Difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a normal psychological and emotional response to danger in the present – the so called Fight or Flight response. It is our natural response to a situation that we find stressful such as the jitters that we might feel before a job interview or an important exam. We may also experience these unpleasant feelings when we are worried about our finances, or we have a family member suffering from an illness. For some of us, our performance can be improved by some level of stress while others find that experiencing severe anxiety on a day to day basis can interfere with their life.
Anxiety disorders are a serious mental health condition that cause significant feelings of fear or worry. They refer more to a perceived anticipated threat in the future, whether that perceived danger is real or imagined. A key difference between Anxiety and fear related disorders are the stimulus or situation that triggers the fear or anxiety. Treatment for anxiety disorders typically involves psychotherapy and counseling, often alongside some form of medication.
Of course, it is perfectly normal to experience some degree of anxiety when we face a particularly difficult situation but many people find that anxiety interferes with their normal everyday life. Acute anxiety may be linked to other psychiatric conditions, for example, depression.
Anxiety is not considered normal when:
- It is present even when there is no stressful event
- It interferes with normal everyday activities such as socializing and work
- It is considered severe and prolonged
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Symptoms of anxiety are triggered by the brain which sends messages to different areas of the body in preparation for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Certain organs in the body such as the lungs and heart work faster, whilst the brain releases an increased amount of stress hormones such as adrenaline.
As a result, certain physical symptoms can occur such as:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort.
- Increased/rapid heartbeat and/or palpitations
- Pain and tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Swallowing difficulties
- More frequent urination
Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to physical symptoms, there are also psychological symptoms which can include:
- Inability to sleep (insomnia)
- Anger and irritability
- Inability to maintain concentration
- Not feeling like one can control their actions (depersonalisation)
- Feeling unreal
- A fear of madness
There are several types of anxiety disorders. They are often associated with a physical condition such as a thyroid disorder. The anxiety usually improves when the physical illness is treated.
Anxiety is also the main symptom of mental illnesses which are known as anxiety disorders. It is very often the symptom of a further mental health problem for example depression, alcohol misuse, personality disorder or a withdrawal from a long term use of tranquilizers.
Some sufferers experience what is known as Acute Stress Reaction where the symptoms develop quicker following the event. This reaction type occurs usually following an unexpected event such as bereavement. For some, this reaction may occur before the event, for example an exam. This is known as situational anxiety and the symptoms usually disappear fairly quickly and no treatment is required.
When it comes to answering the question - what is an anxiety disorder, most sufferers would define it as a flurry of emotions including fear and worry that do not seem to go away
People with anxiety find it hard to identify the causes of their disorder but sometimes, by asking themselves why do I have anxiety, can reveal things they did not realise were causing them stress
Physicians have categorized the types of anxiety disorders into three broad groups which are generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia disorder and panic attacks
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious psychiatric condition and a type of anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions that can have a serious impact on an individual's daily life
As well as being a mental disorder that affects the mind, there are physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as sleep disorders and depression, that can affect the body
Generalized anxiety disorder in children is characterized by their worrying about small things such as past conversations or incidents as well as upcoming events or schoolwork
Although it may seem difficult to differentiate between everyday anxiety, which affects everybody, and an anxiety disorder by clinical definition, there is a difference
Suffering from anxiety does not mean spending a small fortune on psychiatrists and medications since there are several anxiety coping strategies that cost very little to implement
Many folks with high levels of nervousness, worry and nervous tension need to find more effective ways of anxiety disorder and stress management to deal with the daily pressures they face
Folks who suffer from continual anxiety stress and anger management issues can help themselves by practicing the old adage of take a deep breath and count to ten
Treatments for depression and anxiety attacks typically include medication to control the symptoms of the anxiety disorder together with psychotherapy with a psychiatrist
Many anxiety sufferers would prefer treating anxiety naturally than use prescription medications. There are several natural remedies for anxiety including Kava Kava, St Johns Worts and Valerian Root
While a good deal of health care providers are wary of suggesting St John's Wort for depression and anxiety, they also have trouble denying that many depressives find relief with this natural remedy
The difference between phobias and anxiety disorder are that a phobia is an irrational and extreme fear while the anxiety disorder can be caused by the phobia
A phobia is an extreme irrational fear of something while anxiety panic attacks are an irrational disorder brought on by an over reaction to a series of thoughts or an outside stimulus
Although some phobias do tend to sound bizarre, they are able to develop due to a certain little used human instinct that is intended to help us survive, but occurs when fear is misplaced
In many cases, people with phobias realize how silly their fear is, but since it is an irrational fear, they are powerless to escape once the phobic reaction is triggered
Various techniques for treating phobias allow therapists to free people from the grip of their fears but phobia therapy only works long term when the sufferer deals with the root cause of the fear
Even though there are hundreds of different phobias, the vast majority of them fall into five categories called specific phobias
Agoraphobia is based on a fear of having a phobic reaction or panic attack in public and literally means fear of the marketplace or public spaces
Panic attack symptoms and causes are often the result of some underlying reason and it is therefore important to look at those causes to prevent them continuously occurring in the future
Symptoms of a panic attack include periods of disabling fear or anxiety that is brought on by a certain trigger. It can be accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, and even severe chest pains
Men are many times more likely to commit suicide than are women but the early signs of depression in men, that lead to these suicidal thoughts, are often ignored
Depression in children is characterized in much the same way as adults who are depressed although you might wonder what a child has got to be depressed about
Separation anxiety in young children tends to occur around the six month mark when babies begin to understand the principle of object permanence
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD is a disorder that can develop in some people who have experienced a terrifying, distressing or traumatic event