Anxiety Social Anxiety

10 Reasons Why Stress Is Not Anxiety

December 7, 2017
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One of the biggest misconceptions about anxiety is that anxiety is stress or stress is anxiety. While you can certainly experience stress anxiety, the two are actually different things entirely. In fact, there is an abundance of differences between stress and anxiety that puts them in their own separate categories. It’s important to understand this, so you can effectively treat your anxiety symptoms. After all, you wouldn’t take all indigestion remedies if you experience heart burn; you would take heartburn specific indigestion treatment.

10 Reasons Why Stress is not Anxiety

Stress anxiety, anxiety stress, stress vs. anxiety – whatever you want to call it, the two are different and here’s why.

Anxiety is a Diagnosis

One of the biggest differences between stress and anxiety is that anxiety is a diagnosis – stress isn’t. While your doctor can “diagnose” you with stress related symptoms, stress isn’t a mental illness or a medical condition. Instead, it’s a feeling of emotional or physical tension.

Anxiety Isn’t a Symptom of Stress

While stress can be a symptom of anxiety, anxiety cannot be a symptom of stress. Sure, you can feel anxious when you’re stressed out but you will not experience anxiety in the way anxiety sufferers do because it’s completely different.

You Can Have Anxiety Without Stress

One of the biggest differences between stress and anxiety is that you can have anxiety without stress. Feelings of emotional and physical tension can be a symptom, and stress can follow being anxious and suffering from anxiety but you can have anxiety without stress. Heck, you can live a completely stress-free life and still suffer from anxiety.

You Can Be Stressed Without Having Anxiety

Similar to the prior, you can be stressed out without having anxiety. In fact, everyone who isn’t diagnosed with this mental illness is a prime example of this. They might feel anxious at times but “having anxiety” isn’t a requirement for being stressed.

Everyone Experiences Stress

Another huge difference between stress and anxiety is that everyone experiences stress. It’s a completely natural. However, not everyone experiences anxiety. It’s like everyone can relate to taking prescription medications when they’re sick but not everyone goes under chemo. Same thing – everyone feels stress, not everyone stressed experiences anxiety.

“Anxious” is a Feeling, Anxiety Isn’t

Many of these misconceptions about anxiety stem from the confusion between being anxious and having anxiety. Being anxious is a normal bodily response. It’s similar to stress, as it’s just a reaction the body has – another one of the any emotions humans experience. However, anxiety is, again, a diagnosis. It’s a mental illness that causes phobias, irrational fears, a spike in anxious feelings… And the list goes on. Being anxious isn’t going to make you do any of those things because it’s just a feeling.

Anxiety Stems from Fear

Stress and anxiety aren’t the same thing for many reasons but this one truly sets it in stone. Anxiety stems from fear, whereas stress stems from external pressures – two totally opposite things.

Anxiety is Accompanied With Feelings of Impending Doom

When you’re stressed, you don’t feel like the entire world is closing in on you and that life will be over with a blink of your eye. However, anxiety is almost always accompanied with this very feeling – the feeling of impending doom.

Anxiety Keeps Hanging Around After The Problem Is Resolved

Stress is often the result of external pressures, anxiety is not. Anxiety often come without no rhyme or reason. That’s also not to mention that stress typically dissipates once the problem is resolved. However, anxiety continues on long after even when there’s nothing stress or upsetting going on.

Panic Attacks are a Symptom of Anxiety, Not Stress

Another huge difference between stress and anxiety is what each can cause. You simply will never have a panic attack because you’re too stressed out. However, the same can’t be said about anxiety. Experiencing full-blown panic attacks isn’t uncommon when it comes to anxiety.


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