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The Difference Between Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Photo by Masha Raymers from Pexels



Stress is the body’s way of responding to demands and threats. A largely unconscious and automatic process, stress in small doses typically helps us stay focused, alert, and energetic in the face of pressure and challenges. However, beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major health and mood damage instead.  studies have shown that more than 40% of the population suffers from excessive levels of stress.

People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. Stress and anxiety may seem similar, but they’re not the same. The difference? Stress is a response to daily pressures or a threatening situation, while anxiety is a reaction to stress. Anxiety, which has no clear cause, tends to last longer and be more difficult to treat. 

Stress affects a lot of people and can influence your health.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Skin rashes
  • Loss of sleep

Stress typically goes away when the stressors disappear. However, chronic stress can escalate into anxiety or depression, so it’s important to take steps to reduce or eliminate stress whenever possible. 




Depression is an affective state characterized by sadness, hopelessness, and the loss of interest in everyday activities. Depressive states typically slant the way a person feels about life in general, causing them to perceive whatever happens in their life in an excessively negative light. Depressive states may thus lead to an outlook characterized by hopelessness, helplessness, and a loss of the sense of meaning in one’s life.

When you’re depressed, it affects just about everything in your life — how you think, feel, behave, and function.

You may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Discouragement
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness 
  • Anger
  • Lack of motivation or interest in life in general
  • Low energy level
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks and personal interactions

If these feelings last longer than two weeks and interfere with daily activities like spending time with friends, caring for your family, or going to work, most likely you’re experiencing a major depressive episode. 




Anxiety is the state of excessive worry over the potential negative outcomes of unknown situations. Though typically experienced as an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, anxiety is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweaty palms, irregular heartbeat, and headaches.

People who suffer from high levels of anxiety typically report feeling unfocused and liable to overreact to even everyday setbacks. While it is normal to experience some measure of anxiety in relation to challenging situations, high levels of anxiety may lead to panic attacks and other mood disorders. Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don't go away even in the absence of a stressor.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience:

  • Fear, panic, or anxiety in situations where most people would not feel anxious or threatened
  • A constant nagging worry or anxiousness
  • Sudden panic or anxiety attacks without any clear trigger

Untreated, these disorders can limit your ability to work, maintain relationships or even leave the house. 


Kiara 12.08.2021 0 98
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