Difference between stress and depression

Difference between stress and depression – A complete guide to understanding the difference between these two emotional states

In this guide, we will analyze the difference between stress and depression, and how to deal with both

Difference between stress and depression

People are living very fast times, and this speed can affect their physical and mental health in many cases.

Various situations can lead to a person developing states of stress and depressive disorders.

Each person reacts differently according to the situation they experience, but it is important not to diagnose or mistakenly confuse a depressive disorder with other emotional states.

Stress and depression have been very present in the world population.

The World Health Organization states that by 2020, depression will be the cause of disability number 1.

There are many factors by which a person can become depressed, one of these stressors who have remained for a longer period than what stress lasts itself.

While it is true that there are people who have developed depression due to a situation that causes stress, and that stress can be a minor symptom of depression, both should not be confused.

Stress and depression, although having similar symptoms, are different, manifest themselves differently in the forms and their treatment is not the same, although similar in some cases.

One of the first difference between stress and depression is the manifestation of symptoms.

Some of the symptoms that stress presents are: problems sleeping; memory problems; feeling nervous or anxious; feeling exhausted from study or school work; feel overwhelmed; feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated. Among the symptoms of depression are: feeling sad and hopeless; lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation; being restless, agitated and irritable; memory problems; feeling bad about itself or feeling guilty; anger and rage; feeling that cannot overcome the adversities of life; problems to function in aspects of its personal life and thoughts of suicide.

In this aspect, the difference between stress and depression is that the symptoms of stress are related to exhaustion and fatigue, where the person feels overwhelmed by things it has to do; while, in depression, the person is invaded by a deep feeling of sadness and depression, where this does not allow the person to execute its daily activities.

Another difference between stress and depression is durability and how it affects the person.

Stress, in low doses, is positive for the person since it works as a state of alertness and causes the person to keep working or identify a situation that could be dangerous.

As for its durability, if a situation that causes stress to a person lasts a few months, it can have negative effects on the person’s health.

In the case of depression, depending on the subtypes, it can last from weeks to months.

While it is true that in both conditions the durability may be similar, the difference between stress and depression in terms of how long the symptoms last in the person is that the symptoms of depression are usually stronger than the symptoms of stress.

That is to say, it is not that a person suffers if it lasts several months with stress, but the person who has depression, the symptoms over time get worse and also affect negatively, taking it to the point of committing suicide, while in stress the person does not It tends to generate this kind of thoughts.

Among other difference between stress and depression is how someone who wants to help someone who suffers from these disorders, is receptive to help.

A person who has depression sees everything in a sad and grey way and has little hope about life and believes that no one can help in its condition and in some cases, it refuses to receive help.

A person with stress, although a specific situation can cause frustration, may be more open to listening and receiving help.

Also, another difference between stress and depression is the type of treatment a person receives to decrease and eliminate the symptoms of the disorders.

In stress, the person is taught to discover the situation or the stressor, and they are given techniques to deal with it.

Performing exercises and a good diet is part of it. In the case of depression, cognitive behavioural therapy works very well for certain cases of depression and depending on the subtype of depression the use of antidepressants is necessary.

That is, a difference between stress and depression is that the treatment of you is accompanied by changing certain situations that cause stress and that the person relaxes a while, in depression, an intervention involving aspects of psychological and pharmacological therapy.

What is stress?

Stress is the way the body responds to a situation that creates tension or some pressure.

Stress works as a state of alert to the body and in many cases, it is beneficial because it helps the person to detect a possible danger or helps motivate them to do a better job depending on the situation.

Stress becomes negative when it interferes with life in a way that does not allow the person to carry out their daily activities.

The person with high levels of stress can be blocked and does not perform well.

The person with a high level of stress lives in constant concern that things are not going to go well and in the end do not perform the proposed.

Some of the most common symptoms of stress are:

What is depression?

Depression is a mental disorder that seriously affects the physical and emotional well-being of a person.

A person with depression has a deep sadness and a sense of hopelessness.

Nothing motivates it and sees everything negatively.

The person who has depression tends to develop suicidal thoughts and acts.

Depression has multifactorial causes.

Those who are in an environment where the father or mother has or had depression has a greater tendency to develop.

How the person face the circumstances of life can cause the person to develop depression.

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Low mood for most of the day
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hate and worthlessness
  • Inactivity of activities he used to do
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Loss of pleasure in activities that were previously to like the person

Which is more serious, stress or depression?

There are a few difference between stress and depression.

As mental illnesses negatively affect the body and citing one worse than another could mean in one aspect that the other is downplayed.

A person suffering from stress, at the moment that this begins to affect its life negatively, the person should receive help to be able to reduce stress levels and lead a better life.

In the case of depression, at the time when a person begins to manifest the symptoms of the disease, appropriate intervention is necessary for their speedy recovery.

Some of the difference between stress and depression were cited previously, being these keys to understand and learn to differentiate at the time the symptoms occur.

If it were necessary to mention which one would be more serious, in this case, the depression because the symptoms are more marked in the person.

Also, a person at risk of suicide is an alert call to take action.

As mental illnesses that affect the well-being and development of the person, it is necessary to know the symptoms to identify at what time a person may be faced with a situation that causes stress or the visibility of the first symptoms of depression.

For a person to reduce stress levels it is important that it relaxes and learns to deal with the situation that causes it stress.

Many times thoughts can generate more stress than the situation itself.

In the case of depression, when a person is around someone who shows possible symptoms of depression, they must play a supportive role and motivate the person to seek help.

FAQs difference between stress and depression

Can a person take antidepressants if they suffer from stress?

It is not correct for a person suffering from stress to take medication for depression.

Antidepressants have side effects that can be serious for a person’s health.

Also, at the time of a person taking antidepressants, the person must have a diagnosis of depression.

Can a person with stress suffer from depression?

Chronic stress can lead to a person suffering from depression because if the symptoms get worse, it can alter the person’s moods and possibly develop depression.

Should a person who does not control their stress levels visit a health professional?

If the person cannot control the levels of stress it presents, it is better to resort to seeking help from a mental health professional.

The professional will help the person by giving techniques to face the situation that causes stress.

What happens if a person has depression for a long period?

A person with depression for a long period may suffer consequences not only mentally but physically.

Depression can cause the person to develop physical illnesses and potentiate mental disorders.

How do high-stress levels affect the body?

Stress contributes to the development of physical diseases such as heart problems, skin problems, menstrual disorders, myopia, muscle tears and mental illnesses such as anxiety.


Both stress and depression can negatively affect the physical and mental health of the person, although they have their differences.

Some of the differences between stress and depression are the way it affects the mood of the person.

While stress causes the person to dive into worry and anxiety, depression leads them to plunge into deep sadness and hopelessness.

Knowing the difference between stress and depression helps to give a more accurate diagnosis when a person experiences symptoms and can receive the most appropriate treatment.

  1. Stress and Depression (Emotional Health Issues)
  2. Stress, Anxiety, Depression (A practical workbook)

Lifting The Lid On Stress, Anxiety and Depression

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