Identifying Anxiety and Depression, and How to Cope With Both
Updated: Sep 22
Anxiety and depression are distinct conditions. Yet, they often occur together. Even more confusing, they do share some of the same signs and symptoms.
So, how do you know if you have anxiety or depression? And what do you do if you experience both?
Here are some ways to identify anxiety and depression, how the symptoms often overlap, and tips for how you can cope with both.
Symptoms of Anxiety
It's normal to feel anxious sometimes. Feeling fear, nervousness, and worry is just how we respond to stress. It can actually be adaptive, as long as you are able to alter yourself or the environment to eliminate the cause of your symptoms.
The trouble is, anxiety doesn’t go away if there’s nothing you can immediately do to change yourself or your environment. In these cases, anxiety becomes maladaptive.
You may suffer from an anxiety disorder if you:
Have a hard time managing fear and worry
Often experience a sense of dread, doom, or panic
Experience brain fog
If you are experiencing these symptoms and want to talk to a medical professional you can start a confidential anxiety telehealth visit here.
Symptoms of Depression
Sadness is a normal human emotion, especially during difficult or painful life situations, like after a breakup or the death of a loved one. Eventually, a positive event or a change in your environment will change your mood. If it doesn’t, you could have a depressive disorder.
Depression includes symptoms like:
Low, sad, or empty mood
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
Sense of hopelessness or pessimism
Change in appetite or weight
Difficulty being present
If you are experiencing these symptoms and want to talk to a medical professional you can start a confidential depression telehealth visit here.
How Symptoms Overlap
Although each condition has its own symptoms, anxiety and depression also share some symptoms. They include:
Feelings of irritability or restlessness
Persistent fatigue and sleep problems
Physical symptoms, like gastrointestinal issues
Anxiety and depression can also influence each other, making the symptoms of each condition worse. For example, ruminating on all the ways a situation can go wrong is common among those who suffer from anxiety. This can open the gateway to going over and over past events that have already gone wrong, which is common among those who suffer from depression.
Tips for Coping When You Have Anxiety and Depression
One of the things you can do right away to manage your anxiety and depression is to maintain a routine. It creates structure in your life and can make you feel more in control.
Make time to exercise most days, even if you don't feel like it. The key is to find ways to move your body that you enjoy. You’re much more likely to exercise, and enjoy its benefits, if you go for a walk or dig in the garden rather than making yourself go to the gym to run on the treadmill. You will experience even more psychological benefits if you exercise outside.
Depression and anxiety are medical conditions, which means you shouldn’t feel ashamed to reach out for help from a professional. Start a telehealth visit, receive talk therapy, and potentially receive a prescription to ease your anxiety and depression symptoms, all from the comfort of your own home.