Anxiety or Depression: Which Do I Have?

misc image
Are you feeling anxious or depressed? If those feelings persist over days and weeks, you may need mental health services. Can you have both feelings at once? Learn how you can distinguish between them. Blog:

It’s normal to feel anxious or depressed as a result of a tragic event or accident, or just when you have a “down” day. But if you feel that way consistently, your quality of life suffers. 

Lucas Egebe, PMHNP-BC, DNP, board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and a Doctor of Nursing Practice with Houston Medical-Mental Health Clinic, located in Houston, Texas, provides compassionate counseling services when you feel overwhelmed by anxiety or depression. Let’s take a closer look at these two disorders and examine the differences and commonalities. 

Anxiety symptoms 

Do you feel a general sense of dread and worry about what’s happening now or what will happen in the future? Perhaps your anxiety comes in the form of a panic attack when faced with a situation that frightens you. Anxiety ranges from generalized anxiety disorder to panic disorder and other phobia-related disorders.

Typical symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: 

  • Feeling irritable or restless 
  • Uncontrolled and persistent worry about what’s happening now or in the future 
  • Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or digestive problems
  • Obsessive thoughts about negative outcomes
  • Restricting yourself from activities that may cause anxiety (e.g. leaving the house; boarding a plane) 

This is an uncomfortable way to live. You’re constantly worried about the possibility of a negative outcome in many aspects of your life. Your “fight or flight” fear response is always turned on. 

Signs of depression 

Depression involves feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth. You may have very low energy and not want to get out of bed. Depression can persist for long periods if untreated. 

Signs of depression often center around intense and persistent negative emotions.

Common signs of depression include:

  • Hopelessness for self, others, or the world
  • Feeling worthless 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling irritable most of the time 
  • Excessive fatigue 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed

Depression can also lead to a persistent belief that life isn’t worth living.

When it could be both

If you’re depressed, you can become anxious. Likewise, constant anxiety can result in depression. Having both anxiety and depression at the same time occurs often. About 60% of people who have anxiety are also depressed. 

Researchers believe that this occurs frequently because the same neurotransmitters — chemical messengers communicating between your nerve cells in the brain and other body parts — are active in both mental health disorders. Serotonin helps control mood and sleep and defends against anxiety and depression. Dopamine regulates motivation and feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. 

If the neurotransmitters in your body are out of balance, you could experience both anxiety and depression, with symptoms occurring separately or together. If you have a neurotransmitter imbalance, you have a higher risk of anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders. 

Treating anxiety and depression 

The good news is that our team can treat your anxiety and depression. We evaluate your symptoms and explain your diagnosis. We develop an individualized mind-body approach to help relieve your symptoms.  

Our customized treatment plans may include:

  • Counseling
  • Medication management
  • Sleep analysis
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Weight loss plans
  • Exercise recommendations

Seek treatment early before anxiety or depression become persistent. Call Houston Medical-Mental Health Clinical or book an appointment online today. Help is a phone call away. 

Houston Medical-Mental Health Clinic
✆ Phone (appointments): 346-270-5897
✆ Phone (general inquiries): 346-270-5897
Address: 2833 Spears RD, Suite C, Houston, TX 77067