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Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Understand the Differences Between Anxiety, Depression

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

The signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression are often so similar that it can be hard to tell them apart. That’s why understanding the differences between anxiety, depression, and the symptoms of both is vital in recognizing the two conditions, as well as finding treatment for them.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, including their key differences so you can better recognize each one if you or someone you love has them.

Physical Symptom Checklist

1. Do you have any physical symptoms? This can include things like a headache, feeling tense or jumpy, having trouble sleeping, or feeling exhausted.

2. Have you been experiencing any changes in your eating habits? This can manifest as either overeating or undereating.

3. Are you having difficulty concentrating? This can make it hard to focus at work or school and may lead to making more mistakes than usual.

4. Are you feeling more irritable than usual? Small things that normally wouldn't bother you may start to seem like a big deal, and you may find yourself snapping at loved ones more often.

5. Are you having racing thoughts or feeling like your mind is constantly going? While this isn't necessarily an anxiety symptom, if the feelings are causing you to distress then they should be evaluated by a doctor. 

6. Finally, do you feel numb? It's not uncommon for people with depression to experience what's known as emotional numbing. While this doesn't happen for everyone with depression, if it's something that happens to you then there could be something else going on.

Emotional Symptom Checklist

1. Most of the time, do you feel stressed? 

2. Do you have difficulty sleeping or concentrating?

3. Are you more irritable or more weepy than usual? 

4. Have you lost interest in activities that used to give you pleasure? 

5. Are you eating more or less than usual? 

6. Has your weight changed without you making any conscious effort to do so? 

7. Do you feel tired all the time, even after a good night's sleep? 

8. Do you have headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems that don't have a physical cause? 

9. Do you feel like there's no hope for the future? 

10. Have you been thinking about death or suicide?

If so, please call your doctor or contact someone at your local emergency room right away. It is important not to keep this to yourself. 

The signs and symptoms of anxiety can be caused by depression, but they can also exist independently from it. If you're worried about your mental health (or someone else's), it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Cognitive Symptom Checklist

1. Do you have difficulty concentrating or focusing? These things can be signs of anxiety or depression.

2. Do you find yourself feeling restless or on edge? This is a common symptom of anxiety.

3. Are you easily fatigued or do you have low energy levels? This can be a sign of both anxiety and depression.

4. Do you have difficulty sleeping or do you find yourself waking up frequently during the night? This is a common symptom of anxiety and depression.

5. Do you have negative thoughts about yourself, your life, or the future? This is a common symptom of depression.

6. Do you find yourself avoiding people or social situations? This is a common symptom of anxiety and depression.

7. Do you feel hopeless or helpless? This is a sign of depression.

8. Do you feel worthless or guilty? That’s also a sign of depression. 

9. Do you experience unexplained aches and pains in muscles, joints, and other parts of the body without any physical injury being present? It's possible that this could be caused by stress-related muscle tension.

10. Is there anhedonia, that is not experiencing pleasure from activities that were once pleasurable?

Social Symptom Checklist

1. Do you feel like you're not good enough, no matter what you do?

2. Do you avoid social situations because you're afraid of embarrassing yourself?

3. Do you feel like life is passing you by?

4. Are you having trouble concentrating or focusing on anything?

5. Do you find yourself getting irritable or angry for no reason?

6. Are your eating habits changing, either eating more or less than usual?

7. Are you having trouble sleeping, either falling asleep or staying asleep?

8. Do you feel hopeless about the future? 

9. Have you lost interest in things that used to be important to you? 

10. Is it hard to function during the day because of your fatigue? 

11. Has there been a change in appetite, weight gain, or loss?

Behavioral Symptom Checklist

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression. To get a better idea of what might be going on, consider taking this quick and easy quiz. 

1. Do you feel restless, irritable, or on edge?

2. Do you have difficulty concentrating or does your mind go blank?

3. Are you easily fatigued?

4. Do you have muscle tension or headaches?

5. Do you have trouble sleeping (insomnia)?

6. Do you experience gastrointestinal problems?

7. Have you been feeling down, hopeless, or helpless?

Delving Deeper Into Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, with 18% of the population (40 million adults) diagnosed. However, only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders seek treatment.

Why the discrepancy? One reason may be that people don’t know how to identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders. Here are a few key signs and symptoms to look out for :

  • Nervousness or dread 
  • Persistent worry about health, school, or other issues 
  • Much of the time, you feel irritable and edgy. 
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Eating too much or too little. 
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Having persistent thoughts of death or suicide 
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Feeling very tired all the time

The good news is that both anxiety and depression can be effectively treated.

 Most importantly, if you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek professional help. Anxiety disorders are treatable, but only a professional can diagnose anxiety disorders.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, so the first step is to get a proper diagnosis. Once you know what type of anxiety disorder you have, you and your doctor can work on finding the best treatment option for you.

Some common treatment options for anxiety disorders include therapy, medication, and self-care. Therapy and medication can be used in combination with each other or alone depending on the person's needs. Self-care includes practicing relaxation techniques, journaling, or using relaxation tapes or CDs.

It is important to remember that no one has been able to find a cure for depression or anxiety; instead, these illnesses must be managed by finding effective treatments that work for each individual. 

Conclusion

Though the symptoms and causes of anxiety and depression can differ, there are some common signs to look out for. If you or someone you know is experiencing a combination of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it may be time to seek professional help.

Treatment for anxiety and depression often includes medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. It’s important to note that sometimes people experience relief from their depression or anxiety symptoms without treatment. However, if one decides not to seek treatment, they should still speak with their doctor regularly about how they’re feeling so they can monitor changes in their mental health over time.


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