Many people today are feeling increased levels of anxiety and stress—and to many people, these two are one and the same. The fact is, that there are some significant differences between the two, and understanding these differences can be the key to getting your mental health back on track. It’s a tough world out there, but learning to differentiate between anxiety vs. stress can help frame your relationship with yourself and teach you important coping skills.

Anxiety Vs. Stress

There are many similarities between anxiety and stress. They both have significant impact on your daily life and they even have many of the same symptoms.

Here’s How To Tell The Difference:

  • Stress: Stress is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” Stress differs from anxiety primarily in that it is a response to an external trigger. The trigger can be either a short-term or a long-term stressor, but either way, it can lead to a variety of symptoms, both mental and physical. These can include anger, difficulty concentrating, irritability, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, and a range of physical ailments such as tiredness, muscle pain, and stomach troubles.
  •  Anxiety: Anxiety, by contrast, is an ongoing condition, marked by excessive worries. Although anxiety may be triggered by an external circumstance, it continues to plague its sufferers even after these triggers have disappeared. Anxiety has many of the same symptoms as stress, but when it rises above the level of mild anxiety, it can become a more serious and chronic condition.

Among the more serious anxiety-related conditions are generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is usually diagnosed if the patient has excessive worries nearly every day for a period of six months. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden acute attacks of anxiety.

Treating Anxiety and Stress

Stress and mild anxiety can often be managed without medical intervention, as learning sound coping skills can often severely lessen their impact. Meditation, exercise, eating well, and proper sleep hygiene are great ways to control these conditions. If you feel like you’re suffering from a more severe form of anxiety, however, professional help is often required. This is why it’s so important to know the difference between stress and anxiety. If you’re experiencing symptoms over an extended period of time or if these symptoms continue in the absence of any stressor, you probably are suffering from anxiety and may need to take further steps.

Anxiety can be treated in several ways, including via medication or talk therapy. The first step in tackling your anxiety is to make an appointment with a medical health professional. Even just making the appointment can make you feel better, as if you are taking charge of your life. Another option for managing anxiety is ketamine treatment. Ketamine is a safe and effective therapy that is effective in treating up to 70 percent of psychiatric conditions and mood disorders. It is especially a good option for people who’ve been resistant to other treatments for anxiety.

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