8 thoughts on “I’m anxious but not depressed!”

  1. An effective treatment for an impaired condition lies in its correct diagnosis. And the task becomes more challenging when different problems have similar symptoms, as is the case with anxiety and mood disorders.

    Both anxiety disorders (phobias, PTSD) and mood disorders (depression) are manifested in similar ways i.e overlapping symptoms are seen among people suffering from anxiety and depression such as:
    – hopelessness, sadness and decreased energy
    – persistent worry, irritability
    – inability to concentrate
    – changes in sleep and digestive patterns, etc.

    Thus the key to distinguish among them lies in identifying the root of these symptoms.

    Anxiety disorders grow from the basic feelings of fear and apprehension in situations that would not be experienced by people without anxiety disorders. For e.g. intense and persistent feelings of apprehension that a past traumatic event will happen again may be said to be the root symptom of PTSD.

    But experience of persistent fear is not the case in mood disorders where prolonged and extreme feelings of sadness in case of depression, and periodic wide swings in mood from sadness to elation in the case of bipolar disorder are at the root of all other manifested symptoms.

    Thus it is the persistent fear in anxiety that differentiates it from mood disorders.

    1. Distinction in term of fear is perfect. Think of more such dimensions. ( like energy and enthusiasm… etc ) Introduction however is too long and unfit. You should avoid writing introduction to short answers. 4/10 marks

  2. Though both anxiety and mood disorders deal with emotions and share overlapping symptoms they can be distinguished from below factors :
    1. Nature of emotion :
    Anxiety disorder deal with extreme degree of fear and apprehension.
    Mood disorder deal with extreme sadness or extreme elation.
    2. Duration :
    In Anxiety disorders, the anxiety developed may persist for long time(eg: generalized anxiety disorder, OCD) or for a short duration(eg: phobias and panic attack).
    In mood disorders, the sadness (major depression) or sadness come elation (bipolar disorders) occur only as episodes.
    3. Trigger point :
    Anxiety disorders can have specific stimulus triggering anxiety eg:open space, heights, driving car. Thus can be avoided by avoiding the specific stimulus.
    Mood disorders cannot be provoked instantly. It develops gradually and persists.
    4. nature of reinforcements:
    Anxiety disorders are caused by negative reinforcements as can be seen in OCD eg: cleaning repetitively to avoid thought that one is not orderly
    Mood disorders are caused by absence of reinforcements as can be seen in major depression. (Peter Lewinsohn research: people invest less energy and hope because of absence of reinforcements, depression is further aggrevated by unrewarding social relationships).
    5. Early childhood experiences :
    As per Psychoanalytic theory :
    Anxiety disorders develop as a result of conflict between unconscious forces during childhood(Freud) or inadequate parent child relationship (neo-freudians). Eg: severe repression of sexual thoughts as it is not accepted in one’s family or culture. Over time sexual thoughts will create anxiety and one might use repetitive behaivors such as heart beat counting to overcome that. (OCD)
    Mood disorders develop as a result of overly demanding superego or loss of close attachments during childhood(Freud) eg: setting unrealisitic goals or severe repression of grief on losing mother at young age. This develops to self blame, guilt etc causing depression over time.
    6. one’s notion of self :
    Though both have distorted self, people with mood disorders have high degree of negativity attached to self.
    7. Cognition :
    People with anxiety disorder, say GAD, perceive every situation as dangerous/threat to self and remain hypervigilant.
    People with mood disorder, perceive every situation as worthless showing learned helplessness.
    People with anxiety disorder, couldnt avoid thinking about particular topic which acts as defense mechanism to cope with underlying anxiety. Eg: in ocd, washing hands repetitively to avoid obsessive thoughts that he is dirty.
    People with mood disorder couldnt avoid either negative thoughts or racing thoughts(maniac) which acts as defense mechanism to cope with underlying depression. Eg: talking continuously, singing, dancing because if they stop depression will surface.

    1. More than enough.. Content is sufficient. You have distinguished along possible dimensions. As an answer, this is not good because it is overloaded. Try to be concised.

  3. Anxiety and Depression are two psychological disorders that can be distinguished under following cohorts:-

    (a) Depression is a feeling of despair because of negative self schema and primitive thinking. It is directed inwards
    (b) Anxiety stems from perceived fear of environment that something unpleasant will occur soon. Here, cause is external

    Type of Behavior:-
    (a) In depression, people lack motivation to do anything nor interest to interact with others
    (b) In certain cases of anxiety like OCD – people do ‘engage’ in ritualistic behaviors to break the cycle or in phobias – they ‘avoid’ situations that triggers fear

    Time and type:-
    (a) Depression is passive i.e. they don’t try to avert it and is characterized by long periods of time at least of six months
    (b) Anxiety disorders are active in physiological, biochemical and behavioral sense. Sometimes, they are phasic and are occur in presence of certain stimuli.

    Brain functioning:-
    (a) There is no strong correlations between brain functioning and depressed state of mind
    (b) PET scans of panic disorder people suggest that even when they are not in panic state, their functioning of brain is not normal

    Gene makeup:-
    (a) Research suggests there is no correlation between depression and gene makeup
    (b) Anxiety disorders have strong correlation with gene makeup. In certain cases like panic disorders it is high as 50%

    1. Nicely framed answer.. But it has several factual errors. For example, you have written there is no correlation between brain functioning and depression… This is not correct. Do factual accounting of your answer.

  4. Anxiety and depression have many different markers besides many commonalities.

    Anxiety is innate to human being eg Eric Erikson gave the theory of identity crisis where a person from childhood feels anxious and torn between internal and external needs. A certain level of anxiety is necessary to create optimum amount of stress to reach at certain level of potential. Depression is however is not innate to human beings. Depression is caused by prolonged unaddressed anxiety in an individual. Eg. a teenager who in adolescence may feel identity crisis, naturally making out difference between what is taught and what it thinks, but in authoritative parenting it might get more confused and unknowing accepts the presented norms which might create feeling of being lost and leads to depressive state..

    Anxiety is a broader term for many of the general patterns of behaviour eg Obsessive compulsive disorder, general anxiety, phobias. Depression is more specific term describing behaviour pattern and symptoms of individual.

    Mental markers are different. Anxious person may feel stressed about the future, may make plan to deal with future unknown trepidation, even if suicidal thoughts are present they might be due worse outcome of physical harm not less of intention to do so. Depressed person shows very artificial emotions of any happiness, lost in some thoughts, feeling worthless, future seems gloomy, suicidal thoughts are prevalent with intention to do so.

    Physical markers are different. Anxious person may show less intense physical markers like rubbing hands, prancing around in worry, actively thinking to find solutions which shows energy level is more. In many situations intense symptoms are also shown like cold body but sweating, panic attacks, vomiting, fumbled speech etc. Depressed person only shows intense state of sadness in constant manner like lack energy, constant staring of ceiling, may not speak on being questioned etc

    However, anxiety and depression have many common symptoms but correct diagnoses depends upon duration, magnitude, effect of symptoms in various walks of life.

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