There is a misconception with many individuals that certain emotional reactions and anxiety reactions are related to stress rather than depression or vice versa. This leads to individuals trying to self-medicate and deal with an issue that may not be the problem. For example, an individual may purchase St. John's Wort or some other form of anti-anxiety or depression medication in order to combat the issues they are having. The problem is that it may not be a depression issue, it may actually be a stress issue where the St. John's Wort would not work.
In these instances, individuals may become frustrated and the issues may become increasingly high risk. The following are a few ways to learn how to identify the signs of depression versus stress and how to discuss these issues with your physician in order to maintain the proper balance or to begin a prescription regimen.
Increased Sleep Patterns
Many individuals who are facing depression instead of stress will have an increased sleep pattern. This increased sleep pattern is very noticeable and will begin to manifest over time. For example, an individual may be perfectly fine with five hours of sleep per night for years and then suddenly need to sleep 12 or more hours. They will find themselves unable to wake up due to an alarm clock going off or they may find themselves having increased amounts of trouble falling asleep, but unable to wake up once they have fallen asleep. These increased sleep patterns are generally connected to depression rather than a stressful issue.
Increased anxiety can be connected to either depression or stress. However, it is generally connected to a heightened level of stress in the environment. For individuals who are noticing an increased level of anxiety or emotional distress they should seek their doctor's professional opinion immediately. Increased anxiety can lead to several other hormonal issues and a hormonal imbalance. These are generally related to stress and can be managed with medicine or with proper meditation and calming techniques.
Unexplainable Pain and Aches
A key factor that would lead to a sign of depression is listed as unexplainable pains and aches. These unexplainable body pains and aches may feel like the flu and may feel like they are lasting for weeks instead of just a few days. This pain may first be misdiagnosed as the flu or misdiagnosed as a pulled muscle or some other issue that can be handled with over-the-counter pain medication. However, if the pain does not go away and the pain leads to ongoing aches and ongoing issues there could be a depression link. Individuals having unexplainable pains and aches that last more than a week should discuss these issues with their physician to determine if it is a depression related pain, fibromyalgia related or if there is a more serious issue.
If you have increased sleep patterns, insomnia, anxiety, emotional reactions, intense reactions to certain situations or unexplainable aches and pains it is advisable to go ahead and seek a professional physician's opinion in order to determine if it is depression, stress or some other issue.