The Difference Between Anxiety And Depression

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

woman on bleachers with head in hands

Discussions of anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. For example, symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder can include depression and anxiety. Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating moods of depression, a bipolar-specific depression, and mania, which can include anxiety. Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can include symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Signs and symptoms of any mental health disorder usually includes talks of either depression or anxiety, or both. Even more complicated is the fact that anxiety can be a symptom of depression and however closely related or closely discussed anxiety and depression might be, they are two completely different mental health disorders, symptomatic experiences, and diagnoses.


Most mental health issues can be indicated through a few general symptoms, like physical changes. Changes in weight, appearance, hygiene, social involvement, appetite, and other noticeable, obvious changes indicate something changing internally. Both diagnoses can involve stress and reactions to stress. The kind of stress, however, is what separates the two.


There is a common saying about feeling anxious when living in the present and depressed when living in the past, but at peace when living in the present. This applies to the core difference between depression and anxiety. Both depression and anxiety have ties to the future as well as the past. Characteristically, anxiety is focused on an uncertain future which causes multiplying fear. Depression, on the other hand, is focused on an unchangeable past in addition to and uncontrollable future, causing feelings of pessimism, hopelessness, and helplessness. The experience of anxiety usually includes high energy whereas the experience of depression includes low energy.

Treating depression and anxiety

Both depression and anxiety are helped by simple treatments and therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, has been proven to be effective for reducing the intensity of symptoms for both anxiety and depression. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are three spiritual but scientifically backed practices for increasing feelings of peace and presence while reducing symptoms of stress in both disorders. Other therapy types are helpful in creating necessary emotional regulation skills for coping with moments of intense emotions in a safe and healthy way.


If you believe that you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or both, you are not alone. Without treatment and help these emotional experiences can be overwhelming and cause a disruption in your life. Avalon By The Sea is one of Southern California’s only certified primary mental health treatment facilities, offering trusted programs that provide trusted results. For a confidential assessment and more information on our mental health and substance use disorder programs, call 888-958-7511

We will work with most out of network PPO and POS policies

Call to verify your insurance benefits today!