A recent report says that almost 80 million prescriptions for antidepressant drugs were given out in England in 2018, almost double the number of prescriptions dispensed in 2008. So, What’s the difference between anxiety and depression?
One of the reasons cited by NHS England for this rise is the common misconception that there is a ‘pill for every ill’.
This leads many people to taking medication they don’t necessarily need, medication that won’t help them get to the root cause of their illness.
Physical symptoms for illnesses such as anxiety and depression may be dealt with through medication. The non-physical symptoms are best treated through talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy, for example.
The problems start when differentiating between anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues consequently, they are seen as interchangeable labels.
People with anxiety can also develop depression and vice versa. Importantly, the other point of difference is that while one is an illness, the other is a group of conditions.
Essentially, if you’re suffering with depression it’s just one single illness. Yes it has lots of symptoms, but overall it’s just one condition.
Depression is defined as a person being in a low mood, with a lack of interest in the outside world for two weeks or more.
If you’re suffering with anxiety however, you may be suffering a multitude of conditions, the most prevalent of which is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
GAD sufferers tend to have two core symptoms: worry and anxiety. To be diagnosed with GAD you will have worried almost daily for six months or more.
When you’re suffering with anxiety and/or depression, the mental issues can appear similar however, both manifest physically in very different ways.
Depression sufferers slow down. Everything just becomes too much and typically your weight is affected. You either putt weight on or loose it.
It isn’t uncommon to experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
GAD sufferers experience muscle tension and aches from tensing constantly. Headaches and excessive sweating from worrying, as well as bowel problems are common symptoms.
Almost half of GAD sufferers will have depression as well, and up to 85% of those with depression will experience anxiety symptoms.
Many experts view MADD as a separate category distinct from both GAD and depression, because sometimes sufferers won’t have either condition severe enough to warrant a formal diagnosis. However, if you suffer from either you will be suffering daily.
Both anxiety and depression are treated in similar ways either with medication (when necessary) and psychological therapy, such as talking therapy, where you talk to a professional about your thoughts and feelings.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common form of talking therapy. Its foundations lie in the understanding that how you think, feel and behave are all interconnected.
By addressing these fundamental aspects of cognitive behaviour, we can reformulate how we view the world, to see it in a more positive way.
As an ex-athlete I’ve always advocated the benefits of keeping in shape physically, but it’s just as important to look after your mental wellbeing. Book a session with Wendy, she’s the person to help you look after your brain just as you would your body.
5 x Olympic Skier and presenter of BBC Ski Sunday.
Dare to dream big and Wendy’s THE person to help get you there.
X Factor winner with a long list of sell out tour successes under her belt.
The most exciting thing in the world is getting a chance to tear it all up and start again. Keep all the things you want and throw out everything you don’t. Wendy will help you do just that!
Beauty, lifestyle and fashion blogging sensation Becky Sheeran (TalkBeckyTalk)
It’s great to have a leading psychotherapist such as Wendy in the Cheshire area, outside of her Harley Street practice. After publicly raising awareness of mental health issues and myself recovering from depression, I know how immensely life-changing expert intervention can be.
Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.