Anxiety vs. Chronic Anxiety: What's The Difference?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to certain situations, and in some instances can be very beneficial. The proper amount of anxiety experienced at the proper time can increase alertness, provide motivation, increase preparedness, help avoid harm, and even help provide support and develop relationships. Chronic anxiety, however, is an out-of-proportion response that largely negates these benefits. When chronic anxiety becomes uncontrollable and interferes with daily life, it is diagnosed as a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

People who suffer from chronic anxiety or GAD have constant and exaggerated feelings of worry that are not the result of a credible threat. They are often concerned about normal things, like money, health, relationships, or work, but they worry about them at abnormal levels. Chronic worriers often are aware that their anxiety is excessive, but they are unable to do anything about it.

As one might expect, constantly anticipating disaster takes an emotional and phsyical toll. People with chronic anxiety experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes. They are unable to relax, startle easily, and have trouble concentrating and sleeping. People with chronic anxiety also often have other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse issues.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

Why is this medication prescribed?

Prozac or Fluoxetine is an antidepressant (mood elevator) and is used to treat depression, obsessive-...

Not all causes of anxiety require a therapist; if you suffer from anxiety there are ways to self-help. And acknowledging that you have an anxiety...

Practicing small daily rituals that bring comfort, inspiration, beauty, tranquility, or encouragement into our life anchors us, and can help...

Uncontrollable shaking can happen when your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling.

Some...

The terms stress and anxiety are used interchangeably by many people, and everyone will experience both at some point in their life. But although...

More Articles

Dealing with the anxiety and depression of losing a loved one is difficult and can be hard to manage, but being able to move on from tragedy will...

This article is Part II of a two-part article. Click here to read part I....

Hoarding is the behavior of acquiring an excessive number of items that have little or no value. While many people consider themselves to be "pack...

Anxiety control or fear of losing control may happen during a panic attack you might think you were having a heart attack or some other...

How much does the mental health of an expectant father influence the emotional and behavioral development of his unborn child? Norwegian...

Spending prolonged periods of time gazing at your reflection can cause serious psychological harm, even in those with no history of anxiety over...

Postpartum depression can strike any new mother, no matter what her situation may be. Having a baby is one of the happiest moments in one's life....

Whether you’re a graduate student preparing for your finals or an aspiring real estate developer who needs to get a license, test anxiety affects...

Whether being on Facebook makes you anxious depends on your temperament, age, how much time you spend there, and your purpose for being on the...

Serax® is the brand name for the drug oxazepam, a benzodiazepine that has been in use since the 1960s.

Serax is used primarily for the...

Alzheimer's Disease is a degenerative disease of the brain that eventually leads to dementia and death. At the current time, there is no cure for...

You know that having an anxiety disorder affects your child’s peer relationships, but recent research indicates that not all anxious children have...

I hope if you made it this far, that the information I have provided has begun to help you as far as an understanding anxiety disorder. I can't...

Feelings of anxiety and stress cause a number of physical and chemical changes in the body, including the release of adrenaline and other hormones...

Getting over a great love can be devastating, but while you’re coping, life goes on. While controlling anxiety during the grieving process can be...