While the terms stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, and while there’s some overlap in the symptoms, they actually don’t mean the same thing. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 5% of the household population, while stress is much more common. And the differences don’t stop there. Here’s how to tell one from the other.
DISCLOSURE: This advice is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Always seek medical advice that is specific to you and your situation.
Same coin, different sides
What is stress?
What is anxiety?
Keep in mind too that there is a difference in feeling anxious and having clinical anxiety. Feeling anxious can happen daily to many of us (i.e. such as when we know we have a public speaking engagement), while clinical anxiety is much more severe, and debilitating, and requires clinical treatment.
Symptoms of stress
- Back pain
- Sleep issues
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Rapid heart rate
- Feeling of overwhelm
- Poor concentration and forgetfulness
- Low energy
Over the long term, stress can take a toll on the body, and is linked to depression, heart attacks, strokes, gastrointestinal issues, hypertension and obesity.
Symptoms of anxiety
- Difficulty quieting your thoughts
- Easily fatigued
- Easily startled
- Excessive sweating
- Chest pain
Over the long term, anxiety can cause impairment in other areas of your life, such as socializing or going out, working or moving about in your day-to-day.