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What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety

Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

How To Know The Difference Between Anxiety and Stress

The two main treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and medication, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.

  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is effective in helping people identify, process, and cope with their triggers of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly effective, short-term treatment that helps people learn specific skills to target their specific triggers.
  • Medication: Antidepressants generally have some mild side effects but help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety. Antidepressants can be used for an extended period of time. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that can also be used on an ongoing basis. Benzodiazepines can be used on a limited basis to mitigate anxiety symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. All medications should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider. Any side effects should be reported immediately. Never discontinue the use of these medications without supervision from your healthcare provider.
  • Lifestyle changes: There are several changes you can make at home before you try medications. Daily exercise, good sleep hygiene, healthy eating, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are all home remedies that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.
  • American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2013: Pages 222-226.
  • Diagnosis And Treatment Of Anxiety

    Stress is a short-term state and doesnt require a formal diagnosis. An anxiety disorder, however, would be diagnosed by a professional according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , a handbook used by clinicians to diagnose mental health disorders.

    There is no definitive test for anxiety, but if symptoms are present, a healthcare provider will do an assessment about the frequency of feelings of worry or any physical symptoms such as restlessness, feeling tired, having trouble concentrating, irritability, or having trouble sleeping.

    Anxiety is a treatable condition. Treatment typically includes talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy , medication, or a combination of these.

    Though stress isnt formally treated, self-care practices can help alleviate it. Getting good sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and talking with family or friends can help stabilize a persons stress levels.

    Three Things To Help Your Worries:

    • Give yourself a worry budget, an amount of time in which you allow yourself to worry about a problem. When that time is up , consciously redirect your thoughts.

    • When you notice that youre worried about something, push yourself to come up with a next step or to take action.

    • Write your worries down. Research has shown that just eight to 10 minutes of writing can help calm obsessive thoughts.

    Remember: Worry is helpful only if it leads to change, not if it turns into obsessive thoughts.

    Also Check: How Much Does Anxiety Raise Blood Pressure

    What Anxiety Looks Like

    Just like with stress, all people feel anxious from time to time. But what they feel and the signs they show can be different. Here are some common aspects of anxiety:

    • The feeling is out of proportion to the real or imagined threat. For example, a child might cry in terror because of being afraid to enter a birthday party.

    • People expect that something bad will happen and they wont be able to handle or stop it. For example, they might think, That dogs going to bite me and Im going to die.

    • What if? is a common phrase anxious people say and think.

    See a list of signs of anxiety in younger kids and in tweens and teens.

    What Is The Relation Between Anxiety Vs Stress And How Can We Deal With It

    Anxiety Induced Depression Pasadena Villa

    Because stress and anxiety are so inextricably linked, you cannot deal with one without addressing the other and the only way to tackle both is to identify what exactly is making you feel stressed and/or anxious.

    For some people, anxiety is caused by subconscious issues that they are unable to focus onthe anxiety is constantly there, simmering away below the surface of everyday life, but they cannot pinpoint what exactly is making them feel this way. It is often easier to identify what is making you feel stressed, and therefore stress is easier to deal with. For many people, their job is very stressful, whereas for others it might be living with a difficult or dysfunctional relationship.

    There are many ways to deal with stress and feelings of anxiety. When the cause of the anxiety is not obvious, counseling and therapy can often help to identify any underlying issues: once you know what you are afraid of, you can move forward and conquer your fears.

    There are also lots of medications available to help alleviate the problems caused by anxiety and stress. Tranquilizers and antidepressants can counteract the symptoms of anxiety and stress and are very useful for those individuals who are struggling to cope with everyday life because of high levels of anxiety and stress.

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    Also Check: How To Manage Depression And Anxiety

    What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety

    Often times, stress and anxiety are used interchangeably. However, you should know that there is a difference between the two. Stress and anxiety both affect us physically and psychologically, but they are different for different people. How do we differentiate?

    Experts say that while stress is mostly external, anxiety is largely internal.

    Although one can generate stress through negative self-talk, a pessimistic attitude, or a need for perfection, it is usually caused by external factors. Too many responsibilities or a high-risk business project can usually result in On the other hand, anxiety is largely internal and depends on how you react to stressors, said clinical psychologist Narendra Kinger, founder of Talk To Me.

    Oftentimes, even after a stressor has stopped or removed, some individuals may still feel laden and/or distressed. This distress is called anxiety. It is an exaggerated reaction or response to a particular situation. If the anxiety and distress you feel in a particular situation is unusual, excessive, or lasts much longer than most other conditions, it may be anxiety rather than

    While mild anxiety can be vague and worrisome, severe anxiety can seriously affect daily life

    the reasons

    According to Dr. Stephen, another difference is the duration the stress lasts until the event is resolved but the anxiety can last and last for a very long time.


    How does it appear?

    How do you cope?

    Acute Vs Chronic Stress

    There are two main types of stress:

    • Acute stress is the most common type of stress. Acute stress can resolve itself quickly. It is the bodys response to a recent or anticipated threat or unexpected event.
    • Chronic stress is ongoing stress resulting from long-term emotional pressurefor example, a stressful job, an unhappy family situation, or money problems.

    Also Check: How Much Cbd Oil For Anxiety

    What Is The Relation Between Anxiety Vs Stress

    What is the relation between anxiety vs. stress? There is no doubt that there is a very strong relationship between anxiety and stress: when we are under a great deal of stress, we tend to feel anxious and upset, and inevitably, one exacerbates the other.

    Stress affects the body in different ways. When we are stressed we usually feel tense and wound up like a coil. Stress is often linked to the bodys fight or flight mechanism, which is why adrenaline is released when we are placed under an enormous amount of stress.

    Anxiety is more of an emotional state than a physical one and when we are feeling anxious, we are fearful, upset and unsure of ourselves or the nature of the situation we are anxious about. Like stress, anxiety often causes a wide range of physiological symptoms such as the release of adrenaline or nervous sweating.

    Even though stress and anxiety cannot be classed as identical states of mind, it is obvious that they are extremely closely linked and one tends to affect the other. For example, when we are stressed at work, we start to feel anxious about our ability to do the job, or when we are anxious about a work project, we feel stressed.

    Lets Talk About Stress

    What is Anxiety Part 2: The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

    For one, stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic . In an ideal world, the duration of the stress response corresponds with its trigger: Once a stressor has been dealt with, the body can return to its natural baseline state.

    Acute stress. Remember the pit in your stomach from before? Thats an example of the stress response, which you might know better as fight-or-flight. When youre triggered by something stressful, your brain floods your body with hormones that push you to react: Blood moves away from digestive organs and into your limbs, allowing you to move more efficiently and quickly. Your heart beats faster and breathing speeds up, bringing more oxygen into the bloodstream.

    Stress evolved as a survival mechanism, designed to make it easier for us to fight or flee from life-threatening triggers. Today, even though unreasonable emails do not warrant the same urgency as a hungry tiger on the savannah, our bodies dont know the difference. While stress might not feel great in the moment, it can still be helpful by motivating us to stay alert and take action when we need to.

    In fact, the Yerkes-Dodson law in psychology proposes that moderate levels of stress are optimal for peak performance. We tend to talk about this state as being in the zone or in flow. Too little stress leads to low level performance, whereas too much is a recipe for needless fight-or-flight.

    Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Anxiety Stomach Aches

    Whats The Difference Between Anxiety And Stress

    Stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, and there is overlap between stress and anxiety. Stress is related to the same fight, flight, or freeze response as anxiety, and the physical sensations of anxiety and stress may be very similar.

    The cause of stress and anxiety are usually different, however. Stress focuses on mainly external pressures on us that were finding hard to cope with. When we are stressed, we usually know what were stressed about, and the symptoms of stress typically disappear after the stressful situation is over.

    Anxiety, on the other hand, isnt always as easy to figure out. Anxiety focuses on worries or fears about things that could threaten us, as well as anxiety about the anxiety itself. Stress and anxiety are both part of being human, but both can be problems if they last for a long time or have an impact on our well-being or daily life.

    Where can I learn more?

    Seeking Professional Help For Stress And Anxiety

    There are many ways to seek treatment for stress and anxiety. If you feel like youre unable to cope with stress and anxiety, your primary care provider may suggest that you see a mental health provider. They may use psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, to help you work through your stress and anxiety. Your therapist may also teach you applied relaxation techniques to help you manage stress.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular and effective method used to manage anxiety. This type of therapy teaches you to recognize anxious thoughts and behaviors and change them into more positive ones.

    Exposure therapy and systematic desensitization can be effective in treating phobias. They involve gradually exposing you to anxiety-provoking stimuli to help manage your feelings of fear.

    Read Also: Is Depression An Anxiety Disorder

    Coping With Stress And Anxiety

    Many coping techniques can help manage stress and anxiety. Learning to cope with stress and anxiety can take time and may involve more than one strategy.

    Some coping strategies for stress and anxiety include:

    • Relaxation breathing: Stress and anxiety can cause shallow, rapid breathing. The simple act of controlled breathing may bring stress relief. Apps are available with guided breathing meditations for stress and anxiety.
    • Exercise: A comprehensive review of studies found that regular exercise reduces anxiety symptoms. Yoga is often promoted as a cure for stress and anxiety, but it should be noted that studies carried out on the effects of yoga practice have had small sample sizes and lack of control groups.
    • Limited alcohol and caffeine: These can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
    • Getting enough sleep: Sleep can give you the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences.
    • Creativity: Engaging in a creative hobby gives your mind a chance to relax. Studies indicate that creative engagement can decrease anxiety, stress, and mood disturbances.
    • Music: Listening to slow, relaxing music can decrease your stress response.
    • Peer support: This brings together people whove had similar experiences to help each other. Many people find that joining support groups to share ideas about how to stay well and connect with others makes them feel less alone.
    • Accepting that you cant control everything: Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.

    Anxiety Vs Stress: What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety

    20 Differences between Anxiety and Depression ! You must ...

    Knowing the difference between stress and anxiety is key because it helps us manage our response and approach to the problem.

    Unfortunately, theres enough overlap between the symptoms that it can be difficult to distinguish whether were under an undue amount of stress or suffering from a bout of anxiety. For that matter, its tough to know if our unmanaged stress is turning an unhealthy corner into poor mental health.

    So, having a clear understanding of the difference is the first step in knowing how to relieve stress and anxiety.

    Stress can be either positive or negative. Feeling pressure to finish a job on deadline, study for a test, or achieve a goal weve set is very often positive. In these cases, a little bit of stress helps us perform.

    Too much stress, though, can negatively impact our lives by interfering with sleep patterns, make it difficult to focus on work, or even simply relax at the end of a day.

    Whats important about stress, which is the bodys response to a threat or an ongoing situation, is that its usually short-term. If we can identify whats disrupting our life, we can generally figure out ways to lessen the pressure, solve the problem and see the symptoms fade away.

    With anxiety, difficult and unsettling symptoms do not disappear after the threat or stressful situation has been neutralized.

    Don’t Miss: What Vitamins Are Good For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

    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.

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