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The difference between stress and generalized anxiety disorder

The difference between stress and generalized anxiety disorder

The difference between stress and generalized anxiety disorder

Many people think that stress and anxiety are the same thing. However, there are some differences between them. On the one hand, It's difficult to identify the differences between stress and anxiety. Because both of them can lead to sleepless, exhaustion, excessive worry, inattention, and hard to control temper.

Even have similar physical symptoms — such as rapid heart rate and muscle tension. Because these symptoms are so similar, people often confuse with them. It also adds to the confusion it -- when we should  work on deep breathing to stress relief and when we should  seek professional help to relieve anxiety.


Stress is your body’s reaction to a trigger. In general, it is usually a short-term experience, you can overcome it soon. You can experience two types of stress: good and bad.

When stress helps you handle problems, such as if you would like to fix a challenging situation, can focus us, and can urge us to problem-solve, it’s good. But when stress results in insomnia, poor concentration, and cannot do the things you normally do, it’s bad. In short, stress is a response to a threat in any given situation.


Anxiety is your body’s natural threat response to stress and worry is. If you are worrying excessively most days over a six-month period and have physical symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder, and can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.

Stress symptoms

There are many emotional and physical disorders associated with stress, including depression, anxiety, heart disease, obesity and even hypertension, etc. Persistent stress can cause serious damage to the mind and body at high levels. Here have some common symptoms.

  • Frequent headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling dizzy, faint or lightheaded
  • Sweaty palms or feet
  • No appetite
  • Irritability
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Excessive worrying
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty quieting the mind
  • Poor concentration
  • Forgetfulness

Symptoms of stress can vary and change over time. Prompting your own reactions to stress can help you increase your awareness of how stress manifests itself.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is defined by excessive anxiety and worry (about some event or activity) lasting at least six months. And they will experience specific chronic emotional and physical symptoms, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach upset
  • Expecting danger
  • Feeling of dread
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Psychosomatic symptoms: headache, stomach pain, dizziness, pins, and needles

Everyone may experience periods of increased stress, and sometimes stress can feel overwhelming. It is important to learn how to manage your stress and when to seek help. 

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