Do you find yourself feeling nervous, overwhelmed, and worried for extended periods of time? This is a common symptom of anxiety. Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million American adults, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S.
But, anxiety symptoms often look similar to symptoms of stress. It’s important to know whether you’re experiencing stress or suffering from an anxiety disorder to determine your best plan of treatment. For more on the difference between anxiety and stress, read on for more information.
1. What Is Anxiety?
You may be wondering, “What is considered anxiety and what causes it?” There are many different kinds of anxiety, like Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Social Anxiety. Anxiety can look different for everyone.
Anxiety is an intense, excessive, and persistent worry about everyday tasks. Many people may experience symptoms like heart racing, lightheadedness, mood swings, and fatigue. Often times, anxiety can arise with no clear reason why.
Even if there is no obvious reason to feel anxious, anxiety can persist for hours or days on end. For many people who experience anxiety, obtaining a psychological assessment is beneficial. This can help determine which type of anxiety you have and how to treat it.
2. What Is Stress?
While anxiety and stress may seem similar on the surface, there is a fine line between these two emotional responses. Like anxiety, there are several different kinds of stress like acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. The factors for what causes stress look different for everyone.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that can arise from situations that cause anger or frustration. While anxiety can seemingly arise out of nowhere, stress often arises from a specific occurrence. Examples may include experiencing a tight work deadline, an unexpected accident, or a long list of responsibilities.
Everyone experiences some form of stress in their lifetime. While common symptoms of stress aren’t characterized by a mental illness, therapists can help you find ways to manage and cope with it.
3. Determining the Difference Between Anxiety and Stress
Although you may know some factors for anxiety and stress, there are several ways to pinpoint what you’re experiencing. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or nervous, try to remember these differences.
While stress can often arise from work and responsibilities, anxiety often arises from other unseen factors. Although some people can turn stress into productivity, reactions to anxiety often look different. In severe cases, anxiety can leave some people unable to manage simple tasks like walking, eating, and even breathing.
For many, anxiety causes fear or worry over situations that aren’t a current reality. If you find yourself feeling nervous about a work deadline or busy day, you could be experiencing stress. If you have no clear reasons as to why you’re feeling overwhelmed or nervous for extended periods of time, you may be experiencing anxiety.
Before self-diagnosing, considering seeing a licensed therapist to discuss symptoms.
Visit a Therapist Today
The difference between anxiety and stress isn’t always clear for everyone. It’s important to understand your unique triggers, symptoms, and coping mechanisms. By seeing a therapist, you can gain control over your anxiety or stress for a more productive and happy life.
Our experienced clinical psychologists and therapists provide therapy & counseling in San Jose, Campbell, Santa Clara, California.
We now offer online therapy sessions for the comfort of our clients.
Interested in a free 15-minute initial consultation? Schedule here!