What Is the Difference Between Stress and Depression

Even stress turns coal to diamond, but you apply too much pressure, and it might just break. Physical laws of stress, if anything, teach us that stress can be a useful factor in many aspects of life, but the wrong amount or prolonged exposure to stress can break it. So be it a rubber band or a human mind, priorities need to be regulated.

The difference between stress and depression is a fine line one that can be easily overstepped. This is major because the stress vs depression symptoms aren’t a lot versus. They overlap so much that differentiating between the two can be challenging.

What is the difference between Stress and Depression?

Stress is the temporary state of mind where you might feel discouraged, hyperactive or restless. Stress is a stimulant, a positive one, that is. The ability to handle it means that your body naturally craves for something, or your subconscious recognizes that something is missing before your conscious mind does. These are all signs that you might be in a stressful phase of life. This motivates you to make efforts in order to get rid of these feelings or pacify your anxiety. So if you’re feeling:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Unable to sleep
  • A lack of concentration
  • Disturbance in your eating habits
  • Forgetful
  • Irritable

Then there is a good chance that you’re stressed and you need to let it out. Stress is short-lived, but a prolonged phase of stressfulness could manifest into a much feral form of discomfort. The transition from anxiety to depression is almost undetectable, mainly because you’re so used to the feelings of gloominess and hopelessness that you seem to miss these signs and symptoms.

Stress is good, and all before it starts draining you. Such stress does not limit its effects to mental symptoms alone but physical and emotional as well. Due to the overlapping symptoms, depression takes you hostage even before you know it.

Unlike stress, depression is a mental health condition characterized by hopelessness and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. The disorder itself can be pretty curbing, but the personality disorders and the recurring episodes that accompany it make depression challenging to overcome by yourself. Although it may not be easy to fight off yourself, it is a highly treatable condition only if you know where to go for help and drugs and drinking is not one of them.

Depression victimizes about 17.3 million American adults, 18 years or older or 264 million adults worldwide, as stated by World Health Organization. Although the depression test may seem simple when you’re a victim of it, it’s hard to see clearly. A minimum of two weeks of the following symptoms indicates you’re depressed and that you need help.

  • Grappling feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Distancing people
  • Losing interest in hobbies and everyday activities
  • A completely disturbed eating schedule
  • Severe insomnia
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • A continuous feeling of guilt and low self-esteem
  • Drained from energy and motivation
  • Suicidal thoughts

The stress vs depression symptoms is a clear indication of the severity of either condition. Where stress can be a healthy stimulant, but depression is anything but advantageous. The most significant difference between stress and depression is that you can efficiently resolve stress with a change in events or a few simple destressing tips. The same cannot be said for depression. As easy it is to climb out of the pit of stress, people with depression can relate to the impossibility of doing this.

How to Overcome Stress and Depression

Considering that both conditions are peas of the same pod, there are similar ways to treat stress and depression. What differs is the degree of help and attention you need to give to your mental health. Cross out all the following activities that you have done during stressful moments or phases of depression. If not, then what are you waiting for?


Your mind is sinking and is in dire need of a boost. The endorphins and adrenaline that is produced during exercise energizes the mind and makes you feel alive.


Meditation is the best way to get your stress levels under control. It is a great activity to indulge in during depression as well. The feeling of being in control and at peace during meditation often clears your head.

A change in your lifestyle:

Sometimes it’s the stagnancy or the hopelessness of not achieving the aims that can stress you out. Make sure you learn something new. Did you want to play guitar? Was it gardening that always caught your attention? Do whatever makes you feel at peace and bring a change in your life.

Get in Touch With Your Loved Ones:

Although distancing your loved ones seems like a logical move so that you don’t affect them with your negativity, it is the opposite. The ones who care for you would look past everything to support and help you fight this. If anything, they can provide a warm embrace and keep you from falling apart.

Say no to Drugs and Alcohol:

As much as the idea entices you, steer clear from any substance abuse or drinking because the addiction alone is enough to drag you into an abyss of darkness. If you feel a conscious effort to stay away from it is too difficult, remove all alcoholic drinks from your home and cut off all access to either of the products.

Never Compromise your sleep:

Sleep is the first to take the hit. We often underestimate the strong link between sleep and mental health, which can further deteriorate your condition. Try as much as possible to maintain a healthy sleep routine. If you feel as if sleeping is hard, then tire yourself out to exhaustion or practice some sleeping exercises. In any case, sleeping pills should be your last resort.

Get Help:

Do not shy away from asking for help. Many victims of depression avoid asking for help in fear of being judged. In fact, the judgmental opinions are more of your contribution than any other. Normalize asking for assistance if need be. An expert can give the best insight into the therapies you might need and how you can overcome depression.

We’ve seen that the difference between stress and depression is a progression of one into another. With the right knowledge and exposure, both are treatable. Do not let your conditions cloud your reasoning, and best of all, never hesitate to ask for help.

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