Living in a world laden with overwhelming and demanding challenges can trigger a whole load of emotions. As a result, you may feel anxious, stressed, or excessively worried after exposure to several stressors. However, if these feelings inhibit normal functions, seeking medical attention remains the best decision.

Remember that without proper diagnosis, it is not always easy to find difference between stress vs anxiety.  Given that the conditions have almost identical symptoms, it requires an expert eye to diagnose and manage them accurately.

The brighter side is that proper management can also empower you to handle similar predicaments in future. Keep reading as we define significant difference between stress vs anxiety disorder.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a familiar feeling of nervousness, worry, and fear.  You may feel anxious about several things in life. For instance, a job interview, public performance, or stressful events can trigger anxious feelings. Currently, report signifies that anxiety-related conditions affect approximately 40 million people in the US.

It is worth noting that anxiety only becomes problematic when it gets out of control or negatively impacts an individual’s life. The condition can lead to emotional distress, chronic stress, or even display physical symptoms in extreme cases. Other than that, anxiety may deter you from reporting to work, meeting friends, or making attempts to succeed in life.  Common symptoms associated with anxiety disorder include;

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Inflated startle response
  • Poor concentration
  • Physical symptoms such as chest pains, hindered breathing, rapid heart rate, and excessive sweating.
  • Psychosomatic symptoms include dizziness, stomachache, headache.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Qualified medics often use specific medication or psychotherapy to manage anxiety conditions. Psychotherapy is also referred to as talk therapy, where therapists help patients identify and cope with anxiety triggers. Experts recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorder because it reacts fast and is highly effective.

On the other hand, antidepressants are the most preferred form of medication. Not only do they have minimal side effects, but patients can also them for extended periods. Whether your doctor prescribes Benzodiazepines or Buspirone, you should consider that the medication can be addictive. Therefore, discuss thoroughly with a verified mental health expert on proper usage to avoid getting hooked. Above all, never discontinue medication intake without appropriate guidelines and supervision from your doctor.

In some patients, a combination of both treatments for better results. If need be, a mental health care provider can also suggest lifestyle changes to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Some include eating right, daily exercises, minimizing caffeine, and cutting down on alcohol or tobacco.

What is Stress?

Feeling stressed is a normal reaction to sudden changes, threats, or demands. The effect can have an impact on the mental, emotional and physical capabilities of an individual. Almost everyone experiences stressful incidents in life.

As a matter of fact, studies indicate that averagely 48% of the US population has dwelt with various forms of stress related ailments. While some people may react positively to the stressors, others may suffer immensely from the exposure.

Take note that probable stressors can be ongoing or a one-time event. Even if stress can sometimes positively impact lives, it should be a source of worry if it becomes overwhelming and frustrating. For this reason, you should seek medical attention right away if the following symptoms pull you down.

  • Physical pain
  • Digestive issues
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Heart complications
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Depression
  • Neck and back pains.
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Sweaty feet and palms
  • Low libido
  • Forgetfulness

Handling Stress

Coping stress differs from one person to another. Sometimes it may require experts to experiment with various techniques before concluding. Below are some practices used to manage stress.

Relaxation Techniques

The quickest remedy to stress is practicing regular deep breathing. You can attempt this strategy when calm to perfect on it. Then count one to four when inhaling and another four exhaling. Repeat the same procedure a couple of times.

Write down your Worries

Keeping a personal journal aids in pinpointing life obstacles and finding solutions around them. If possible, pen down your thoughts anytime you feel weighed down by predicaments.

Be Active

Regular exercises help the body to release a happy hormone known as dopamine. Making it a daily habit brings forth quick relief and keeps your mind from worrying.


Whether you are painting, writing poetry, or singing, creative activities are both healing and reassuring.  They also decrease stress response, brightens moods, and give life a brand new meaning.

Stress vs Anxiety – Key Differences

There is a high chance of suffering from anxiety and stress, or one can be more crushing. Whatever symptoms you may be suffering from, here are vital signs that can lead to a proper differences between stress vs anxiety.

Anxiety disorder can affect normal functions

Although stress can be frustrating at times, it is slightly manageable compared to anxiety. Keep in mind that untreated anxiety disorder can render an individual hopeless and unable to handle daily chores.

Stress is external, while anxiety is internal

Most stress conditions start from external stressors like work projects or marital woes. Contrarily anxiety is mainly internal and not caused by stressors. Therefore, if you eradicate stressors and continue feeling overburdened, most likely, you are a victim of anxiety.

Anxiety causes dread and fear

Most anxiety patients experience panic attacks even without triggers. Oppositely, stress is a reaction to specific life pressures and goes away when you get rid of them.

Symptoms Differences

Even if anxiety and stress warning signs are interchangeable, there are some slight differences. For instance, panic attacks are often related to anxiety disorder. In short, stress patients generally experience physical and mental symptoms. Defiantly, people suffering from anxiety suffer from excessive and persistent worries.

Bottom Line

Although stressors may always tag along, they should not downplay your life endeavors. Instead, they should catapult you from your comfort zone to strive better and achieve monumental milestones. Unfortunately, some situations may push individuals past their limits. If anxiety or stress makes you unproductive or reduces your zeal to life, seek professional help instantly. Luckily there are plenty of highly successful treatments available that can bring color to your life again.