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Differences Between Anxiety & Depression

As any psychotherapist can attest, anxiety and depression are two of the most common factors that motivate people to find a therapist for help. One reason for this is both anxiety and depression can manifest as clinical disorders or as symptoms related to other underlying factors (such trauma, grief, PTSD, phobias, etc.) that need to be addressed. The good news is that relief from anxiety and depression is possible. Addressing both anxiety and depression is a process and takes time – but is a worthy investment. 

Since anxiety and depression affect the lives of so many people, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Often coupled together, anxiety and depression are two very different conditions that require their own treatment techniques. The physical symptoms of anxiety or depression, how either condition is triggered, the purpose each one serves, and the methods to reduce their impact on ones daily life are all significant factors that set the two apart. Understanding these differences is the key to learning how to manage either condition while still enjoying the joyful, exciting, and pure moments of life.

Characteristics Of Anxiety

Anxiety is a sense of worry or a seemingly perpetual state of concern that can develop on its own or be triggered by a countless number of contributing factors. Physically, anxiety is known to cause symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, muscle tremors, fast breathing, and panic attacks. There are different forms of diagnosed anxiety disorders (social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive tendencies) and each disorder needs to be addressed in a unique way. There is also a genetic link for people suffering from anxiety, making it more likely for someone to suffer from anxiety if they have a family member also diagnosed with the condition. If the thought of something (such as going out to a party or taking a test) induces feelings of panic, anxiety is generally the cause.

Common Signs Of Anxiety

  • Trouble breathing
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Inability to concentrate/ racing thoughts

Characteristics of Depression

Depression is a feeling of hopelessness or overwhelming sadness that can be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, trauma, or challenging life events. Common physical symptoms of depression are feeling fatigued and tired, sleeping more often than normal, and lacking motivation or energy. Though the different forms of depression share common symptoms, depression caused by an event (situational depression) and major depression disorders require different treatment approaches. Mental health counseling can help identify the proper treatment. There is also a higher chance of a diagnosis of depression if there is a history of depression in the family. If someone is experiencing extreme sadness with changes in social behavior, a lack of energy, or oversleeping, depression may be the cause.

Common Signs Of Depression

  • Feelings of prolonged sadness or melancholy
  • Sleeping too much
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Negative thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts or thinking about death


Relief from anxiety and depression is available and, more importantly, possible. Mental health counseling will involve diagnosing the condition and determining whether the symptoms are related to a single disorder or a mixture of two (co-occurring disorders). The proper diagnosis is essential for developing the right strategy to utilize specialized techniques aimed at managing symptoms over time. With anxiety counseling and depression therapy symptoms can be managed. Mental health counseling can provide guidance in learning how to live with either condition while minimizing its overall impact on an individual’s life.

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression and wish to speak with a licensed therapist in Boca Raton FL, contact Morgan Center For Counseling & Wellbeing for assistance.

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