Stress or anxiety?: Here's how to tell the difference

Stress and anxiety are often confused or people think they’re the same thing. In reality, there’s a big difference. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Anxiety and stress are similar, but it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference. But they are not the same thing.

Stress and anxiety, what's the difference?

Stress is a biological (not psychological) reaction that is triggered by the body when faced with a change/disturbance. Stress is related to a concrete event such as an important decision to be made, an announcement to be made, a project to be delivered, etc.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a psycho-physiological state that manifests itself without any concrete reason, according to goodpsy.fr. Anxiety is therefore the anticipation of a ‘non-existent’ future threat which is accompanied by a feeling of apprehension, muscular tension and a state of vigilance. The symptoms can be multiple: sleep disorders, headaches, palpitations, tremors, irritability, or nausea.

While the symptoms are similar, the difference between the two lies in the cause.

When to consult?

When anxiety persists, it can become very overwhelming, even disabling, and interfere with normal functioning, reports Clinique Psychologie Québec. They add:

Anxiety becomes problematic when its intensity is exaggerated in relation to the danger, when worries are excessive and unrealistic, and when it leads to significant distress such as panic attacks.

If you recognise yourself in the definition of anxiety and it undermines your daily life, do not hesitate to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

The clinic notes:

Whether you are suffering from stress, anxiety or distress, you should not wait until you are no longer able to carry out your daily activities to seek help. For some people, difficulties can lead to serious consequences such as isolation and depression.

Thanks to medicine and therapy, there are proven treatments for anxiety disorders nowadays. You are not alone and you deserve to get better.

This article was translated from Oh!MyMag FR.

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