Anxiety and Stress: What Is The Difference?

The terms stress and anxiety are used interchangeably by many people, and everyone will experience both at some point in their life. But although stress and anxiety have a lot of similarities, they are actually two distinct conditions and the terms are not synonymous.

Stress

Simply put, stress is your body's response to environmental or situational stressors, such as pressure at work or a troubled relationship. Your body responds to stressors by releasing adrenaline, which results in symptoms of stress such as a racing heartbeat, sweating, and changes in breathing.

Anxiety

Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs for no immediately apparent reason. Anxiety can be brought on by chronic stress, but it is not the result of a particular environmental stressor. Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of anxiety that are out of proportion to the situation and/or irrational.

Stress vs. Anxiety

The symptoms of stress and anxiety are largely the same, as in both instances they result from the body's fight-or-flight response kicking in. Stress, however, occurs in response to an outside stressor and is largely a result of feelings of frustration toward the situation. Anxiety occurs without an outside stressor and is characterized by feelings of worry and fearfulness.

Stress can usually be addressed by removing or dealing with the stressor, but anxiety can be more challenging to treat. Most people can cope with ordinary stress and continue to function, while anxiety is more likely to interfere with your ability to handle normal tasks.

A mental health professional can help you determine whether what you're feeling is stress or anxiety, and work with you to develop an appropriate plan of action.

Photo: PxHere

More Articles

Just because a thought visits your mind does not mean it is true. Negative thoughts about yourself and speculation about what’s going to happen...

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain plays a role in mood and anxiety disorders. The most common antidepressants, selective serotonin...

Tofranil is a brand name of the antidepressant medication imipramine. It is used primarily to treat major depression in adults and bed-wetting in...

Here comes that dreaded feeling of overwhelm.

It is not just that you have a lot to do. In fact, you may not have that much to do, but your...

As adults, we are well aware that our work environment has an effect on our mental health. When we're trying to do our jobs without the resources...

More Articles

There are side effects to anxiety that we all experience, I call them the aftermath of a stressful and anxiety-ridden period. This aftermath...

Sometimes it seems that life would be easier without emotions. It’s true, we would not have to feel bad if they disappeared, but neither would we...

No one is a complete stranger to anxiety. We all have times when we feel worried or fearful--sometimes extremely so. Feeling anxious now and then...

When you consider common symptoms of anxiety, such as a pounding heart, sweating, and dizziness or lightheadedness, it seems obvious that anxiety...

When you struggle to fall asleep night after night due to severe anxiety, you may find your symptoms getting worse; lack of sleep is one of the...

The phrase “natural remedy” means different things to different people, but people searching for natural remedies for anxiety attacks are usually...

A new study reports that computer programs are able to use brain scans to distinguish between healthy individuals and those at risk of developing...

Researchers at the University of Utah's Pain Research Center have released the results of a new study that reinforces the notion that music can...

Living with anxiety is no easy task; being able to reduce and control your anxiety makes handling the disorder easier. Whether or not the...

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...

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...

The term chronic stress disorder is often used to describe the psychological condition known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). C...

The University of Central Florida newspaper published an article about an interesting clinical trial at the UCF Anxiety Disorders Clinic in the...

New research by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the University of North Carolina's Bowles Center...

Nardil, the brand name of the drug phenelzine, is the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) most frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders. MAOIs...