Stress Versus Anxiety: How To Tell The Difference


Anxiety and stress have this very slim difference. People who are not in the medical field would have a hard time differentiating between the two. However, if you study both thoroughly, you would easily tell which is which, or which disorder a person is suffering from – stress or anxiety. (For both, therapy online can help with coping and management.)

The two mental health issues share almost the same symptoms – being irritable, being worried all the time, having sleep troubles, fatigue and unable to focus. All of these symptoms can bring in problems which will then affect the person’s overall well-being. Because of the difficulty in identifying which disorder the person is suffering from, the only resort is to consult a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis.

Symptoms: Stress

Stress can be linked to several physical and emotional disorders like anxiety, hypertension, depression, obesity, heart attacks, gastrointestinal distress, and stroke. It was said that stress could raise havoc within the human body and the common symptoms are as follows:

  • Disinterest in sex
  • Headaches
  • Light-headed
  • Sleeping problems
  • Neck or back pain
  • Swallowing problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Sweaty feet and palms
  • Being irritable
  • Being sick most of the time
  • No peace of mind
  • Worrying
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Overwhelmed
  • The tension in the muscle
  • Low energy
  • Lacks focus
  • Being forgetful

These symptoms can vary and will depend on the kind of stress level the person is experiencing.


Coping With Stress

Getting overstress will require a trial and error procedure. The effect on such is a case to case basis. With this, you need to be very observant with your system and initiate ways on how to cope with stress if it attacks you again. Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC says, “Some stress is unavoidable but if you can keep perspective then it can be a whole lot easier.” Below are some tips on how to cope up with stress.

  • Relaxation breathing. Deep breathing has its way in calming down people. You can do this once you feel like the stress is kicking in. It will calm you even more.
  • Mindfulness.  You can start being mindful by disconnecting yourself from the world of gadgets. Don’t let it disturb you. You can take some time to yourself and take a walk outside and have a new environment.
  • Get Moving.  Exercising has this way of making one feel good about himself again. It will eliminate all the negative thoughts that you are having and calm yourself from a stressful day.
  • Journal Keeping. The best way to go through the day or assessing it is through writing in a journal. This will help you go through your emotions and find your footing again for the next day.
  • Be Creative. Do things that will make use of your brain. This activity should also be within your interest, and you love doing it. This will help your mind feel so relaxed and energized for the next activity.
  • Music. Music is part of human culture, and it has a way of easing off the stress off.

Time To Seek Help

You should seek the help of a medical professional if you think that stress can affect your daily performance at school or work. Or you can no longer manage it.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Generalized anxiety disorder is a disorder that has to do with too much anxiety and worry. And such a condition can last for a long time. The extent of stress will depend on the event or thing that have triggered the said condition. According to Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, “The more strategies you use to deal with your anxiety, the better off you’re going to be and the more you’re going to protect yourself from developing a social anxiety disorder,” Generalized Anxiety disorder symptoms are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Uncontrollable worrying
  • Being irritated
  • Being restless
  • Having a hard time focusing
  • Exaggerating responses
  • Tension in the muscles
  • Sleeping problems
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness, stomachaches, headaches
  • Difficulty in breathing, fast heartbeat, sweating and chest pains


It was estimated that 18 percent of the overall world population or 40 million people are suffering from mental health disorders.

Anxiety Disorder Treatments

There are two types of treatments for anxiety. The medication and psychotherapy.

  • Psychotherapy. Robin D. Stone, LMHC  states that “Today, more people are making psychotherapy a part of their self-care practice. In the same way they have personal trainers, they are investing in therapists — and that’s a good thing.” This is also known as talk therapy. This is the kind of treatment wherein people talk about their anxiety, the factors that have triggered it, the process and how they cope with it. It is short term treatment wherein specific skills are learned at this stage.
  • Medication. The usual medication that is prescribed to people with anxiety is antidepressants. It comes in with a mild side effect, and it can be used for an extended period.
  • Lifestyle Changes. Getting rid of vices like smoking, taking illegal drugs or drinking too many alcoholic drinks is imperative. Instead, go into daily exercise, have good hygiene, eating the right kinds of food and lessen the intake of caffeine and alcohol. This tip requires firm discipline and perseverance to get over the vices.

With the lifestyle, people are into these days, having stress is quite reasonable. But if it got out of hand and went uncontrollable, then it is time to get the help needed.