The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health problems in the world, and in the last few decades, our awareness and acknowledgment of them have grown. However, many continue to struggle to distinguish one from the other. This is because “roughly 50% of people diagnosed with depression will also be diagnosed with anxiety disorder” [2]. However, in order to effectively treat the two, it is imperative to identify their separate symptoms and traits.


“Anxiety is a general apprehension about what is going to happen, or could possibly happen, in the future. Anxiety disorders are characterized by thoughts of worry and a general belief that something will go wrong” [1]. Some symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

- Excessive worry

- Restlessness

- Being easily fatigued

- Trouble concentrating

- Irritability

- Sleep disturbance

- Muscle tension

If you experience any of these symptoms on most days for six months or more (upsetting your daily routine and causing you distress), this could mean that you have a generalized anxiety disorder. “Other types of anxiety disorder include separation anxiety, panic disorder, or phobias, among others” [2]. While there aren’t specific causes of anxiety disorder, traumatic events have been seen to be the common trigger to it. Other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and respiratory disorders have also been linked to anxiety disorders. Furthermore, factors such as stress, depression, drugs, and alcohol are known to increase the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders. Insomnia and social isolation are but a few of the complications that could then develop from anxiety disorders, suicide being the worst of it [4].

To tackle anxiety disorders, it has been proven that counseling can be more effective than medication, as the latter is shown to have numerous side effects. In counseling, however, patients’ symptoms are the main focus. Counselors will analyze symptoms in order to implement approaches that can help decrease ner