Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression - Common Signs

What are the typical signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression?

With the variety of mental disorders that have been classified, depression and anxiety are arguably the most common. This fact is perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of these problems, as their prevalence may cause some people to dismiss their symptoms as normal, when in reality, they are indicative of a larger issue and would most likely improve with treatment.

Although there is a certain degree of overlap between the various signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, the two problems are quite distinct. Knowing "what to look for" in terms of the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be the first step in healing the issues with these conditions that oneself or a loved one may be experiencing.

The signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression are separately described in the following sections.

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A note about Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression - Common Signs

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Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression - Anxiety

Most people are quite familiar with the feeling of anxiety and the reactions that accompany it, but pathological anxiety is characterized by an anxious feeling of such intensity that it interferes with daily living. It is perfectly normal to feel tense or fearful prior to a big presentation or a first date, but when it becomes overwhelming, it may be time to seek some outside help.

Those who may be suffering from excessive anxiety may experience a constant feeling of worry, or as though they are tense or "on edge." Anxiety that is problematic may interfere with work, school, or family responsibilities. Furthermore, being plagued by fears whilst having an awareness of their irrationality is indicative of an anxiety disorder, as is holding a stable belief that something "bad" will happen if things are not done a certain way.

A very observable symptom of anxiety in oneself or others is the tendency to avoid certain activities or situations because they increase anxious feelings. Sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme panic are symptomatic of an anxiety-routed panic disorder.

Physiologically, anxiety has a number of symptoms, some of which include: restlessness, muscle tension, headaches, sweating, difficulty concentrating, and nausea. Generally speaking, if one tends to feel that danger or catastrophe is constantly "waiting around the corner" it is probably best to receive a thorough evaluation, as living with such a feeling is not a pleasant experience for anyone, and it is likely that something can be done to alleviate this pervasive sense of anxiety.

Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression - Depression

Like anxiety, feeling down at times is a normal part of life. However, when a depressed mood continues for an extended period of time or begins to interfere with relationships, work, or other aspects of one's life, it is important to seek professional assistance.

There are a number of symptoms of depression, and because it's a rather subjective disorder, it doesn't look the same in every person whom it afflicts. Knowing how to recognize depression is an important aspect of recovery.

Sleep difficulties, such as inability to fall or stay asleep or the need to sleep excessively, are often present in depression. Another marked symptom of depression is a feeling of helplessness or hopelessness, and a feeling of being unable to focus or finding previously simple tasks quite difficult.

Furthermore, people with depression often experience appetite changes (such as not wanting to eat at all or overeating), and find themselves unable to control negative thoughts. In loved ones, we may notice increased irritability, a short-temper, or expressions of their belief that life is not worth living (in which case, they should be directed to a professional immediately).

It is incredibly important to recognize the signs of depression and to realize that there are many, many effective treatment possibilities.


The symptoms of anxiety and depression can look similar, and indeed overlap at times. However, it is safe to say that if you find yourself or a loved one feeling or displaying the symptoms mentioned above, they should seek out treatment, regardless of whether it is depression or anxiety from which they are suffering.

It is necessary to deal with the excessively intense feelings that anxiety and depressive disorders cause, and it is important for people to recognize that seeking treatment is not an indication of "weakness" or anything of the sort, but rather a positive step in moving forward, away from these problematic symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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