Depression and anxiety are both mental health conditions, but they are not interchangeable. To better understand the differences and similarities between depression and anxiety, let’s take a closer look at both conditions.
What Is Depression?
Depression, also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, impacts how a person acts, thinks and feels. It is a severe mood disorder, and in many instances, depression makes it tough to handle everyday activities like eating, sleeping or working.
There are several forms of depression, and these include:
- Major Depressive Disorder: Causes an ongoing feeling of sadness or a lack of interest in everyday activities.
- Treatment-Resistant Depression: Refers to a form of depression that psychological counseling, antidepressants, and other traditional depression therapies cannot address; treatment-resistant depression symptoms vary from mild to severe and may require multiple therapies to treat.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: Refers to a depressed mood that lingers for at least two years.
- Postpartum Depression: Occurs during pregnancy or after delivery.
- Psychotic Depression: Affects an individual who is dealing with depression in conjunction with delusions, hallucinations or other forms of psychosis.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: Results in depression during winter months, i.e., periods where there is less sunlight than other times of the year.
Those who are dealing with depression may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and pessimism
- Loss of interest in activities that an individual previously enjoyed
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
There are numerous risk factors associated with depression, too. These risk factors include:
- Family history of depression
- Significant life changes, trauma or stress
- Physical illnesses and medications
Some experts project 322 million people worldwide live with depression. Yet depression symptoms often go unaddressed – something that puts a person’s health and well-being in danger.
Ultimately, depression affects individuals of all ages. If depression goes untreated for an extended period of time, depression symptoms may escalate. And in this scenario, depression may become life-threatening.
For those who are struggling with depression, or know someone who is dealing with depression symptoms, help is available. At this point, a doctor can work with a patient to find the best way to alleviate this individual’s depression symptoms, which includes options like talk therapy, medication and/or neuromodulation such as deep TMS.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that causes persistent worry about everyday situations. It may lead to an anxiety disorder, a condition that causes repeat episodes of feelings of intense concern.
Common types of anxiety disorders include:
- Agoraphobia: Causes a person to avoid places or situations that make him or her feel helpless, embarrassed or trapped.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Results in ongoing and excessive worry about everyday activities or events; this condition sometimes occurs in combination with depression.
- Panic Disorder: Causes intense feelings of terror that peak over the course of a few minutes; panic disorder may cause shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: Occurs due to worry over separation from one’s parents; separation anxiety disorder is a condition that affects children.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Results in fear and avoidance of social situations due to self-consciousness or fear of being judged negatively by others.
There are many symptoms associated with anxiety, and these symptoms include:
- Rapid breathing
- Feelings of nervousness or restlessness
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
The risk factors linked to anxiety include:
- Family history of anxiety disorders
- Drug or alcohol use
Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans age 18 and older annually according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). They also represent the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
Like depression, anxiety is treatable. For those who believe anxiety is affecting their everyday lives or know someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder, consulting with a doctor is ideal. By meeting with a doctor, an individual can get the help needed to relieve anxiety symptoms.
How to Treat Depression and Anxiety
Clearly, there are notable differences and similarities between depression and anxiety. In certain instances, both conditions can be treated at the same time.
Common treatments used to address depression and anxiety include:
- Exercise: Daily exercise enables an individual to release chemicals in the brain that trigger positive feelings.
- Counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and other therapies can help people identify the root cause of their depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Medications: Doctors may prescribe antidepressants or other medications to treat depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Neuromodulation including deep TMS: Neuromodulation uses magnetic pulses to stimulate neurons in the brain to treat depression symptoms.
There are lifestyle practices an individual can follow to lower the risk of depression and anxiety, such as:
- Get a good night’s sleep. A consistent sleep regimen that includes seven to nine hours of rest each night sometimes helps an individual combat depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Maintain a healthy diet. A diet filled with fiber and vegetables may help an individual reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Limit caffeine consumption. Consuming excess amounts of caffeinated beverages may increase a person’s risk of depression and anxiety; as such, an individual may want to limit his or her daily caffeine intake to alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms.
Depression and anxiety are often difficult to identify and treat, and the best way to address these issues generally varies based on the individual. At Achieve TMS, we offer deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS), which uses magnetic pulses to deliver long-term depression and anxiety relief. To learn more about dTMS or to book a free consultation with Achieve TMS, please call or text us today at 877-909-8595.