Difference Between Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Stress, Anxiety and Depression share similar symptoms like fatigue, digestive issues, aches and pains, decrease in sexual appetite, trouble sleeping and more.

It is logical for one to be confused about understanding the cause of the symptoms.


What is Stress, Anxiety and Depression ?

Stress is a response to a situation, known as a stressor. Every individual can experience different intensity of the stress. When we are stressed, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released. These hormones help us to deal with or stressors. However, in huge quantities these hormones are proven to be lethal for the body and mind.


Anxiety is one of the many responses to stressors, anxiety is a normal reaction. Which makes one alert and prepare to deal with problem. However, anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder is marked by prolonged feeling of nervousness without any plausible cause.


Depression is a mental health and mood disorder characterized by  persistent feelings of  sadness, emptiness and loss of interest in activities.


How to know the difference between stress and anxiety ?

As discussed stress and anxiety are response to stressors, incase of stress one would feel relaxed and comfortable in the absence of stressors.

In case, of anxiety disorder, the feelings of nervousness will be present even if stressor is absent.

Example: On weekend Mr A is very relaxed, but from to Friday he is alert and always worrying. Mr B is  worrying even on weekends, thinking about Monday.

In this case, Mr A is stressed , Mr B is developing anxiety disorder.


Both of these responses are necessary to thrive in life, however, is stress becomes anxiety and anxiety turns into anxiety disorder one must seek help.

If you relate with Mr. A, you must take stress management seriously. If you relate with Mr.B ,you must seek professional help & begin the necessary treatment.


How do we differentiate Depression?

Depression is easier to differentiate, depressive disorder symptoms include, loss of interest , suicidal urges, feeling of being worthless, guilt and sometimes just emptiness. 

If you can relate with these symptoms one must seek professional help immediately.

It is crucial to understand these difference, so that one can begin the accurate treatment for the same and develop coping mechanisms.


Anxiety and Depression can sometimes make it very difficult for an individual to function at all. One must know, it is not an individual’s fault that they feel the way they feel. If someone shows the signs of stress, anxiety and depression or other issues, we must be calm and compassionate and encourage them to take help.

One must eat good, meditate, do breathing exercises, take breaks and have hobbies to keep their physical and mental health in check. Encouraging talking about one’s feelings can help way more than one can imagine.