Anxiety or Stress?

Anxiety or Stress?

Life sometimes presents us with challenges.  Whether it is a transition (e.g. attending to college, becoming a parent, getting married) or a major life event (e.g. loss employment, going through a divorce, loss of a loved one), the reality is that sometimes our ability to cope with the current challenges becomes compromised and we lose our balance. When we talk about losing our balance, some words can come up to our mind.  Maybe we use the words “feeling stressed” or “feeling anxious,” but what is the difference?  When we talk about stress, we talk about our response to an external situation (e.g. having an argument with a loved one, working with deadlines at work) that generally subsides when the situation has resolved.
 
When we talk about anxiety, we talk about an internal response of apprehension and fear that persists even when the situation has passed.  (But it can also be an internal response to a situation that is non-threatening.)  In severe cases, anxiety can develop into an anxiety disorder, which is one of the most common mental health issues in the world.
 
Anxiety disorders are currently classified in different ways, such as: separation anxiety, selective mutism, specific phobia, social anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.  As stress can be a trigger for anxiety and anxiety can escalate into an anxiety disorder, it is important to keep our anxiety levels under control.
 
If you or someone you love, is living with anxiety please seek a consultation with a mental health professional.  Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders and many people have benefited from the combination of both.  Please know you are not alone, nor have to go through this alone. 
 
VERY IMPORTANT: If you are currently in distress and/or are thinking about hurting yourself, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.
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