Reading the Signs of Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder aren't always easy to spot — many people live with them for years without even knowing it. To see why, have a look at some of the symptoms shared by both conditions:

  • feeling tired or having little energy most of the day, every day
  • changes in your sleeping pattern (e.g. having a lot of trouble falling/staying asleep)
  • having trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • feeling agitated or irritable nearly every day

While these symptoms overlap the two, depression and generalized anxiety disorder do have some classic symptoms that differ.

In depression, these include:

  • feeling sad or down most of the day, every day for weeks or months
  • loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, including sex
  • appetite/weight change
  • significant feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide

In generalized anxiety disorder, these include:

  • overwhelming worry more days than not for at least 6 months
  • feeling restless or "on edge"
  • muscle tension

It's important to remember that what makes these symptoms different from ordinary experience is 1) they're lasting; 2) they cause you significant distress; and 3) they're interfering with your life and happiness. If you think you may have depression or generalized anxiety disorder, it's also important to remember that the earlier you share your feelings with your doctor, the closer you get to peace of mind. Reading through the "3 Key Truths about Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder" is a great first step.