The Difference Between Stress And Depression: Knowing The Facts
Although stress and depression have similarities, and one may often be mistaken for the other, the difference between stress and depression lies in the following:
- Nature and symptoms of each
- Purpose of each
- Causes of each
- Remedies of each
Here are the differences between stress and depression in terms of nature and symptoms.
Stress is physical, mental or emotional tension that results from everyday life. The body responds as if you are in danger, and produces hormones that make you feel more alert and more energized. This is called the “flight or fight” response. The hormones go back to normal levels when the “threat” is gone. Stress is normal and may even be healthy if it is only occasional. If it lasts for a long time though, it may lead to serious health problems such as peptic ulcers and heart disease. It may also lead to depression.
Depression, on the other hand is defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity. That is the first difference between stress and depression. While stress, at least initially, results in heightened activity, depression results in reduced activity. Another difference between stress and depression is that stress may only last for a short period, like a few minutes. Depression symptoms must last for most of the day, either daily or almost daily for two weeks, for the condition to be diagnosed as depression. Also, depression symptoms may include thoughts of death and suicide, which is not usually a symptom of stress.
As for purpose, the difference between stress and depression is that stress may actually be useful and healthy, giving the body that extra boost when hurrying to finish a race, save furniture in a fire or beat a deadline. On the other hand, depression has no use at all. It even interferes in a person’s ability to function at work or in relationships.
When it comes to what causes it, the difference between stress and depression is that stress is often caused by external stimuli such as personal problems, general health problems, and unusually busy schedule, the death of a parent and major life changes such as divorce, getting married or having children. Depression, on the other hand, is caused by changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine or noradrenalin. These changes may be caused by genetics, medications, hormonal changes, aging, brain injuries, seasonal changes and social circumstances.
Remedies: last difference between stress and depression
The last difference between stress and depression pertains to remedies for each condition. Most of the time, stress may be sufficiently remedied by lifestyle changes. Depression normally requires professional help and medication.
Knowing the difference between stress and depression may be vital to your mental health. It is important that you seek stress relief if you live a stressful lifestyle. On the other hand, if you suspect that you or your loved one is suffering from depression, do not hesitate to consult with a professional. That is the only way for you or your loved one to get the diagnosis and treatment that you need.