Do you ever feel confused and unsure as to what is stress, depression, and anxiety? What are the differences between the three or what are some common elements among them? Are you ever curious to know what exactly you are feeling?

Stress is any sort of change that causes strain. The strain can be physical, psychological, or emotional. Stress refers to how one reacts when they feel threatened or under pressure. It is the body’s way of responding to a situation that is perceived as difficult to manage or control. 

Depression is a fairly common mood disorder. It can be characterized as feelings of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, anger, or loss of self-esteem. The intense sadness or lack of interest persists for many days and weeks and hinders an individual’s functioning in their daily life.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry or distress extending from mild to very severe. Anxiety can lead to a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, or trembling. Individuals with anxiety disorders generally have recurring, unwanted thoughts. They may even attempt to avoid situations that trigger their anxiety.

Stress, anxiety and depression are emotions that everyone feels at some point in their life. All of them are common reactions to life’s challenges, from dealing with the death of a dear one, to moving to a new city all alone. On the surface, they look very similar, and that is mainly because even though they are different things, they are interrelated.

As mentioned, that all of them very similar, which is mainly due to the fact that they might display similar symptoms. A general bodily reaction to stress may include headaches, chest pain, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, skin rashes, loss of sleep, upset stomach, etc, which are also a few symptoms people experience when having anxiety or even depression.  

Stress is a response to threatening situations or daily pressures, while anxiety is a reaction to this stress. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to anxiety and even depression. One can feel anxious or depressed due to the results of being under stress for a long time. 

Anxiety and depression are even more similar and interrelated. If you often feel anxious or depressed for no apparent reason, you may have an anxiety disorder, depression, or both. It is actually very common for someone to suffer from both conditions at the same time. In fact, just about half of those diagnosed with anxiety disorder are also diagnosed with depression.

Depression and anxiety are serious but treatable illnesses. The same medications are used to deal with symptoms of both the conditions. The two also share similar symptoms, like irritability, insomnia nervousness, and problems concentrating, and can have similar triggers as well. However, we should keep in mind that they are all different.


Stress : Headaches, feeling overwhelmed, chest pain, heart palpitations, loss of sleep.

Anxiety : Fear, attacks without clear trigger, constant anxiousness or worry, increased alertness, obsessive thoughts.

Depression : Sadness, lack of motivation, hopelessness, loss of interest, anger, low energy, feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks and personal interactions, suicidal thoughts.

Similar symptoms:

Rapid heart rate and rapid breathing.

Insomnia, irritability, nervousness and problems concentrating.

Changes in Eating habits, decreased sex drive, fatigue, irritability and restlessness.


Reduces when stressors are removed. Chronic stress can accelerate into anxiety or depression. 

Reduced ability to work, low productivity, maintain relationships and socialize.

If symptoms last longer than two weeks, interfere with daily activities, willingness to do work or socialize.

Prolonged exposure:

Chronic Stress, Stress induced eating disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Extreme clinical depression

Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.


MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.

About the Author.

Dr. Prerna Kohli, is an eminent psychologist, a published author, a four-time gold medalist, an awardee by the President of India for her contributions to Mental Health, and the founder of You can learn more about her by clicking here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the Founders, or management team.

Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.


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