The Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

Call Us Today
Last Edited
Share this post

Tags – Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

We hear the terms ‘anxious’ and ‘depressed’ get used in a lot of casual conversation – and for good reason too as both are normal emotions to experience.

And actually, are a routinely occurring response to potentially dangerous situations, in the case of anxiety, or upsetting circumstances, in the case of depression.

However, it’s important to understand the distinctions between the two emotions to determine how to feel better.

Let’s explore the difference between anxiety and depression. 

The Relationship

Before we dive into the differences, let’s discuss the relationship between anxiety and depression.

The two actually share a biological basis; changes in neurotransmitter function.

And, anxiety and depression have both been linked to low serotonin levels which plays a role in mood.

Furthermore, the two can occur sequentially; one in reaction to the other.

Whilst the biological basis of these problems are similar, anxiety and depression are experienced differently, which is why we must understand the difference in order to prescribe appropriate treatment.

Mental Differences

The mental features between anxiety and depression are different and have distinct psychological factors.


Those suffering with anxiety may experience;

  • Worry about the future, both long and short term
  • Have uncontrollable thoughts about something going wrong
  • Avoid social situations that could cause anxiety
  • Fear death, due to dangerous outcomes

Of course, these are not set in stone and these factors will vary between people.

To put simply though, those with anxiety will create unrealistic thoughts or have mental impulses that extend beyond everyday worries; they are mentally preoccupied with worry that is not in line with actual risk or reality.


Those suffering with depression may experience;

  • Feeling hopeless, assuming nothing positive is going to happen for them or others around them
  • Don’t believe it’s worth trying to think of feel differently
  • Feel worthless and invaluable
  • Think about death; believe life is not worth living

Again, these will differ between each individual and depend on the severity of the condition. 

Physical Differences

Like mental symptoms, the physical symptoms of anxiety and depression can differ too.


Physical characteristics of anxiety include;

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep/staying asleep
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Increased heart rate/blood pressure 
  • Muscle tension
  • Short breath


Physical characteristics of depression include;

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moving and talking slower than normal
  • Body aches without cause
  • Sleeping a lot more

The Takeaway

If you compare the two lists of physical and mental symptoms, it’s clear to see there is some overlap between anxiety and depression.

For instance, trouble with sleep, concentration and fatigue occur in both, but there are some distinguishing features to differentiate the two. 

Such as, people with depression may seem flattened and dull whereas people with anxiety may be more keyed up as they try to cope with racing thoughts. 

Above all, the most important quality anxiety and depression share, is that they can both be treated and so, never hesitate to seek help for a healthier mind and body.

Contact us for more information.

Check out our page for Court of Protection Solicitors in the meantime.

You may also like:

  1. Our Top 4 Tips For Living With Depression
  2. 5 Tips For Coping With Post-Covid Related Anxiety
  3. Talking to Your Family About Your Mental Health