is complete, you should experience relief- not ongoing anxiety. Anxiety often manifests in an abundance of energy whereas depression often shows as lethargy. Keep a journal for a week and write down your emotions to help you better understand your feelings and symptoms.

The Past, Present and Future 

Though there is no sure way for you to self-diagnose your condition, understanding the difference between the two disorders starts by identifying your symptoms. Anxiety often focuses on what could go wrong in the future. Those suffering from anxiety fixate on worrying. They may avoid certain situations that could cause further anxiety or fear. A person suffering from anxiety often experiences a ‘fight or flight’ response accompanied by increased heart rate, trouble breathing and shaking or sweating.

Alternatively, depression can be linked to a painful past. Thoughts, ideas and daily triggers can send someone into a depressive state. Consequently, even good memories can bring on depression when you realize that time is over. At this point, we start to see symptoms like guilt, emptiness and loss. Someone suffering from depression might experience lack of energy, headaches and hopelessness.

A Complicated Relationship 

Furthermore, since depression and anxiety have many commonalities, it’s not always easy to understand what’s going on. Depression and anxiety have a complicated relationship. Your condition could be something more like mania or bipolar disorder. The only way to be properly diagnosed and treated is by seeking professional help. Depression and anxiety are not weaknesses! Don’t try to “muscle” through feelings of despair, hopelessness, or overwhelm. Reach out and let us help!



Vinay Saranga MD

Saranga Psychiatry -Child, Adolescent, Adult Psychiatrist

  • Published on October 19, 2017
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