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What's the difference between anxiety and stress?

36 Answers
Last Updated: 06/10/2019 at 4:14am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Tracy-Kate Teleke, M.A., LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I assist adults and couples in CA experiencing relationship challenges and interpersonal struggles including anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other life challenges.

Top Rated Answers
September 11th, 2014 6:34am
Stress can cause anxiety, and anxiety can cause stress. The difference, I suppose, in how we deal with it and how it affects us. Stress can cause us to work harder and improve in small quantities, but even small amounts of anxiety can render us helpless, and that's one of the scariest differences, I think.
September 11th, 2014 2:59am
Stress and anxiety are different because stress is something that can be used as a great motivating power. Stress is your mind being preoccupied with situations in your life, job, family, etc. Anxiety becomes a form of stress that can be unhealthy: for me it's often a precursor to panic attacks. Anxiety leaves me feeling very overwhelmed, nervous, or tired. Stress just makes me preoccupied.
October 29th, 2014 1:35am
Stress occurs with everyone, and happens when there is a problem or something interrupting or affecting your life. Such as a test, a lot of homework, or fighting with friends or family. Anxiety is more on a regular basis and is individualized depending on what makes you anxious.
June 3rd, 2015 3:59am
Anxiety is the physical symptoms that stress can cause after a long period of time. Stress over time can cause anxiety to build.
November 7th, 2014 9:02pm
Difference between stress and anxiety is that, while stress is a response to a specific stressor, anxiety has no identifiable root.
October 26th, 2014 10:11pm
Anxiety is a consistent persistent feeling that reacts to stress. Stress is what happens when you live.
November 3rd, 2014 1:25pm
Anxiety is the foreboding feeling of dread before a situation, whereas Stress is the feeling you have within a situation.
December 7th, 2015 9:44pm
Great question! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress". Basically, that means stress is how you feel when things aren't going well, where anxiety is the worry that things might not go well.
September 12th, 2014 5:25pm
Stress is generally produced by one's circumstances in life. Anxiety can happen with no trigger, and can also be triggered by basically anything. Stress is usually not, or need not be, chronic, as anxiety unfortunately often is.
October 24th, 2014 4:07pm
Anxiety will rip you apart slowly and kill every happy thought you have ever had, push away the people you love and leave you alone. Stress will eat you up from the inside and make you lash out at the people closest to you but it eventually goes away.
October 30th, 2014 1:46pm
Stress is caused by specific situations all together at the same time, anxiety is an emotion of the human brain.
October 31st, 2014 6:19pm
Now I'm not saying everyone doesn't get anxiety at some time or another, but anxiety is usually a diagnosed "mental condition", although I like to refer to is as something that makes one more unique. But lets look at this as an equation type thing.. stress usually leads to anxiety, so stress+stress+stress=anxiety attack. In my experience anxiety attacks happen from either a trigger or just loads of stress you can't get rid of.
November 3rd, 2014 12:38am
Anxiety is a racing feeling, as if you're desperately trying to escape;stress is a nagging pressure.
November 3rd, 2014 1:19am
Stress is a natural reaction to difficult situations; it tends to last as long as the trigger does. Anxiety is ongoing and often without cause.
May 4th, 2015 12:03am
Stress is usually directly caused by an idea or event, like feeling like you have too much work to do. It can have physical effects like headaches, fatigue, and overall grumpy-ness. Anxiety has very different physical symptoms than stress; anxiety attacks, hyperventilation, pacing, feeling jittery, nauseated, etc. Anxiety is worrying about what could happen, and often times becoming very fixated on only the negative outcomes. This means that anxiety feels a lot more like fear, while stress often just wears you out.
May 24th, 2016 11:09pm
Anxiety occurs more often and is caused my multiple things in your life. Stress is for a short period of time and is caused by only one or two things.
October 4th, 2016 1:45pm
Stress comes from the pressures we feel in life, as we are pushed by work or any other task that puts undue pressure on our minds and body, adrenaline is released, extended stay of the hormone causes depression, a rise in the blood pressure and other negative changes and effects. One of these negative effects is anxiety. With anxiety, fear overcomes all emotions accompanied by worry and apprehension, making a person a recluse and a bagful of jitters. Other symptoms are chest pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath and panic.
May 9th, 2017 12:47pm
Stress is for example, when you are at a very busy work place and there is a lot going on. But anxiety is if you are, for example, in a room filled with strangers and you feel like they are all staring at you and your heart starts racing. Very similar to being nervous.
November 14th, 2014 2:16pm
anxiety is it is the process during which a person becomes scared and apprehensive of what lays ahead, and often manifests itself in physical problems like pain, dizziness and panic attacks. Stress is a response to a threat in a situation
November 16th, 2014 2:45am
Stress and anxiety share some of the same symptoms. However, with stress we know what is stressing us out and may be able to fix it. Whereas with anxiety we may not exactly know what you're anxious about in the moment and the different type of reaction to it becomes the problem.
April 3rd, 2015 6:44pm
The cause of acute stress is distinctly different from the cause of anxiety . Anxiety and stress are often used interchangeably, even though they’re two different experiences.
May 21st, 2015 11:54pm
Stress and anxiety are very similar, though in my opinion anxiety is worse than stress and can be harder to deal with.
December 28th, 2015 12:19pm
Stress is the way to anxiety and it means when you are feeling fatigued about something which will cause anxiety. Anxiety means when you are anxious about the simplest things for a long period of time for example a day
December 29th, 2015 9:50am
The difference between them are: 1)Anxiety is a voluntary trigger of one's brain, whereas stress in an involuntary trigger of one's brain 2)Anxiety can be neutralised by one's brain by positive thinking but,on the other hand stress can be neutralised by one's body involuntarily, i.e automatically.
February 16th, 2016 3:56am
Everyone goes through stress throughout your life. I think many would say every goes through anxiety, but anxiety is diagnosable and more specific. Anxiety is more of an uncontrollable worry, nervousness, and unease. Stress is emotional or mental strain resulting from difficult or demanding circumstances. They are very similar, most people, especially that don't experience them do not understand the difference.
May 30th, 2016 2:46pm
Anxiety and stress are 2 very different things, that are often mistaken for each other because their symptoms are very similar. Anxiety is commonly caused by fear within your mind, while stress is commonly caused by external activities such as work or school
July 12th, 2016 5:11am
Anxiety is a condition and feeling, and stress is usually just a feeling. Anxiety can come in many forms such as PTSD, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and OCD. Anxiety usually comes with a feeling of dread, and can affect your behavior a lot more than just stess would.
August 30th, 2016 11:57pm
Everyone experiences both stress and anxiety. The difference is that stress is a response to specific situations, where anxiety is reaction to that stress
September 19th, 2016 10:54pm
Anxiety is a clinical disorder while stress is experienced by everyone at least once in their life. Anxiety and stress both have characteristics of physical and psychological components, but anxiety disorders get in the way of your life and lead to people avoiding things or not being able to live a full life. Anxiety is often uncontrollable and illogical. Stress is usually based upon something logical, like worrying about getting homework done, and is controllable without the help of a therapist or anti depressants.
September 20th, 2016 7:08am
Anxiety is a quickness in mind and body where as stress is the crushing of the mind and thoughts. Stress can create anxiety though.