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Stress vs Anxiety: What’s the Difference?

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Although they can both become chronic in nature, stress and anxiety are both natural human emotions. According to research, situations that are unpredictable and beyond a person’s control are more likely to cause chronic stress, which is also true for anxiety disorders. Keep reading to learn about the differences and similarities between these two conditions.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 11, 2023

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Stress vs Anxiety

Anxiety and depression difference: The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interferes with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.


Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.


6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health


Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Stress vs Anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Anxiety Vs Stress: Early Stage Anxiety Stress Hives

Although the phrases stress and anxiety are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two. Stress is a typical body reaction that the brain and nervous system cue and is typically brought on by an occasion or circumstance. When the stress response happens too frequently, lasts too long, or is out of proportion to the event, anxiety might set in.

Although they can both become chronic in nature, stress and anxiety are both natural human emotions. According to research, situations that are unpredictable and beyond a person’s control are more likely to cause chronic stress, which is also true for anxiety disorders. Chronic stress and anxiety can both have negative effects that are similar.

Any demand made on your body or mind is a source of stress. It might be triggered by any situation or occurrence that frustrates or stresses you out.

A sense of anxiety is one of fear, worry, or unease. It might happen as a result of stress, but it can also happen for no apparent reason.

Most of the symptoms of stress and anxiety are the same, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability or anger

Most people at some point feel some level of tension and worry, and that isn’t always a “bad” thing. After all, tension and anxiety can occasionally serve as a motivator to complete challenging activities or engage in undesirable behavior (but really should).

However, if left unchecked, stress and worry can start to negatively impact your daily life and your mental and physical health. Find out more about stress and anxiety, how they differ, and where to get help managing them.

Depression Anxiety Stress Test & Anxiety Stress Depression Test (Stress vs Anxiety Test)

Take this anxiety quiz to know how likely it is for you to have this disorder (Stress Anxiety Depression Test)

This brief test will help determine if you may need to see a mental health professional for the diagnosis and treatment of an anxiety disorder. Only a mental health professional can accurately diagnose chronic anxiety, and if needed, recommend a treatment plan.

1. Do you often worry more than you should about various aspects of your life, such as your personal finances, your job security, or the health and welfare of your loved ones?

 
 

2. Do you find it challenging to manage your worry while carrying out your obligations at work, home, or school?

 
 

3. Do you think you struggle more than most people do in social settings, such as when speaking and engaging with others in person or over the phone?

 
 

4. Do you avoid social situations out of fear that you’ll say or do something embarrassing that would make people reject you? Examples include refraining from speaking in public, going to job interviews, or asking for help.

 
 

5. Do you frequently experience periods of extreme panic and physical symptoms that seem to come on suddenly and for no apparent reason? Increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, nausea, upset stomach, feelings of heat or cold, and tingling in the hands or feet are just a few symptoms.

 
 

Are Stress and Anxiety The Same Thing? How to tell whether you’re experiencing stress or anxiety?

Stress vs. anxiety: Not sure if your symptoms are being caused by stress or anxiety? Take a step back and consider what is happening in your life at this time. What types of things worry you the most? Are there particular threats or occurrences?

Stress vs anxiety vs depression: Think about automobile problems. Perhaps you are aware that you require new tires, especially given the onset of winter. However, you currently lack the funds to replace them. You won’t feel comfortable behind the wheel for the ensuing few weeks. What happens if you slip on some ice? What if you have a flat on that bad reception road on your way home from a late-night shift?

A few weeks later, you have brand-new tires and are no longer concerned with making it to and from work safely. Your anxiety in this situation was brought on by stress brought on by having worn tires.

However, it’s possible that you acquire new tires and your symptoms don’t actually change. Driving still makes you anxious, and you experience an ethereal disquiet that you can’t quite put your finger on. Or perhaps there was never a problem with your tires in the first place, but you are still uneasy about driving. Anxiety would be that.

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What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety? Symptoms Of Anxiety And Stress

Stress and anxiety can produce a range of physical and psychological symptoms.

Stress symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive issues, including nausea and diarrhea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger or irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increased sweating
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased heart rate

Anxiety can involve the same symptoms as stress, in addition to:

  • A feeling of impending doom
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Brain fog

Is Stress And Anxiety The Same Thing? Difference Between Anxiety And Stress

There is a distinct trigger present, which is the main distinction between stress and anxiety. Stress is frequently connected to a certain circumstance. Your stress will disappear after the problem is resolved.

Perhaps you are anxious about taking an impending exam. Or perhaps you’re juggling three young children who are vying for your attention as you work from home. Your tension has a distinct source in each situation. Your stress begins to subside as soon as the exam is finished or your kids go back to daycare.

However, this does not imply that stress is always transient. Chronic stress is a term used to describe persistent stress brought on by ongoing strain, such as a demanding job or a family dispute. In contrast, anxiety sometimes lacks a clear-cut stressor.

Anxiety Stress Rash

Simply put, a stress rash is a skin condition brought on by stress and anxiety. Urticaria, often known as hives, is a typical stress rash reaction. These are raised, itchy lumps that can develop anywhere on the body, including the affected location.

Can Stress Cause Anxiety?

In order to stop the onset of an anxiety condition, it’s crucial to recognize anxiety symptoms as soon as they appear. Stress is a major cause of anxiety. For instance, a panic episode is an anxiety symptom rather than a stress symptom.

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Different Ways to Manage Stress and Anxiety

There are techniques you can employ to make stress and anxiety more tolerable because they are common occurrences. Pay attention to how your body and mind react to situations that cause tension and worry. You’ll be able to predict your response the next time this kind of scenario happens, which might make it less upsetting.

The signs of stress and anxiety may be lessened with certain lifestyle adjustments. These methods can be used in conjunction with anxiety medications.

Over The Counter Medicine For Anxiety And Stress

  • Antihistamines. Most often used to treat allergies, antihistamines typically cause side effects of drowsiness or sedation.
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) 5-HTP, sometimes called tryptophan, is a compound found naturally in the body.
  • Magnesium.
  • CBD.
  • Ashwagandha.
  • Kava.
  • Valerian.
Although they can both become chronic in nature, stress and anxiety are both natural human emotions.
Stress vs Anxiety: Although they can both become chronic in nature, stress and anxiety are both natural human emotions.

Anxiety And Stress Relief Pills & Stress And Anxiety Pills

Benzodiazepines (also known as tranquilizers) are the most widely prescribed type of medication for anxiety. Drugs such as Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam) work quickly, typically bringing relief within 30 minutes to an hour.

What Is The Best Vitamin For Stress And Anxiety? Vitamins For Stress And Anxiety

B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin C, GABA, and 5-HTP are 5 vitamins commonly used to help with anxiety and stress.

Natural Supplements For Anxiety And Stress & Stress And Anxiety Vitamins

Vitamins for anxiety and stress: certain nutritional supplements, such as magnesium, vitamin D, saffron, omega-3s, chamomile, L-theanine, vitamin C, curcumin, CBD, and multivitamins, may help lessen the symptoms of anxiety, according to research.

Best CBD Gummies For Anxiety And StressBest Gummies For Stress And Anxiety

  • Best Overall: Soul CBD.
  • Best USDA Certified: Joy Organics.
  • Research-Backed: Tanasi.
  • Best Reviews: CBDfx.
  • Best Value: CBDistillery.
  • Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp.
  • Great Flavors: Green Roads.
  • Fast-Acting: Kanibi.

Supplements For Anxiety And Stress & Supplements For Stress Anxiety And Depression

Best supplements for stress and anxiety (best supplement for anxiety and stress): Research suggests that certain dietary supplements may help reduce anxiety symptoms, including magnesium, vitamin D, saffron, omega-3s, chamomile, L-theanine, vitamin C, curcumin, CBD, and multivitamins.

Natrol Stress And Anxiety

This is a two-part method created to assist with stress and anxiety alleviation throughout the day and at night. The chemicals in the nighttime recipe are supposed to help you unwind and get a good night’s sleep, while the elements in the daytime formula are meant to assist you reduce tension and encourage relaxation.

Crystals For Anxiety And Stress (Crystals For Stress And Anxiety)

  1. Amethyst – is a popular stone known for its soothing powers and effect on mental clarity.
  2. Black Tourmaline – sends up a tiny shield from electromagnetic frequencies or EMFs. It is said to combat and subdue panic attacks and ease our energy contact with electronic devices and fields.
  3. Rose Quartz – this stone is said to increase the energy of affection and love and can elevate a person’s mind to a state of more self-love.
  4. Lava Stone – a grounding crystal for anxiety.
  5. Hematite – a stone said to be dense enough to ground your body by its heavy frequencies and its interaction with slower energy vibrations.
  6. Smoky Quartz – said to manage and vanquish the state of fear.
  7. Moonstone – a soothing stone associated with feminine energy and the ability to clear static and stress.
  8. Lepidolite – is said to be one of the antidepressants of the crystal world.
  9. Tiger Eye – a popular stone that is said to clear clouded emotions and empower a person to move forward past emotions.
  10. Citrine – cuts through anxiety with its brilliant luminescence and bright energy.

Essential Oils For Stress And Anxiety

  • Best for relaxation: Lavender.
  • Best for sleep: Chamomile.
  • Best for meditation: Orange.
  • Best for anxiety: Sandalwood.
  • Best for stress: Clary sage.
  • Best mood lifter: Lemon.
  • Best for diffusing: Bergamot.
  • Best for topical use: Rose.

Tea For Stress And Anxiety

  • Benefits.
  • Peppermint.
  • Chamomile.
  • Lavender.
  • Valerian.
  • Gotu kola.
  • Lemon balm.
  • Passionflower.

Herbs For Stress And Anxiety

  • Kava.
  • Passion flower.
  • Valerian.
  • Chamomile.
  • Lavender.
  • Lemon balm.

Prayer For Stress And Anxiety

Prayer for anxiety and stress: Loving God, please grant me peace of mind and calm my troubled heart. My soul is like a turbulent sea. I can’t seem to find my balance so I stumble and worry constantly. Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you’ve laid out for me.

Yoga For Anxiety And Stress

When stress or the onset of anxiety symptoms appear, many people turn to yoga. You might discover that paying attention to both your breath and your capacity to be present in each pose will help you calm your mind and improve your mood.

It all comes down to accepting yourself as you are. If you’re open to the practice, performing one or two postures for just a few minutes each day can have a significant influence.

Take note of the sensations that travel through your body as you enter each pose to get the most out of your session. Allow yourself to feel and go through whatever feelings come up.

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Stress vs Anxiety FAQs

  1. How To Sleep With Stress And Anxiety?

    You can fall asleep by reading, listening to music, taking a hot bath before bed, or practicing deep breathing. Get out of bed and do something soothing till you feel tired if you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes after turning in (or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep in 20 minutes).

  2. Can Stress And Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure?

    Anxiety doesn’t cause long-term high blood pressure (hypertension). But episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in blood pressure.

  3. Hair Loss Due To Stress And Anxiety: Is it Possible?

    The connection between anxiety and hair loss is complicated and definitely not what you may expect. However, anxiety sometimes contributes to hair loss and sometimes makes it more challenging to stop hair loss from happening.

  4. How to Get Time Off Work for Stress and Anxiety?

    Inform your company’s human resources division that you would like to take a stress leave that has been granted under the FMLA. They will give you the papers you need, which you must present to your doctor. If you have an anxiety disorder, your psychiatrist will guide you.

  5. Is Stress Anxiety?

    Stress causes both mental and physical symptoms in people, including irritation, rage, exhaustion, muscle pain, digestive issues, and trouble sleeping. Contrarily, anxiety is characterized by excessive worry that persists even in the absence of a stressor.

  6. Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Chest Pain?

    how chest pain results from anxiousness. Your body experiences an adrenaline and cortisol rush when you’re anxious. Your heart rate and blood pressure rapidly increase as soon as these hormones are released. Many people consequently experience chest pain, perspiration, or difficulty breathing.

  7. Are there Anxiety Stress Quotes?

    Yes, here are a few stress and anxiety quotes (stress anxiety quotes):
    – “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”
    – “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.”
    -“I just give myself permission to suck…I find this hugely liberating.”

  8. Are there Bible Verses For Stress And Anxiety?

    Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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