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Difference between Stress and Anxiety

Both stress and anxiety disorders are the body's normal responses to stressful or dangerous situations.

However, these terms are not interchangeable, and there are significant differences between them.

So what's the difference between stress and an anxiety disorder?


Stress is the body's response to a threat or demand, whether real or perceived. It's a normal, healthy reaction that helps a person deal with challenging situations, such as public speaking, taking an exam, or dealing with an emergency.

Symptoms of stress can include muscle tension, irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleep problems, tend to be temporary and disappear once the stress situation has resolved.

Anxiety Disorder:

On the other hand, anxiety disorder is a clinical diagnosis characterized by intense, excessive, and persistent feelings of fear, worry, or anxiety that are out of proportion to the actual situation and interfere with the person's daily activities.

Unlike stress, anxiety can persist even in the absence of a specific threat or challenge.

Symptoms can include restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and sleep problems, and can be so intense and long-lasting that they cause significant distress and impair the person's ability to function at work, school or other important areas of life.

While stress and anxiety are common experiences, seeking professional help is important if symptoms persist, cause significant distress, or interfere with your daily life.

Many effective strategies and treatments are available to help manage stress and anxiety disorder, psychotherapy being one of them.


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