Stress and anxiety share very similar physical symptoms but there is a difference between the two.
Stress comes from the pressure we feel from life, work, an event or other trigger (stressor). It generally has a short-term effect on our bodies and typically subsides after the stressor is gone. It can be positive like catapulting us into action to get things done but can also be negative if prolonged, resulting in insomnia and an impaired ability to do normal things.
Anxiety however, is in for the long haul. It takes over after stress to keep our mind and body on alert for that feared situation which we anticipate will have disastrous consequences.
"A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome"
"Being worried or afraid of something happening, or obsessed about something happening in a certain way”
“Fear of the future”
Regardless of how it's described anxiety can be the most hideous thing to live with on a daily basis.
While it's considered a natural reaction to a stressful situation, sometimes it is so physically, mentally and emotionally draining we just feel like giving up.
Around 1 in 7, or 14% of Australians are affected by an anxiety disorder each year.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when symptoms of anxiety are severe, happen too often, affect your ability to live a normal life, and have been present for at least one month. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a registered and experienced health professional.
If you fall into this category visit your health care professional before seeking treatment.
Although the experience of anxiety varies from person to person, feeling stressed or worried and having anxious thoughts and panic attacks are common symptoms.
Difficulty concentrating, restlessness, avoidance behaviors, rapid heartbeat, tightening of the chest, trembling or shaking, feeling lightheaded or faint, numbness or tingling sensations, feeling of disconnection or isolation, upset stomach or nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, pounding heart, dizziness, muscle tension or twitches and many more.
Also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterised by an intense fear in one or more social situations causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.
These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others, and fear of being humiliated or embarrassed.
An anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry, that is, apprehensive expectation about events or activities.
This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals with GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties.
When a person has a persistent, unreasonable or irrational fear of an object or situation.
As a result, the affected person tends to actively avoid direct contact with the objects or situations and, in severe cases, any mention or depiction of them.
Whilst there is no single known cause of an anxiety disorder, there are a number of risk factors or triggers that may contribute and these differ between each anxiety type.
Certain anxiety disorders appear to have a genetic component, with some anxiety disorders running in families.
Poor physical health can increase a person’s vulnerability to developing symptoms of anxiety. Diet and exercise play a role in combating anxiety.
Stressful events such as a marriage breakdown, work or school deadlines and financial hardship can act as a trigger for anxiety.
Patterns of thinking characterized by anticipating the worst, persistent negative self-talk, low self-esteem, and unhelpful coping strategies (e.g., avoidance) are linked to ongoing problem anxiety.
Wanting to avoid or run away from things we’re worried about, or afraid of, is normal – it’s a reaction that has developed over the course of our evolution and helps us respond to life threatening situations.
Having an anxiety disorder means that this response is causing you more problems than good. In anxiety sufferers, this fight or flight response is heightened as it receives false or corrupted signals resulting in those distressing symptoms usually followed by avoidance behaviour.
The more time and energy spent trying to avoid the issues causing your anxiety, the more likely you are to suffer psychologically in the long term.
We will spend time together learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
I know that sounds weird, but believe me, it works.
If any of the above information speaks to you on a personal level, reach out and connect with me for some personal support.
"The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself" Rita Mae Brown
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