On the surface, the difference between depression and anxiety can seem difficult to determine. Both conditions affect sufferers on a neurological and emotional level and those who suffer from these conditions may even report experiencing similar symptoms. However, the difference between depression and anxiety is clear when evaluated from a medical standpoint. The major difference between these two conditions is that anxiety is a normal human emotion that can be managed, while depression is a disease that must be treated.
It is possible to determine the difference between depression and anxiety in your own life by looking for a few symptoms. If you find yourself experiencing excessive sadness and lack of motivation for long periods of time, then you may be going through a depression. Depressed people are often lethargic due to fatigue and low mental energy. However, those suffering from a anxiety disorder tend to be more high strung, becoming excessively startled at the quietest of interruptions. Herein lies another major difference between depression and anxiety - one is marked by lethargy while the other is marked by excitability.
Ascertaining the difference between depression and anxiety boils down to accurately understanding each condition. As a mood disorder, depression is actually considered to be less serious than anxiety which is categorized as a psychiatric disorder. Keep in mind, though, that both conditions can be extremely serious and detrimental if untreated. Anyone who is plagued with depression for a period of six weeks or longer will need to be treated with medication because they're experiencing a mood disorder. Hence, we have another major difference between depression and anxiety - one is a mood disorder and the other is a psychiatric disorder.