Difference between Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety in general is the worry about what is going to happen in the future. It can be an immediate future or some very distant future. The individual suffering from anxiety doesn’t know for sure what is going to happen and the prospects seem very bad. The individual suffering from depression knows what has happened and this knowledge makes him feel bad. Future prospects for the depressed individual don’t look good too, but that is because things are not going well in the present. There are more differences between anxiety and depression. Let’s take a closer look at them.


Anxiety disorders are accompanied by excessive worry regarding events in the future. For individuals with anxiety disorders, future prospects do not look good. Anxiety involves a highly subjective view on those future events. In reality, events are not as menacing as the individual suffering from anxiety imagines. Anxiety involves a variety of mental and physical symptoms, such as restlessness, headaches, sleep disturbance and inability to concentrate.

Anxiety vs Depression

Depression is a mental state which makes the individual feel sad, empty, guilty or helpless. These modes affect the individual’s activity and make them lose concentration and the desire to perform certain tasks, to make important decisions and to communicate socially.   Depression may be a sign of a psychiatric disorder, such as major depressive disorder.

Comparison chart

Anxiety Depression
 Is a constant feeling of overwhelming worry Is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness
Physical symptoms include restlessness and increased heartbeat Physical symptoms include lack of energy and slow responses
Focus on the future Focus on the past and the present

Anxiety vs Depression

What is the difference between anxiety and depression? Let’s compare them by the general feeling they cause, physical symptoms and the relation to future events.

  • Anxiety is accompanied by the acute feeling of worry. The individual suffering from anxiety is often restless. In the case of depression, the individual suffering from it is overwhelmed not by worry, but rather by hopelessness.
  • Physical symptoms accompanying anxiety and depression differ. The psychologist would be able to distinguish anxiety by such physical symptoms as increased heartbeat, sweat and muscle tension. In the case of depression, on the other hand, physical symptoms include slow responses and general lack of energy.
  • When one is suffering from anxiety, one’s thoughts are focused on future events, which seem to the individual unpleasant, scary or otherwise disturbing. In the state of depression, on the other hand, an individual is focused on the past and the present. Events that have already taken place seem to be depressing. Patients with anxiety do not know what the future brings and that makes them sick. Patients with depression know what the future brings, and judging from their past experience, the prospects do not seem good to them.