While those suffering from anxiety often also have some form of depression, and those diagnosed with depression often experience a certain amount of anxiety, they are not the same thing. Below, we explain the difference and provide you with some insight into recognising anxiety, as well as how to cope with it.
What is the difference between depression and anxiety?
When someone has depression, they will struggle with feeling down, often have a lack of energy, and experience a lack of interest in taking part in activities and daily tasks in general. Depression is also commonly associated with suicidal thoughts and ideations.
Anxiety, on the other hand, involves feeling overly stimulated, restless, irritable, and overcome with stress and worry.
While there are notable differences between the two, there are also several similarities. Those with either anxiety or depression (or both) will usually experience sleep disturbances. Insomnia is common, but so is hypersomnia, which basically refers to the inability to stay awake during the day. Another known similarity is having trouble concentrating.
Do I have anxiety?
It is estimated that around one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety. This number is certain to have soared in relation to the lockdown restrictions and the many concerns brought about by COVID-19. If you suspect that you have been affected, be sure to look out for the following symptoms:
- High levels of worry and stress
- Inability to fall asleep or waking up multiple times throughout the night
- Inability to concentrate
- Obsessive, repetitive behaviours
How can I cope with lockdown anxiety?
The best course of action is to find a productive outlet for stress. This could mean taking a leisurely walk with your dog every morning, trying your hand at meditation, or getting creative with a new craft or hobby. If, despite your best efforts, you find that you are still plagued with worries and other symptoms of anxiety, it could help to chat to your doctor or another medical health professional for advice.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group is another excellent resource to consult. You can get hold of them via their mental health line: 011 234 4837.