Psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety can occur at the same time. In fact, it’s been estimated that 45 percent of people with one mental health condition meet the criteria for two or more disorders. One study found that half of people with either anxiety or depression
Although each condition has its own causes, they may share similar symptoms and treatments. Read on to learn more, including tips for management and what to expect from a clinical diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of each condition?
Some symptoms of depression and anxiety overlap, such as problems with sleep, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. But there are several key differences that help distinguish between the two.
Feeling down, sad, or upset is normal. It can be concerning feeling that way for several days or weeks on end.
Physical symptoms and behavioral changes caused by depression include:
- decreased energy, chronic fatigue, or feeling sluggish frequently
- difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or recalling
- pain, aches, cramps, or gastrointestinal problems without any clear cause
- changes in appetite or weight
- difficulty sleeping, waking early, or oversleeping
Emotional symptoms of depression include:
- loss of interest or no longer finding pleasure in activities or hobbies
- persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- feeling hopeless or pessimistic
- anger, irritability, or restlessness
- feeling guilty or experiencing feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- thoughts of death or suicide
- suicide attempts
Anxiety, or fear and worry, can happen to anyone from time to time, too. It’s not unusual to experience anxiety before a big event or important decision.
But, chronic anxiety can be debilitating and lead to irrational thoughts and fears that interfere with your daily life.
Physical symptoms and behavioral changes caused by generalized anxiety disorder include:
- feeling fatigued easily
- difficulty concentrating or recalling
- muscle tension
- racing heart
- grinding teeth
- sleep difficulties, including problems falling asleep and restless, unsatisfying sleep
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
- restlessness, irritability, or feeling on edge
- difficulty controlling worry or fear
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
You know what’s normal for you. If you find yourself experiencing feelings or behaviors that aren’t typical or if something seems off, this might be a sign you need to seek help from a healthcare provider. It’s always better to talk about what you’re feeling and experiencing so that treatment can begin early if it’s necessary.
When to talk to your Health Care Provider
Symptoms that last two weeks or more may be an indication you have depression, anxiety, or both. Severe symptoms may include:
- problems with sleep
- unexplained emotional changes
- sudden loss of interest
- feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
If you’re not feeling like yourself and want help understanding, make an appointment to see your doctor. It’s important to be open and honest so they can fully understand what’s happening and get a clear picture of what you’ve been feeling.