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Anxiety vs Depression: The Difference + Treatment Options

speciality medications

January 16, 2023
Anxiety vs. depression

Anxiety vs. depression: How are they different?

Does one cause the other? Can you have both?

And (most importantly) how do you treat anxiety and depression with low-cost mental health medications as effectively and simply as possible?

We’ll get right into it – here’s a comprehensive guide to anxiety and depression’s relationship, your treatment options (from Lexapro to Effexor XR), and more.

Anxiety vs. Depression: What’s the Difference?

Let’s start with some helpful definitions.

What is Anxiety?

People who struggle with clinical anxiety experience excessive worries, constant fear, persistent intrusive thoughts – or all of the above.

It differs from stress in both intensity and duration. While people who are experiencing stress may worry, those who deal with chronic anxiety will likely have difficulty functioning normally, even if they are not experiencing life events that others might consider stressful.

People with anxiety often struggle to perform at school or work, sleep or eat consistently, or enjoy routine activities in their day-to-day lives.

Sometimes anxiety is treatable without medication. For example, some patients experience peace and more reliable thought patterns through therapy or counseling.

Other times, people require antidepressant medication to help balance their brain’s chemistry and treat their anxiety.

What is Depression?

Clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, is a severe medical illness that can affect how a patient feels, thinks, and acts.

Much like clinical anxiety is very different from simply “being stressed”, clinical depression is far from simply “being sad.”

Depression can cause fundamental changes in a person’s brain, and it’s very hard or even impossible for someone suffering from depression to overcome the disorder without significant help from a professional or effective medication.

The symptoms of clinical depression may vary from person to person. Common symptoms include a loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and intense fatigue (or insomnia, or both).

Anxiety vs. depression

Anxiety vs. Depression: What’s the Difference?

Since, for some people, there can be an overlap in etiology or symptoms between anxiety and depression, it may help to distinguish between the two explicitly.

While anxiety and depression may be rooted in similar biology, such as levels of brain chemicals like epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, they usually present in distinct (if subtle) ways.

For example, patients suffering from anxiety tend to:

  • Worry or stress about the future
  • Experience racing, uncontrollable, or intrusive thoughts
  • Avoid situations if they know that they will trigger anxiety
  • Perceive dangers as unreasonably heightened risks

Whereas patients suffering from depression may:

  • Feel hopeless, either about a particular situation or life in general
  • Stop trying (again, either specifically or generally) because of perceived worthlessness
  • Wonder if their life is worth continuing

If you or a loved one is experiencing distress related to your mental health, in America, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text 741741 to chat with a counselor at the Crisis Text Line.

Now, while anxiety and depression are distinct, many people struggle with both disorders – concurrently or one after the other. This leads many to wonder if one causes the other.

To shed some light on the anxiety and depression relationship, we’ll briefly tackle the causality of these conditions next.

Does Anxiety Cause Depression?

Anxiety rarely causes depression if the anxiety is temporary or mild. However, those who struggle with chronic, recurring, or severe anxiety may find that their symptoms lead to depression.


Consider the symptoms of anxiety again. Patients with severe anxiety often cannot pursue previously enjoyed activities because those activities trigger excessive stress. As a result, they may not be able to invest in their relationships or leave their home.

This can feel very lonely or even isolating. Some people with anxiety may perceive themselves as weak or useless because of their lack of ability to accomplish previous levels of productivity, or offer their community support regularly.

Patients with chronic anxiety may eventually feel depleted, tired, and scared on a regular basis – which can certainly lead to a depressed mood or even the development of major depressive disorder.

Does Depression Cause Anxiety?

Depression can cause anxiety. For example, if someone is struggling with depression and that causes them to worry about their symptoms, that can quickly spiral into consistent anxious or triggering thought patterns.

Or, as depression and anxiety share some neurochemical imbalances, it’s easy for a patient to develop depression, then anxiety.

In this situation, having depression may have laid the biological groundwork for anxiety, even if there were no more apparent links between the two disorders.

So – to sum up: Does anxiety cause depression? Does depression cause anxiety? Unhelpfully, the answer is “maybe, sometimes.”

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or both disorders, it may be helpful to concentrate on ways to reduce your symptoms first, before you spend energy determining the etiology of your condition.

Anxiety vs. depression

ADHD vs. Depression and Anxiety

Before we discuss treatment options for anxiety and depression, let’s briefly talk about a third disorder, one often grouped with both anxiety and depression.

ADHD, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, shares some symptoms with anxiety and depression. The relationship between all three of these challenging disorders can be blurry.

People who have ADHD tend to exhibit overly active behaviors or have trouble focusing. However, it can be a lot more complicated than that – and many people with ADHD have major depression or anxiety disorder, too.

If you’re experiencing consistent restlessness, irritability, or lack of focus, you may have ADHD – or you might have anxiety or depression that’s triggering those symptoms. In any case, it’s best to speak with a doctor, take mental health assessments, pursue therapy or counseling, and (if recommended by a professional) think about the proper medication for you.

Anxiety vs. Depression: A Guide to Specific Symptoms

Now that we’ve talked about what anxiety and depression are, let’s discuss some of the specific reasons people might pursue treatment. These are some of the specific symptoms that might cause people to think about therapy or medication:

Depression Panic Attacks

Both anxiety and depression can trigger panic attacks. Panic attacks involve the sudden onset of visceral, inescapable fear. People experiencing panic attacks often describe the sensation as “coming out of nowhere” and “escalating from 0-10 in minutes.”

Panic attacks often exhibit physical symptoms, such as choking sensations, chest pains, shortness of breath, shaking, and sweating.

These attacks are jarring (to say the least!) and can be very dangerous, as the person experiencing them has no control over when they happen or how long they last.

Sometimes, people mistake panic attacks for heart attacks, too, and head to the emergency room, convinced that they’re in a life-threatening situation.

Anxiety Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are disturbing, scary, or triggering images or thoughts that pop into your head seemingly at random. These thoughts can make you feel odd or scared.

Many people with anxiety or depression get them, but people without any mental health disorders may experience them from time to time as well.

It’s key to realize that while intrusive thoughts are unsettling, the content of the thought is not rational. The more a person suffering from intrusive thoughts tries to figure out what they “mean” or push the thought away, the more the intrusive thought harms their mental health.

Treating anxiety or depression through therapy or prescription medicines can reduce the recurrence of unpleasant, painful, or scary intrusive thoughts.

Insomnia Due to Anxiety or Depression

Often, people with either anxiety or depression (or both) experience restless sleep – or wake up several times during the middle of the night. When this happens constantly and begins to interfere with a person’s everyday routines and quality of life, this is called insomnia.

Living with insomnia can be very difficult. Going without sleep can be dangerous, as sleep is required to maintain most physiological systems. (Not to mention that completing routine activities like driving while extremely tired can be deadly.)

Insomnia can also cause anxiety and depression, or worsen existing cases.

Your doctor may be able to recommend sleep-inducing treatments, treatments to soothe or still racing thoughts so sleep comes more easily, or both.

Anxiety vs. depression

Anxiety vs. Depression: What are the Best Treatment Options?

Some people respond well to therapy or natural antidepressants, but for others, medication is the best way forward.

Here, you’ll find a guide to the most popular prescription medication treatment options available through

Cymbalta for Anxiety and Depression

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is an SNRI, or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It helps increase serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain – two neurotransmitters vital for mental balance and happiness.

In America, 30 capsules of Cymbalta, or one month’s supply, is priced at about $300.00 ($10.00 per pill). That can add up quickly! Through an international or Canada pharmacy site such as, you could instead buy a four-week supply of Cymbalta for around $90.00 ($3.20 per pill) – up to 68% savings.

Effexor XR for Anxiety and Depression

Effexor (venlafaxine XR) can help patients manage their anxiety and depression by balancing brain levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, much like Cymbalta. Effexor may provide better results for those suffering from panic attacks, whereas Cymbalta can help more with nerve pain.

American patients pay $520.00 for a 30-day supply of Effexor XR (just over $17.00 per pill). At, you can buy 84 pills of Effexor for around $120.00, or $1.40 per pill – up to 90% savings.

Lexapro for Anxiety and Depression

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) is an SSRI, or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. As opposed to Cymbalta and Effexor XR, Lexapro only regulates brain levels of serotonin.

Therefore, for patients whose norepinephrine levels are balanced, Lexapro may provide more targeted support.

In the USA, the average retail price for brand-name Lexapro is around $440.00 for a 30-day supply, or around $14.50 per pill. Through’s international and Canadian drugs site, you can purchase the same amount of Lexapro for approximately $50.00, or around $1.60 per pill – up to 88% savings.

Wellbutrin XL for Anxiety and Depression

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a common antidepressant that works by rebalancing a patient’s brain chemistry. Wellbutrin can be a more affordable alternative for many people, and the XL version of the drug is extended-release.

This slowly releases the drug into a person’s bloodstream over the day – allowing for more sustained benefits and potentially lower side effects.

American patients pay a very steep price for Wellbutrin XL. Depending on the availability, Wellbutrin XL costs can skyrocket as high as $1,770 for a 30-day supply. (That’s almost $60.00 per pill!)

Through, you can buy Wellbutrin XL for $1.40 per pill in a 90-day supply for around $130.00 – for incredible savings.

Prozac for Anxiety and Depression

Prozac (fluoxetine) is an SSRI, much like Lexapro. Prozac comes in a few different forms, making it a good option for people who prefer liquid medications to pills or weekly doses to daily ones.

In America, Prozac retails for around $570.00 for a one-month supply, or approximately $19.00 per pill.) Through, Americans can ship Prozac across the border for much less – about $3.15 per pill, or up to 83% in savings.

Anxiety vs. depression

Wondering How to Treat Anxiety vs. Depression? Start Here

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression (or both), managing your care can be a struggle, too.

Just think about all of the steps you have to take when filling out a typical prescription: You’ve got to figure out where your doctor’s sent your prescription, get dressed, hop in the car, fight through traffic, and chat with an in-person pharmacy tech before you get your medications.

(And all of that happens before you realize how expensive your American prescription costs are.)

For many people with depression or anxiety, that’s simply too much. We agree. That’s why, through, American patients dealing with anxiety or depression or any mental health condition can order their prescriptions straight from Canada or internationally to their front door – in just a couple of clicks.

Here’s how it works:

  • Have your doctor send your prescription directly to an international or online Canadian pharmacy.
  • Reach out to our seven-day-a-week customer service team with any questions. If you’d like to ask our pharmacists about your prescription, you can do that by calling, our toll-free number too – the number is 1-866-539-5330.
  • Then, order your medications. Here, you’ll always find low costs and easy processes, so we offer three different ways to order your medications: By phone, online, or by regular mail.

If you’d like to learn more about before ordering, check out our online pharmacy reviews. We’re very proud of our consistently high ratings which have made us the most independently reviewed and five star-rated online pharmacy in the world!

Call our team today if we can help you with anything. We look forward to supporting your healthcare journey!

The information provided on the website is intended to facilitate awareness about healthcare products and medical conditions generally but it is not a substitute for professional medical attention or advice. You should always speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any prescription or non-prescription drug.
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