Everyone encounters anxiety or stress. Everyone has phobia or fear. From a young child to an old man, anyone can feel anxious or stressed. All these terms are very common and each one of us is familiar with these terms. But do we know the difference between these terms? Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder?

Stress is the feeling of emotional strain or pressure whereas, Fear is the emotional response to perceived or real threat and Phobia is the extreme fear of specific thing or situation.


The basic definition is the prediction of future threat. It is an emotion that includes feelings of uneasiness, tension, nervousness or worry along with physiological stimulation. However, we know the meaning of anxiety, but do we really understand it? FEELING is the word which will help us understand anxiety. It is not just worry or nervousness. It is constant. It is a feeling which is always around you. Whether, you are in a crowded place or alone, the feeling of anxiety is there. Even a slight thing can become the cause of anxiety. Huge event coming up? Anxiety. Something you need to fix, anxiety. Something you need to tell your parents, anxiety. Going for exam or giving a speech on the stage, anxiety. Whether it is worrying about a situation,  a person or it is just checking every minute to make sure that we have everything that we need in our bag etc. Anxiety is unforeseen. Although, it is constant but is not constantly at its peak. Therefore, anxiety is something which is felt.


It is necessary to note that anxiety to some extent is felt by everyone. But when it impairs our ability to function in vital aspects of life like our workplace, school/college, relationships, we consider it as anxiety disorder. So, when the feeling of anxiety starts interfering with our daily activities and are tough to manage then we see it as anxiety disorder.


Common Symptoms !

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Restless Feeling

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Numbness in hands

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Increased heart rate

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Sleep disturbance

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Concentration issues


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Genetic Factors

Having a history of anxiety disorder in the family then the individual is more vulnerable to anxiety.

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Environmental Factors

Experiencing traumatic events along with consistent stress makes an individual more prone to anxiety.

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Behavioural Factors

Disproportionate use of tobacco or caffeine can increase the risk of anxiety whereas regular exercise can decrease the risk.

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Medical Factors

Encountering frequent illness or going through chronic medical condition can increase the risk of anxiety. Even facing major illness of a loved one can also trigger anxiety.


Various types of anxiety disorders are:

It is a childhood disorder which is characterised by fearful or anxious thoughts of separation from the attachment figures. There is persistent feeling of events that could lead to separation. Nightmares and distress are also experienced as physical symptoms.

It is characterised by a constant failure to speak in social situations even though the person speaks in other situations. It is very common in children. Nervousness, numbness, hyperventilation are the physical symptoms. 

People with this disorder are anxious about particular objects or situations. The feeling of anxiety or avoidance is immediately caused by a phobic situation. Sweating, fainting, breathing problems are physical symptoms.

It is portrayed by the anxious feeling or avoidance of social situations and interactions These include meeting unfamiliar people, situations in which the person may be observed eating or drinking. Persistent feeling of being scrutinized exists. Sweating, palpitations are felt as physical symptoms.

Person encounters recurrent unexpected panic attacks. There is persistent feeling of getting more attacks. Shortness of breath, trembling and shaking can be felt as physical symptoms.

People diagnosed with agoraphobia are anxious about the situations where he thinks that escape is difficult, or help is not available. Such situations are using public transport, being in enclosed spaces, being in a crowd or being outside of the home alone. These situations almost always cause anxiety and are often avoided.

It includes the constant and excessive worry about different activities and even daily routines. The anxiety level is so high that the person finds it difficult to control it. Restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance are the physical symptoms.

It involves anxiety due to Substance intoxication or withdrawal. It also includes anxiety caused due to a medical treatment.



It works on the anxiety symptoms. The most effective psychotherapy for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). It focuses on changing the negative behaviour towards positive. It also helps in regaining the interest in the activities that a person loses due to anxiety.


Sedatives such as benzodiazepines, beta blockers, buspirone, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) can be useful in treatment of anxiety disorders.


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healthy diet

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Daily workout

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proper rest

Prevention of anxious feeling includes awareness of life’s stresses and our abilities to cope with them.
Mansi Mathur
Content Writer