The Difference Between Stress And Depression: Knowing The Facts

Sep 19th, 2011

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.

Difference Between Stress and Depression 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.

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11 Responses to “The Difference Between Stress And Depression: Knowing The Facts”

  1. On one hand, as what I have understand, I think stress can, sometimes, be useful for an individual to accomplish something more effectively. On the other hand, depression is useless as it does not do any good to an individual.
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  2. [...] management of these problems does not end with acquiring a knowledge about the difference between stress and depression, performing active participation, seeking support from other people, and compliance to management [...]

  3. annet says:

    stress is brought by fellow people where as depression is brought by the prevailing conditions.

  4. mr mukhtar says:

    I have how to manage and cure depression and stress so every one wants call me back

  5. Mr Jay says:

    Hi Edyta
    I thank you for the clear info; but what about if someone’s told by management that his/her shift in work place changes into unsuitable time, and that person looses interest whether sleeping or eating with constant worries,
    can it be the sing of stress or depression
    many thanks

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  7. I have been battling with depression for many years. For the past two weeks, it has been more intense than it has before. I feel useless, like no one wants to be around me, I don’t want to be around anyone, I sleep a lot, and I have considered suicide. I am trying so hard to shake it, but it just won’t go away. I had someone to tell me that maybe I need to get out and take a walk, but walking is not going to help this. I have my family and some friends who have been there for me, and I am grateful for them. Mind you, I said that I have considered suicide, but I really don’t want to go that far. And I don’t want to go completely nuts either. That is why I am seeking help. Before it gets that far, I want to get help!!

  8. […] The Difference Between Stress And Depression : … – Stress and depression have similarities, and one may often be mistaken for the other. Click here to discover what is the difference between stress and depression…. […]

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