Are you feeling edgy, exhausted, experiencing muscle tension, insomnia or rapid heartbeat? These are all symptoms of both anxiety and stress. Although the symptoms are similar, proper understanding is important in order to get the right treatment. Incorrect diagnosis means the difference between taking a relaxing bath and taking calming medication. The treatment of stress as anxiety, or vice versa, could result in you taking much longer to feel better. After all, don’t we all want to feel great? So it’s important to make sure that you understand the difference between the two.
It is possible for stress to trigger anxiety while inversely, anxiety can also be a symptom of extreme stress. While stress is the body’s reaction to a temporary experience, change or challenge; anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues and is often a result of severe stress. It is also accompanied by a general sense of fear about nothing in particular. The UK’s National Health Service defines stress as “the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure.” The NHS definition for anxiety is “the feeling of unease, worry or fear.”
Distinguishing the difference is highly important as it determines the course of treatment needed. Stress can simply be resolved by implementing practical exercises to tackle the problematic factor, whereas the proper treatment for anxiety includes counseling, medication and in some cases further professional psychological treatments. While the symptoms are the same, there is one tell-tale symptom for anxiety: the persistent feeling of dread.
The importance of proper understanding and diagnosis cannot be stressed enough. If you suspect that you may have anxiety, seek medical treatment immediately. There exists so much stigma around mental health conditions that people tend to deny themselves the diagnosis they deserve.
By not seeking the proper diagnosis and treatment, you will only delay the recovery process. At the end of the day, would you not want to feel at your best as soon as possible?