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Normal Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorder

What are you anxious about? 

  • An upcoming exam or interview?
  • A not-so-ideal doctor’s report on your physical health?
  • Due date on a project at work?
  • Or does everything uncertain in life keep you up at night and worry?

What exactly is normal anxiety vs anxiety disorder?

Typical anxiety is a built-in instinctive response to stress; it keeps us alert to danger and other threats and prepares us to react so we can get out of dangerous situations. We call it the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. When the stressor is over, anxiety usually goes away as well. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Manageable anxiety from time to time can motivate you, such as to prepare for an exam or to meet deadlines.

Normal anxiety is proportional.

  1. Is related to a specific situation
  2. Goes away when the situation is resolved
  3. Is a realistic response to the situation

When anxiety becomes overwhelming and unmanageable, unrealistic, and excessive, it becomes disabling. It may last several months and reach diagnostic levels when it lasts 6 months or longer. It is then classed as an anxiety disorder and gets in the way of daily functioning. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.

Pay attention when:

  • You experience anxiety unexpectedly
  • The anxiety is out of proportion
  • The worry becomes so unrealistic that it goes on like a chain reaction 
  • The anxiety continues to stick with you even after the stressful situation has passed
  • You feel you can not control your worry
  • You even avoid things or situations that might trigger your anxiety
  • You feel trapped by thoughts and feelings
  • Anxiety causes lots of uncomfortable physical sensations

Normal Anxiety may develop into an anxiety disorder. However, the good news is that anxiety can be treated effectively!

Reach out if you are concerned about the anxiety in your life! We look forward to helping you overcome it.

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