Anxiety I Thought I Was Just Stressed
Stress and anxiety are related, but not synonymous states. Both are normal, adaptive responses to lifes challenges work, relationships, mortality, to name just a few and share many symptoms, including worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, or all of the above.
For these reasons and more, we often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
If Youre Up For It Go For A Walk Around The Block
Research suggests exercise can be an effective treatment for depression because its a natural mood booster and releases feel-good hormones. However, for some people, exercise or a gym can trigger anxiety and fear. If thats the case for you, look for more natural ways to move, such as walking around your neighborhood or looking for an online exercise video you can do at home.
Symptoms Of Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety both have a wide range of psychological, physiological, and physical symptoms. Some of them like rapid breathing, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, and an inability to relax overlap and can be present in both conditions.
Its important to understand that both stress and anxiety are natural human responses that have a purpose. They warn us about danger or try to keep us safe. A major difference, however, is that stress is typically a short-term response to a recognized threat. Anxiety is more enduring, and it can sometimes be difficult to discern whats causing it.
Stress and anxiety only become problematic when theyre chronic or excessively intense. In reality, they can be beneficial to our health and well-being when experienced in small doses over short periods.
Lets examine some of the symptoms of stress vs anxiety separately.
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Managing Everyday Stress And Anxiety
Certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. These techniques can be used along with medical treatments for anxiety. Techniques to reduce stress and anxiety include:
- eating a balanced, healthy diet
- limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption
- getting enough sleep
- keeping a diary of your feelings
- practicing deep breathing
- recognizing the factors that trigger your stress
- talking to a friend
Be mindful if you tend to use substances like alcohol or drugs as ways to cope with stress and anxiety. This can lead to serious substance abuse issues that can make stress and anxiety worse.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Disorder
Signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Extreme fear or worry
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal problems
Other types of anxiety disorders may have slightly different signs and symptoms, and different types of triggers and behaviors. You may have an anxiety disorder if your symptoms make it difficult to carry out daily activities, cause you to avoid opportunities, or simply feel intolerable.
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Why Do I Care
Its important to find out the difference as there are different ways to overcome them. They are triggered by different things and there are it varies in how to attack them.
Working with stress, you need to pay attention to external factors. How can you prioritize? Is there something you can delegate? Do you need to work on saying No?
Working with anxiety, you need to pay attention to internal thoughts. Is this real? What else can be true? What values are missing or not being honored from your life that you can work on adding back in? Are there triggers for this?
Once you know which one you have, you can more accurately and efficiently squash them from your life.
Its important to say that stress and anxiousness are part of the human psyche. What you will squash is the debilitating part of the stress and anxiety. Youll be able to take control back and feel better AND look better.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
To diagnose anxiety disorders, your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You may also have a physical exam and lab tests to make sure that a different health problem is not the cause of your symptoms.
If you don’t have another health problem, you will get a psychological evaluation. Your provider may do it, or you may be referred to a mental health professional to get one.
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What Is Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that may occur within one month after experiencing a traumatic event. ASD can last anywhere between 3 days and 1 month. It differs from posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD, but causes symptoms also seen in people with PTSD, such as dissociative symptoms, reexperiencing the traumatic events, and avoidance.
Coping With Stress And Anxiety
Learning what causes or triggers your stress and what coping techniques work for you can help reduce your anxiety and improve your daily life. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for you. Here are some activities you can try when you start to feel overwhelmed:
- Keep a journal.
- Exercise, and make sure you are eating healthy, regular meals.
- Stick to a sleep routine, and make sure you are getting enough sleep.
- Avoid drinking excess caffeine such as soft drinks or coffee.
- Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
- Reach out to your friends or family members who help you cope in a positive way.
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Where Overreaction Comes From Differences
Breaking it down a bit more, anxiety is all in your head. I mean, its real, but its thoughts of fear/worry in your head. You overreact to your thoughts. For example, distress or fear of what MAY happen.
Stress is all external pressures. Again, its real, but its outside stimuli that you overreact to. For example, looming deadlines or a to-do list of 99 problems.
Stress often ends once you complete the stressors, such as a wedding, ending a bad relationship, or getting the hang of a new job. Anxiety doesnt really end, it stays around long after its expected to go home and your problem is resolved.
I Think I Have An Anxiety Disorder What Should I Do
If you think you could have an anxiety disorder, the most important thing is to speak to a mental health professional â whether itâs your primary care physician, a therapist in your area, or even an online resource. You cannot diagnose yourself with an anxiety disorder only a professional can do this.
Your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments. It is very likely that they will encourage you to engage in some form of psychotherapy â most likely cognitive behavioral therapy. They may also prescribe medication, such as antidepressants, to help lessen the symptoms of anxiety. These interventions will help you to manage your anxiety so that it does not interfere as strongly with your life.
In addition to medication, there are many non-invasive treatments for anxiety that have been found to be highly effective. One such treatment is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS. TMS helps to activate the parts of your brain that can help improve your mood and alleviate your symptoms. Some anxiety patients have experienced full remission as a result of TMS therapy.
Experiencing periods of stress is normal. In fact, it can even be healthy and a positive force in your life, in moderation. But it can also be incredibly difficult to deal with, interfering with your mental, physical, emotional, and social health.
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Now That You Know The Differences
A person with a lot of stress can develop debilitating anxiety. A person with anxiety can develop excessive stress. Overcoming one could help overcome the other.
Keep on mind, its possible to live a life where stress and anxiety are GOOD for the system. To me, that is the goal of where to be. What do you think?
But right now right now we need to buckle down and fix this.
You, me, our friends, heck the World, has endless tasks to complete. Everyone at one time or another experiences the external and internal pressures of completing a job well done. Its hard to breathe easily and have calm in our lives when working long hours, keeping up with social obligations, our kids schedules, and constantly having bad news delivered on TV, social media, and our phones.
There are ways to fix this. Understanding the difference between the two will help you to figure out the best actions to take to reduce your stress or anxiety. A win for everyone. With this, youll have a higher quality of life.
It doesnt have to take over your life. It doesnt have to steal your happiness. It doesnt have to harm you or others.
Bonus, overcoming them will also help you look, feel, and be more youthful.
Please share this post with your circle of family and friends to help others feel and look better.
What Does It Mean To Be Anxious
Although anxiety is often an unpleasant feeling, its actually a healthy response to certain triggers.
There are many situations that come up in everyday life when it is appropriate and reasonable to react with some anxiety, says Edmund Bourne, PhD, a former director of the Anxiety Treatment Center in San Jose and Santa Rosa, California, and the author of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.
Thats because anxiety as in day-to-day worrying about say, crossing a busy street or about a persistent toothache helps keep us safe. Its also a natural response to stressors. As Dr. Bourne explains, If you didnt feel anxiety in response to everyday challenges involving personal loss or failure, something would be wrong.
Normal anxiety is proportionally related to a specific situation or problem and lasts only as long as the situation or problem does, says Sarah Gundle, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City and a teacher at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. For example, its completely normal to feel anxious about speaking in front of a large group of people or meeting an important deadline at work.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders To Develop
The specific causes of anxiety disorders are unknown, in spite of one-in-eight Americans being affected by them. As with most mental illnesses, anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of factors. Its likely genetic, psychological and environmental factors come together to cause anxiety disorders. Medical conditions are also known to cause an anxiety disorder.
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When To Talk To Your Doctor
If you believe your anxiety is a problem, it is important to talk to your doctor. Because women tend to experience anxiety symptoms more frequently than men, experts now recommend that all women and girls aged 13 and older be screened for anxiety disorders during routine health screenings. Early detection and intervention is important since anxiety may grow worse over time if left untreated.
Excessive anxiety can be caused by a number of medical and psychological conditions. Problem anxiety has also been indicated in a variety of physical illnesses, such as heart disease, stomach problems, and pain. But, the best reason to talk to your doctor is that anxiety is controllable, and its complications are avoidable with treatment.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Am I Anxious Or Just Stressed
We often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two.
- Stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic .
- Anxiety, unlike stress, is often triggered internally by excessive thoughts judgments about the past, worries about the future, and so on.
- When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions, and anxiety disorders.
- Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
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Youre working on a deadline when your boss pings you. Its 3 pm and he wants to know if you have time to help with a project thats due by 5. You dont, not really you still havent eaten lunch. Its kind of urgent, he explains, apologizing for the late notice. A pit settles in your stomach, and your thoughts begin to race. Of course, you reply. Id be happy to help. Its not like saying no would be any less stressful.
In your head, a voice quickly pipes in to remind you of how poorly you work under pressure. Remember last time, that panic attack? You cant prepare an entire deck in two days, let alone two hours! Imagine how easy this would be for your coworkers. Why cant you be more like them? Face it: youre probably going to be stuck at this job forever.
Do I Have Anxiety Here’s How To Self
If you think you may have anxiety, you can self-test using an online instrument, such as:
Self-screening tools do not replace a mental health professional. They are designed for the results to be shared with your doctor to inform further discussion about diagnosis and treatment.
You may be one of nearly 40 million people in the United States who experience an anxiety disorder in any given year, or 18% of all Americans.
Online screening tools are not a replacement for a diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional. We encourage you to share your results with your healthcare team.
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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Anxiety
Anxiety is a response to uncertainty and danger, and the trigger can be almost anything, or nothing in particular, just a generalized, vague sense of dread or misfortune. High on the list of anxiety-generating situations is having to give a talk or presentation or being called on in class, where people risk loss of social standing by being judged negatively.
People can feel anxious because their neural circuitry has become so sensitized it perceives threat where it doesnt exist. Too, there are substancescaffeine is oneand medications that stimulate the same physical sensations as anxiety. People differ in their susceptibility to anxiety, as a result of their biological makeup, their parental inheritance, their own life history, personality factors, and the coping skills they acquire or cultivate.