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Depression and anxiety

How to tell if you have depression or anxiety

Everyone has periods of low mood. Sometimes this can be because of a particular event, eg a break up.

Usually low mood gets better on its own after a short time. If it doesn’t, this could be a sign of depression or anxiety.

Symptoms of depression

When you’re depressed you often have the symptoms for weeks. They can be so bad they start to affect your daily life, eg your work, your family and social life.

The symptoms of depression can be complex but they often include:

  • feeling low and sad all the time
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • feeling anxious and worried
  • low self-esteem
  • feeling like you want to cry
  • being easily irritated

It can affect your body, too:

  • problems getting to sleep or sleeping too much
  • not feeling hungry or eating too much
  • unexplained physical symptoms, eg aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • no interest in sex
  • headaches that don’t go away or keep coming back

Answer these quick questions to help you assess whether you could have depression.

Symptoms of anxiety

If you feel anxious all the time and the feeling isn’t about one specific thing you might have anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feeling restless
  • worrying that things will go wrong
  • being on edge
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling irritated
  • avoiding going out or seeing people

Your body can also change and you might notice these symptoms:

  • feeling dizzy
  • problems sleeping or constant tiredness
  • racing heartbeat
  • trembling or shaking
  • headache
  • stomach ache or feeling sick

What to do next

If you think you have depression and anxiety, you should seek help as soon as possible.