Are You Anxious, Stressed or Depressed?
Anxiety, stress and depression are all termed as anxiety disorders. Sometimes when you are feeling down and lonely, you describe yourself as feeling depressed. Other times you may describe yourself as being ‘stressed to the max’ and then at other times you may be feeling anxious and panicky. Often these terms have been used interchangeably as most people have no idea what the differences between stress, anxiety and depression really are.
So what is anxiety, stress and depression? What is the difference when it is not just occasionally?
To help you have a better understanding, here are some of the distinct qualities of each of these three conditions.
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Stress as we know is a part of life. It is our normal reaction to different situations where we feel exposed to pressure or tension. In fact, stress is part of our innate ‘fight or flight’ response necessary for our safety and for us to be able to take action against imminent danger.
During primitive times, stress is felt whenever a human being was exposed to the dangers of the wild. Although today we do not have to kill or fight against the dangers of these wild animals the feeling that our ancestors had is just as similar as ours today.
Stress serves us man’s driving force to make him become motivated to achieve his goals in life. The causes of stress may vary from one person to another. Each person has a different way of dealing with stress. Stress can also bring about many physiological reactions referred to as the fight or flee response.
For example, a person who is experiencing high stress levels will find themself experiencing rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, muscle tension, nervousness and many other symptoms of stress.
People who are plagued with anxiety will find themselves constantly ‘worried’. A person who is in a state of anxiety will experience feeling of uneasiness, fear and nervousness and extreme stress. This is so true especially if a person is constantly exposed to highly stressful situations.
If a person always feels worried that something is wrong or nervous about events or people, then they may be suffering from anxiety. If the anxiety escalates at certain times where they just want to run and hide or even feel like they are going to die…they may also be experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks.
Unfortunately, anxiety attacks are far more ‘mentally’ dangerous than one may think. Many visits in the hospital’s emergency room are caused by anxiety attacks usually mistaken to be a heart attack. This is because the symptoms of anxiety are very similar to a heart attack such as chest pain, difficulty breathing and thoughts of imminent death – just to name a few.
Depression is different from stress and anxiety because it is often harder to spot. Many people make the mistake of describing themselves as “depressed” when in reality they are just feeling sad. A person who is in a state of depression will have constant feelings of hopelessness, anger and despair.
You will often see them becoming weak and with lowered levels of productivity. They may easily become overwhelmed with daily pressures and simple tasks. For people who are suffering from depression, it is often too hard for them to find enjoyment in anything they do. They often feel that all happiness has been sucked from their life. If left unchecked, symptoms of depression can and have lead to suicide.
If you think you are experiencing too much stress, anxiety or if you think you are going through depression it would be best to seek professional help right away. Never suffer in silence. Please believe that there are many ways to reclaim your life.
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