Mental stresses and mental conditions in general are a part of reality. Some of us are living it every minute of every day. We may experience sleepless nights, palpitations, shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythms. But then the questions arise, why? Where is it all coming from? Are these signs and symptoms of anxiety? or is it just stress or could it be both? Hence, How about differentiating stress from anxiety? Well, in sum, stress can be the varied external reasons that force one to feel anxious and resulting in anxiety. The feeling of worried and unease can cause great distress and unrest.
Stress and Stressors
When we feel pressure, our tension builds up. Then our state of mind becomes bothered and distorted. Emotional strain follows and people may end up making decisions that are very doubtful. Our lives are full of surprises. Therefore, Stress is not something that people can be saved by dealing with a simple life. However, the anxiety brought by stress is a feeling that we can deal with in a healthy manner.
In our lives, there are good and bad times. Stress can and do interfere with our daily lives at any time. However, chronic stress and the consistency of it, can and will take a toll on our health and well being. Chronic stress may result in heart palpitations, skin rashes, weight loss or weight gain, headache, and sleepless nights.
The True Meaning of Anxiety
Anxiety is the feeling of tension brought about by stress factors. The end result of it may lead to a physical ailment. The results will be such as increased blood pressure, racing thoughts, nervousness, paranoia, hopelessness, lack of energy, and even anger. However, If we left it as unchecked and dealt with anxiety and stress, it can lead to depression.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition identifies that anxiety can be specific and distinct. There are 6 major types or categories of Anxiety.
6 Major Types of Anxiety
- Separation Anxiety Disorder – The stress factor of this disorder is the physical separation of a person from a family member or a familiar situation or place. The anxiety felt by those who suffer from Separation Anxiety Disorder is mostly based on the feeling of being alone. It brings about the feeling of isolation.
- Specific Phobia – This disorder is triggered by specific situations, subjects, or causes that are disproportionate to the actual threat that is involved. The anxiety or “specific phobia” felt may result in dysfunctional behaviour. Further, it aims to avoid the situation or subject in question.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) – The fear of public exposure is the stress factor. The fear of a person is being scrutinized by others. Specifically, those coming from unfamiliar people is the result.
- Panic Disorder – The stress factor that contributes to panic disorder is not distinct. It can be anything that creates uneasiness or builds tensions for a person. Extreme or excessive worrying is one of the manifestations of this disorder. Panic disorder is to describe when panic attacks are recurrent and disabling.
- Agoraphobia – Those who suffer from agoraphobia are under the impression that there is no way out or escape. It is an anxiety disorder characterised by intense fear or anxiety about being in open or public places.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder – This type of anxiety is chronic. This disorder can last for months and even years if left untreated. In fact, The stress factor of someone who suffers from a general anxiety disorder can come from any slightest things. Symptoms of someone who experiences Generalised Anxiety Disorder include constant worry, restlessness and trouble with concentration.
The Fine Line: Stress versus Anxiety
Can stress lead to anxiety? Yes, it can. Stresses or stress factors affect each of us differently. Stress mostly come from external factors. These external factors can come from and can be brought about by all sorts of reasons. The reason for people’s stress can come from or may be related to work, school, home, marriage, children, and relationships. As a result, when anxiety builds up it resulting in an internal dysfunction. This dysfunction affects a person’s physical, emotional, and also the mental state.
At one point, we all have had to deal with stress. The stresses of life, sadness, and anxiety will also be a part of our lives. However, we should learn how to deal with stress and anxiety. It is completely acceptable to get help from professional mental health care specialists. Don’t let stigma around anxiety be an obstacle to getting help for anxiety. Let us be confident in knowing that it is completely alright to reach out for help.
Sleepless nights, the feeling of being pressured, lacking appetite or overtly over-eating, can all be familiar to us at one point in our life or another. We will have the feeling of being drowned in misery, unhappiness and depression. We must be aware that it can lead to a pattern of various mental health problems. When this happens, it can affect our daily way of life and how we live. It also affects how we deal with the people around us. Anxiety can affect our relationships. If it all seems relentlessly overwhelming, it’s better to seek professional help. Your general practitioner is often a good first port of call when looking to address stress and or anxiety.