Anxiety & Stress

Stress vs Anxiety: What’s the Difference?

An anxious woman sitting on a chair with a plant in the foreground.

Stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to know they are two different presenting problems. Both responses are part of the usual ups and downs of life and generally do not pose a threat to overall well-being. However, when either stress or anxiety become consistent or disproportionate, they disrupt not only day-to-day living but overall mental and physical health as well. While very similar in this regard, stress and anxiety present themselves at different times and in different physiological ways.

What is anxiety?

Imagine that the phrase “step on a crack, break your mother’s back,” has become a literal and reoccurring worry of yours. You worry excessively about your mother’s health, your health, your job, your kids, or maybe you’re nervous about what will happen after every move. You avoid the proverbial cracks and agonize over whether you may have missed one along the way. This is anxiety.

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Over-worrying
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feelings of fear
  • Exaggerated startle response

What is stress?

Now, imagine that you don’t give much thought to folklorist phrases but, instead, your mother fell and actually broke her back. Ahead of you is a hardship you must endure; causing you to feel both physical and emotional symptoms like headaches, irritability, depression, and stomachaches. Your body is now reacting to an external situation, rather than responding to internal worries. This is stress.

Stress symptoms include:

  • Hypertension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks

Anxiety & Stress

In short, anxiety is the constant, unsubstantiated worrying of uncertain outcomes, which can cause disproportionate amounts of stress. Stress, on the other hand, is a response to an adverse or overly demanding situation and not necessarily linked to anxiety.

Symptoms of both include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain

Struggling? We can help.

Determining whether you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or both is critical in seeking effective treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, our network of experienced therapists can help. We provide the most current, evidence-based treatment plans that cater to all ages. Not only do the therapists in the GLPG network provide confidential, one-on-one therapy sessions, but we also offer family, couple, and child and teen counseling as well.

Our large network of therapists is committed to providing you with the help you need. Take the next step toward a better life by scheduling an appointment with us, and find out how our network of specialists can help you today.

Don’t face mental health challenges alone.

Our network of counselors are here to help you. We’ll help match you with a licensed therapist who accepts your insurance and is available to see you online or in person.