Understanding Anxiety and Depression to Live Life to the Fullest

Understanding Anxiety and Depression to Live Life to the Fullest

23 March 2020 Expat life Health

Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorder. It can be occasional, but it can also quickly become pathological if it gets chronic. In most cases, it occurs after a stressful situation or an unexpected event generating fear, stress and anxiety. Depression is a different disorder, but the symptoms may coincide with those of anxiety.  Nowadays, there is still a stigma attached to mental disorders. By doing prevention and talking openly, we can break down these barriers!


Symptoms of anxiety

It is important to quickly identify what may be causing stress or worry in your environment. Symptoms negatively affect daily life when they last several weeks, months or even years (it is then considered as chronic). One should never feel ashamed to ask for help, it is actually recommended to do so. These feelings can have a direct impact on your relationships with others, or on how you behave with them. It is then necessary to take a step back enough to take control of the situation.

The signs of anxiety are usually:

– Hyperventilation, panic

– Sweating

– Tense

– Insomnia, sleep disturbances

– Difficulty concentrating

A distinction can be made between generalised anxiety and phobia or panic attacks. While generalised anxiety occurs in everyday life, phobia and panic attacks are caused by situations, objects or people.


Differences between anxiety and depression

Depression is very similar, but the symptoms are somewhat different. A very common sign is discouragement and loss of interest, depressed people no longer thrive in any activity, may lose their appetite, or the interest to be with their loved ones. Other symptoms can be:

– Pessimism

– Feeling of worthlessness

– Suicidal thoughts (of varying degrees)

– Insomnia

For example, people with anxiety tend to be more nervous, while people with depression tend to feel like they have lost all energy. Many depressed people are not diagnosed or aware of their condition. Keep an eye on those close to you and react if you detect persistent abnormal behaviour.


I recognise myself in these symptoms, what can I do?

It may take some time before one understands what is happening. If you have the slightest hesitation about visiting a specialist, keep in mind that these professionals are there to help you get back on track and calm your emotions. You can participate in talk therapy with a psychologist or try alternative methods. There are also self-help groups where you can meet other people in the same situation.


To conclude, the most important thing is to avoid by all means to isolate yourself from others. As an expat, you will, at one time or another, be confronted with situations of stress and anxiety. Do not worry! There are communities in every country that organise events or meetings. Expats often find each other quite easily as they share the same lifestyle and interests. It is a good idea to find people around you with whom you can share what worries you but also to spend quality time! Keeping an active and rich life is the key to feeling good about yourself.

Psychotherapy and psychiatric treatments are included in all of our plans, find out more about the covers on this page.

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