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How is an anxious disorder different from just feeling anxious or worried?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 11/08/2021 at 10:58pm
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Caroline Middelsdorf, MSc.


I am a warm hearted, patient, calm and open-minded therapist. I am here to dedicate my expertises to my clients and their individual challenges, thoughts and feelings.

Top Rated Answers
January 15th, 2015 11:34am
For something to be classified as a disorder, it has to be able to disrupt with your daily functioning.
February 9th, 2015 2:38am
An anxiety disorder would feel debilitating. It would be what you think about most of the time and keep you from living life as you "normally" would.
April 9th, 2015 4:59pm
Anxious disorder is when it is medically treated just being anxious is normal in some cases. If it is a major problem seek advice from a counselor.
July 7th, 2015 2:38pm
An anxiety disorder is much more frequent and disruptive of daily life than simply feeling anxious or worried. A good way I've heard it explained, is having an anxiety disorder is like missing a stair when walking downstairs or almost tripping and falling, except it feels like that all the time.
November 3rd, 2015 8:15am
Anxious Disorder is a disorder, so that's more to deal with than just feeling anxious. When we are anxious, it's a feeling & thoughts we are having, When out;s disorder its more than that
November 3rd, 2015 10:14pm
A disorder's longevity is higher than being anxious/worried. Being anxious/worried is more of a temporary feeling. A disorder can last longer if not cured.
May 9th, 2016 11:41pm
With an anxious/anxiety disorder you worry more than average and sometimes have anxiety attacks. That's the best I can describe it
April 18th, 2017 8:47pm
The biggest difference between the feeling of anxiety and an anxiety disorder is that anxiety disorders impact your whole life. If you have an anxiety disorder, you are very likely to be struggling with day-to-day life. Schoolwork, relationships, your well-being - they will all be affected and will affect you negatively.
May 16th, 2017 1:45pm
Anxiety disorders ruin someones day to day life, simple things become too difficult! However on the flip side general feelings of anxiety and worry are easier to deal with, they do not affect your life or health and are more manageable to deal with. Plus, sometimes it's natural to feel worried and stressed. Hope this helps :)
January 30th, 2018 7:01am
It becomes a disorder if it is happening frequently and interfering with your daily life. If it is very occasional before a big event, then it is just feeling anxious.
May 7th, 2018 7:07pm
A singer might be anxious about a performance, but does her anxiety stop her from going on stage? A student might feel worried about a test, but does that stop him from studying? Anxiety is a normal feeling, but when it regularly stops up from participating in our own lives, then it's time to start reaching out for support.
April 21st, 2020 8:14pm
Everyone will experience anxiety from time to time. The demands and stress of life may even make experiencing anxiety more frequent. So it can be tough to tell the difference between normal anxiety and a condition like social anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. If anxiety is affecting you or someone you know, it’s important to learn the difference. In general, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. In fact, it can be a good thing. Anxiety motivates you to accomplish your assignments, to study harder for a test and it can warn you when you’re in a dangerous situation. It informs you to be extra vigilant about your environment — to fight or flee. An anxiety disorder, however, involves intense and excessive anxiety, along with other debilitating symptoms. Here are several key differences: • Stressor. Usually normal anxiety occurs in response to a stressor, such as an exam, an upcoming interview, a fight with a friend or a new job. When you struggle with an anxiety disorder you’re anxious almost or all of the time, yet there are times when you can’t spot the source of the stress. For instance, people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) — there are six types of anxiety disorders — can have a difficult time just getting through the day. Even seemingly small responsibilities, like paying the bills, make them feel anxious. • Intensity and Length. An anxiety disorder also produces intense and excessive emotional responses. Even if you’re reacting to a stressor, your anxiety is disproportionate to that stressor. Many people are on edge before an exam, but a person with an anxiety disorder might be anxious several weeks beforehand, and will experience intense symptoms right before and during the exam. Also, normal anxiety is fleeting, while an anxiety disorder is ongoing and the feelings can last weeks or months. • Other symptoms. Excessive anxiety and worry aren’t the only symptoms that accompany an anxiety disorder. There are other physical symptoms, too: dizziness, light-headedness, sweating, trembling, heart pounding, headaches and nausea. You feel like you can’t breathe, can’t talk or have to go to the bathroom frequently. People with anxiety also report feeling detachment or disconnected from reality. They feel like they can’t think straight and have difficulty concentrating. Other psychological symptoms are also present. Individuals experience racing or negative thoughts, are unable to concentrate and have worries about day-to-day things. • Impairment. When you struggle with an anxiety disorder, it affects your entire life. It impairs or interferes with your schoolwork, job and daily life. Avoidance is a symptom of some anxiety disorders and can be quite debilitating. In other words, the anxiety can cause you to avoid normal activities. You might skip class, miss a test, stop going to work, procrastinate grocery shopping or avoid anything that makes you feel anxious. If It’s Excessive Anxiety If you’re struggling with overwhelming anxiety and you can relate to some of the above, don’t hesitate to seek help. First, know that you’re not alone. About 40 million adults in America have an anxiety disorder. Secondly, anxiety disorders are treatable. In fact, they’re one of the most treatable conditions of all emotional disorders. If you’re concerned you might be dealing with an anxiety disorder, take this anonymous screening tool ;
November 8th, 2021 10:58pm
The difference is that with an anxious disorder it is more chronic, it happens very often if not daily. All people have anxiety but this can be for a specific reason such as being anxious for a first date or the results of a important exam. You experience it in just those small time periods and is not a constant issue like that of a disorder. With a disorder it impacts their life daily, it makes small task seem impossible. Such as having to walk into a grocery store can trigger their disorder and cause them severe anxiety. It can be debilitating for them.