Stress and anxiety are interconnected. People use the term “anxiety” loosely without understanding what real anxiety disorder is and how real anxiety disorder functions. Stress can cause many mental health issues but is not a mental health disorder of its own. Anxiety, on the other hand, manifests in different forms and is often co-occurring with substance use disorders.
- Excessive amounts of worry and concern: Definitively, an anxiety disorder is marked by experiencing anxious thoughts almost every day for six months. Stress can cause anxiety. Comparatively, anxiety is stressful. Experiencing an extra load of stress can cause you to worry days on end without relief. The defining difference is that anxiety interferes with the ability to perform daily functions. Operating under stress is something that most people do. Living with anxiety is significantly different. Excessive amounts of worry and concern can disrupt your ability to be present in life and meet its demands.
- Insomnia or other sleep problems: Stress can keep anyone awake at night. Ruminating thoughts, stressful thinking, and concern without the ability to let it go can cause insomnia. Anxiety disorder has this as a regular occurrence. More importantly, while stress can get far ahead of itself, late night thoughts of anxiety are usually rooted in irrational fears.
- Afraid of the irrational: Phobias are a kind of anxiety disorder. Stress and fear are different from one another. Though anxiety can involve a lot of stress, it mostly involves irrational fears. Taking a worry and running with it into the abyss of stress and concern in the mind is a hallmark trait of an anxiety disorder, compared to stress.
- Irregular or irritable bowels: Stress manifests psychosomatically in different ways. Meaning, that the body can physically manifest psychological stress. Anxiety lives in constant muscle tension, migraines, and headaches. Anxiety can also disrupt the bowels. Irritable bowel syndrome is often linked to anxiety.
- Severe self-consciousness: One of the manifestations of anxiety is social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder prevents millions of people from interacting authentically with their peers, family members, or pursuing romantic relationships. Feeling severely insecure becomes an overwhelming fear of rejection, humiliation, and abandonment.
Aurora Recovery Centre is a dual diagnosis treatment program providing residential treatment to men and women seeking recovery from anxiety and co-occurring substance use issues. Let us light the pathway to lifelong recovery. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.