How Does Stress Work
In prehistoric times, stress was a natural response to a threat, like hearing a predator in the bushes. Today, it still prompts a behavioral response, firing up your limbic system and releasing adrenaline and cortisol, which help activate your brain and body to deal with the threat, Dr. Greenberg explained. Symptoms of stress include a rapid heart rate, clammy palms and shallow breath. Stress might feel good at first, as the adrenaline and cortisol flood your body, Dr. Marques said. You might have experienced the benefits of stress as you raced through traffic to get to an appointment, or pulled together an important assignment in the final hour. Thats called acute stress, and the rush wore off when the situation was resolved .
Chronic stress, on the other hand, is when your body stays in this fight-or-flight mode continuously . Chronic stress is linked to health concerns such as digestive issues, an increased risk of heart disease and a weakening of the immune system.
When To Seek Help
If youre having thoughts about harming yourself or others, you should seek immediate medical help. Stress and anxiety are treatable conditions and there are many resources, strategies, and treatments that can help. If youre unable to control your worries, and stress is impacting your daily life, talk to your primary care provider about ways to manage stress and anxiety.
The Difference Between Worry Stress And Anxiety
Theyre not all the same, but we do have tips to help you deal with all of them.
You probably experience worry, stress or anxiety at least once on any given day. Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Three out of four Americans reported feeling stressed in the last month, a 2017 study found. But in one of these moments, if asked which you were experiencing worry, stress or anxiety would you know the difference?
I reached out to two experts to help us identify and cope with all three.
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Causes Of Stress Vs Anxiety
Stress is not always caused by stressors, but can also come from peoples thoughts and feelings. Individuals who are affected by stress may feel stress in their muscles, headaches, difficulty sleeping, difficulty breathing, thoughts of hopelessness, or death. Stress can be brought on by stressors that are large events or stressors that are less significant. It is much easier to manage stress than anxiety.
Anxiety is a mental health condition that is characterized by excessive worry over prolonged periods of time. Anxiety can be triggered by stressors, but it does not need to be. Individuals who are dealing with anxiety can experience increased heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling, sweating, or nausea to name a few symptoms.
Both stress and anxiety can be caused by stressors, but stress is a reaction to stressors while anxiety is becoming overwhelmed with stressors. Whether the stressor comes from self-imposed pressure or from an outside source, it is important for individuals dealing with stress not to get caught up in the stressor itself. Focusing on past or future stressors takes individuals out of the present moment which can make stress worse.
Is It Anxiety Or Depression
If you often feel anxious or depressed for no apparent reason, you may have an anxiety disorder, depression, or both. Its not unusual for someone to suffer from both conditions at the same time. In fact, just about half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Depression and anxiety are serious but treatable illnesses. The same medications may be used to ease symptoms of each condition. The two also share similar symptoms, like nervousness, irritability, insomnia and problems concentrating, but each has its own causes.
Anxiety: If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience:
- Fear, panic or anxiety in situations where most people would not feel anxious or threatened
- A constant nagging worry or anxiousness
- Sudden panic or anxiety attacks without any clear trigger
Untreated, these disorders can limit your ability to work, maintain relationships or even leave the house.
Depression: When youre depressed, it affects just about everything in your life how you think, feel, behave and function. You may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Lack of motivation or interest in life in general
- Low energy level
- Feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks and personal interactions
If these feelings last longer than two weeks, and interfere with daily activities like spending time with friends, caring for your family or going to work, most likely youre experiencing a major depressive episode.
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What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety
There are four types of stress: psychological, emotional and physical. Each of these types can have a negative impact on your college experience. The fourth type of stress, eustress, is a good type of stress. It is the kind the motivates you to study for exams or to perform your best in an activity.
Anxiety is a reaction to stress.
Some people react with extreme worry or apprehension of what may happen as a result of the stressor.
For example, losing your job is considered a stressor that can lead to negative emotions, like anxiety. Feeling anxious due to a job loss is normal and can motivate you to find another job quickly. Feeling anxious to the point of having panic attacks, abusing substances or refusing to leave your house is something different.
When a person has an abnormal level of anxiety, they may have an anxiety disorder. There are several anxiety disorders including general anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, agoraphobia, social and separation anxiety.
Even though there is a clear difference between stress and anxiety, both effect college students at alarming rates. If you are feeling stress or anxiety while in college, you are not alone.
Use The Three Cs To Turn Anxiety Into Excitement
The first step is to remember that you have the power to choose your response.
Tim JP Collins suggests using the 3 Cs .
Curiosity: Begin by asking yourself questions like, Whatâs the message here? or Am I safe? This process engages your prefrontal cortex. Anxiety is kicked off by the area of your brain known as the amygdala . Since this area is part of the prefrontal cortex, the questions allow you to interrupt the pattern of fear.
Courage: Be prepared to feel your feelings and be uncomfortable until it passes. Get to know your anxiety, embrace it.
Compassion: Anxiety sufferers are masters at mentally beating themselves up with guilt, shame, worry, and embarrassment. Remember that itâs not your fault. Be gentle on yourself.
A woman once approached me after a conference and told me about her struggle with anxiety. I responded by asking her if she liked cars. She said that she didnt just like cars she LOVED cars. I then asked her to tell me how she would feel if she knew that I had her dream car waiting outside for her: brand new, paid for, insured, and ready for her to drive away. Her face lit up with a glowing smile.
I will never forget her response. She said, I would feel excitedâ¦ or maybe anxious. Wait Im not sure which one.â
Here are some additional resources to help you along your journey:
Pathways to Anxiety: The Cerebral CortexWhat the Experts Say About Meditation for Anxiety
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Stress Vs Anxiety: Are They The Same
Renting the Rain is a mental health blog and brand I created in 2017. By pairing research with engaging, readable prose, my articles create a safe space and mental health community online. This article was originally published here on 9/14/2018.
The weight of the world is on your shoulders. But what exactly is causing this feeling? When it comes to stress vs anxiety, it’s hard to determine if they’re the same thing. Is there a difference between stress and anxiety?
And how much does the difference matter when all you need is to feel “normal” again? Today in the rain, we’ll explore definitions and better yet, solutions to the age-old stress vs anxiety question.
Anxiety Keeps Hanging Around After The Problem Is Resolved
None of this is to say that the real world has nothing to do with anxiety â far from it. In my own life, in fact, my current anxiety problem was brought into focus by some very real work stresses. As I attempted to cope with these stresses, I developed a raging case of insomnia, along with a healthy side dish of social phobia. Then, one day, I got a new job. Problem solved, right? I expected to sleep like the dead that night so I was surprised to find that a whole new set of worries kept me up that night, as well as many nights into my new career.
Though it has been triggered by stress, my problem was now anxiety. This isn’t an uncommon trajectory â the National Institute of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine says, “Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor… anxiety is stress that continues after the stressor is gone.” So stress can set off a case of anxiety.
Why This Difference Is Important: Yes, anxiety can definitely be triggered by stress, but sustained or chronic anxiety needs to be treated as its own issue, rather than as a by product of stress. You can’t alleviate an anxiety disorder with a vacation or a trip to the spa . As Spiegel told the Huffington Post, âWith stress, we know whatâs worrying us but with anxiety you become less aware of what youâre anxious about and the reaction becomes the problem.â
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What Is Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a familiar feeling of nervousness, worry, and fear. You may feel anxious about several things in life. For instance, a job interview, public performance, or stressful events can trigger anxious feelings. Currently, report signifies that anxiety-related conditions affect approximately 40 million people in the US.
It is worth noting that anxiety only becomes problematic when it gets out of control or negatively impacts an individuals life. The condition can lead to emotional distress, chronic stress, or even display physical symptoms in extreme cases. Other than that, anxiety may deter you from reporting to work, meeting friends, or making attempts to succeed in life. Common symptoms associated with anxiety disorder include
- Extreme fatigue
- Physical symptoms such as chest pains, hindered breathing, rapid heart rate, and excessive sweating.
- Psychosomatic symptoms include dizziness, stomachache, headache.
An Anxiety Disorder Can Be Characterized By Which Of The Following
Although anxiety is a normal human emotion, people who experience extreme fear and worry that donât go away may have an anxiety disorder. Each anxiety disorder has its own specific symptoms. For example, panic disorders cause sudden, uncontrollable feelings of terror, and social anxiety disorder involves the fear of being in unfamiliar social situations with expectations of scrutiny by others. Both can also manifest with physical symptoms such as shaking or breaking out in a sweat.
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When To See A Doctor
Worry is a normal part of life, but when your worry becomes ongoing and disproportionate, it may be time to see a healthcare provider or mental health expert. People with chronic stress or anxiety disorders experience fear that impairs daily functioning.
If you feel that your stress or anxiety is preventing you from living a full life, speak to your doctor.
How Do Stress And Anxiety Affect Your Body
The stress response is a natural reaction to fear or stress. The stress response system includes the brain, the nervous system, the endocrine system, and organ systems such as the digestive system. Stress responses include an alarm phase that shifts from excitement to fear as stress increases. Stress may also trigger the fight-or-flight response.
Anxiety can be described as persistent apprehension or dread of certain events. A stress response will not always be triggered by anxiety, although some people experience stress responses in virtually any situation, even if its something they enjoy doing. The stress response is also not the same for every person. It depends on our previous experiences and our strengths of coping skills.
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Can You Be Manic And Depressed
Dysphoric mania is when you have symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. Its sometimes called a mixed state,mixed mania,mixed episode, or mixed features. While experts used to think it was rare, they now realize its common. About 40% of people with bipolar disorder have dysphoric mania at times.
Despite the factor, the absolute reality of the issue is that you, or your buddy or liked one, are not alone. Tricyclic antidepressants are effective definition of stress anxiety and depression for patients who do not react to SSRIs, yet commonly have severe side effects.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Anxiety, depression and stress just about everyone feels these emotions at some time. All are common reactions to lifes challenges, from losing a loved one to going through a divorce. On the surface they can look a lot alike, but there are distinct differences.
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What Causes Stress And Anxiety
There are five main causes of stress and anxiety in college. However, thats not to say there are only five causes studying for exams, financial burdens, social pressures, feeling homesick, relationship issues, homework assignments, and meeting expectations of parents and professors are just a few.
A student can react to any of these stressors with anxiety. Just thinking about their responsibilities can cause some students with great anxiety. When you are anxious, you may find it hard to sleep, unable to concentrate or focus, poor diet, digestive issues, and even using substances to overcome the effects of anxiety.
All these reactions will produce further negative effects.
Students can prepare for these causes by recognizing the difference between stress and anxiety and being ready for them when they occur. Preparation includes knowing specific symptoms related to each.
Stranger Social And Intergroup Anxiety
Humans generally require social acceptance and thus sometimes dread the disapproval of others. Apprehension of being judged by others may cause anxiety in social environments.
Anxiety during social interactions, particularly between strangers, is common among young people. It may persist into adulthood and become social anxiety or social phobia. Stranger anxiety in small children is not considered a phobia. In adults, an excessive fear of other people is not a developmentally common stage it is called social anxiety. According to Cutting, social phobics do not fear the crowd but the fact that they may be judged negatively.
Social anxiety varies in degree and severity. For some people, it is characterized by experiencing discomfort or awkwardness during physical social contact , while in other cases it can lead to a fear of interacting with unfamiliar people altogether. Those suffering from this condition may restrict their lifestyles to accommodate the anxiety, minimizing social interaction whenever possible. Social anxiety also forms a core aspect of certain personality disorders, including avoidant personality disorder.
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