Understanding the difference between depression, stress and anxiety Understanding the difference between depression, stress and anxiety

The words, “stress,” “anxiety,” and “depression” are becoming more common in today’s world. While the number of diagnoses for these conditions have increased significantly, because of how common and they have become, they are often confused for one another. 

Depression is related to constant sadness, melancholy and nostalgia that remains over time. If stress is the body’s response to a stressful or dangerous situation that interrupts our daily lives and demands a quick response, causing nervousness, temporary anxiety or even anger. Generalized anxiety disorder, is stress that continues once the factor that caused it no longer exists; it is an almost nearly constant tension or concern of a very minor or barely identifiable cause. The University of Maryland Medical Center in the U.S., defines it as a condition where, “… concerns seem to go from one problem to the next such as family or interpersonal relationship problems, and work, financial, health or other problems.”

While these are different conditions, they can occur simultaneously in some cases. Stress, for example, can lead to the onset of generalized anxiety disorder, which itself can trigger depression.

Being aware of the factors that cause any of these conditions is essential to learn to avoid or control their impacts. It is also important to treat the condition on time and seek professional help to prevent more serious health repercussions that, beyond mental health, can also affect physical health.