Depression and Anxiety: different, yet similar

Depression and Anxiety: different, yet similar

One in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health issue. You likely know people who are depressed or have anxiety. Some people have both. They are different health problems, but they share some warning signs.

Like a medical sickness, help is available for anxiety or depression. Feeling better may take both health care and time, like any other sickness.

Shrinking Stigma
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says loneliness, shame and blame often go along with mental illness. That can make it hard for someone to reach out for help. NAMI launched a campaign called CureStigma   to raise awareness.

Stigma makes people feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. It’s dangerous. It can make people skip seeking help for their illness. Compassion and understanding, talking openly about the illness and working to end fear and shame can improve the chance of someone getting the help they need to get better.

Some things are warnings of both, such as sleeping issues, being tired and trouble focusing. But there are also differences.
Signs of Anxiety

  • Too much worry
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach

Signs of Depression

  • Low mood
  • Little interest in fun events
  • Change in hunger
  • Problems sleeping
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Trouble focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts

There are also different kinds of depression and anxiety. Find out more about depression from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America  . Learn about anxiety from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  .

If you need help, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you find a skilled therapist, counselor or psychologist. If you need help finding a doctor, call us at the number on the back of your BCBSMT ID card.

Sources: Stigma Freeleaving site icon National Alliance on Mental Illness; Depression, leaving site icon Anxiety and Depression Association of America; What are the five major types of anxiety disorder, leaving site icon U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Originally published 5/28/2019; Revised 2022