Stress and anxiety can mimic each other in many ways, but chronic anxiety is very different than situational or temporary stress. Both stress and anxiety are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger while anxiety is persistent worrying that doesn’t go away even in the absence of a stressor.
Common Triggers of Stress
Everyone reacts to stress in their own ways. Some people thrive under a little pressure, working better, faster, and more efficiently. Other people are debilitated by stress and unable to go about their daily lives or fulfill their obligations.
The reason for stress will vary depending on how your body reacts to triggers, but some of the most common causes of stress—short-term and long-term—include:
- Work deadlines
- School responsibilities
- Argument with a loved one
- Worry about a loved one
- Inability to work
- Chronic illness
Signs and Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Self-diagnosing your feelings of stress or anxiety or brushing them off as temporary is dangerous. This choice can result in not getting the kind of mental health care you need for the circumstances you’re living with. Certainly, we all experience stress from time to time, and it is a major relief when the stress fades away. But anxiety holds on persistently, keeping you in a constant state of worry and fear. It can’t always go away through sheer will.
The following mental and physical symptoms are signs of both stress and anxiety:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Not eating, or overeating
- Digestive issues
- Muscle pain
Identifying Chronic Anxiety
You have probably been told that a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet are the key to calming you down, but these are stress management techniques—and they don’t always work for everyone, especially not for those with anxiety. It’s easy to feel like there’s something wrong with you if you can’t relax or feel like you’re on high alert all the time, even if you’re prioritizing sleep, physical activity, and good nutrition.
When your stress and worries are not fading away, even when the stressor you thought was causing the problem has dissipated, it’s time to get professional care for your mental health. Many people who suffer with anxiety are diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder, a highly treatable condition—but only if it is acknowledged and addressed.
An anxiety disorder is more complicated than short-term stress. It’s much more intense and persists for months and even years without treatment. Mood and daily functioning are compromised and your ability to enjoy normal activities, do your job, or even leave your home can be affected. Relief is possible through cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, medication, and customized inpatient treatment.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Feeling anxious is a normal temporary reaction to certain moments or events in life. Chronic anxiety goes beyond a feeling of nervousness—this problem has no obvious trigger and can leave a person living in a constant state of dread and fear.
Anxiety is a constant struggle that can affect a person’s job, schooling, relationships, and overall enjoyment of life. The most common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Persistent anxiety on most days lasting for at least six months. Excessive, hard-to-control worries may seem blown out of proportion and the concerns may jump from topic to topic. Generalized anxiety disorder is accompanied by the physical symptoms of anxiety.
- Social anxiety disorder: Intense self-consciousness, fear, worry, and embarrassment in social situations.
- Panic disorder: Frequent episodes of intense terror and feelings of impending doom, also known as panic attacks. Can involve sudden attacks of chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweating, and dizziness.
- Phobia-related disorders: Certain situations or objects can trigger intense anxiety or panic attacks, like public speaking, leaving the house, flying, and so many more.
Get Mental Health Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Beachside Rehab is a holistic rehabilitation center in West Palm Beach, Florida. We specialize in mental health care, both inpatient and outpatient treatment, and use holistic recovery methods to guide you to a better place. Diagnosing whatever is affecting your mental health is the key to finding happiness and relief.
The support system you need is waiting at Beachside Rehab. Don’t suffer any longer. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.