Is it normal stress or anxiety? How to tell the difference and get the anxiety treatment you need

“I’m feeling anxious.” “I am so stressed right now.” You may have said these statements or heard someone say them. The challenges in life can be so burdensome and overwhelming that you may wonder if you are experiencing regular stress or if it is something more severe like anxiety. These overpowering feelings can strain your relationships or impact your job, so you must understand the difference between the two to get anxiety treatment if warranted.

So what is stress?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress is a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. It can be caused by time constraints, medical or physical concerns, financial issues, relationship issues or even living conditions. Stress is felt by everyone but can manifest itself differently. Some persons may suffer from headaches or back pain related to stress, others may grind their teeth, and others may have inflammation. We cannot avoid stress, so learning how to manage it is vital to minimize the physical and emotional effects on our bodies.

Exploring Anxiety

In a video for Anxiety Canada, Dr. Michel J. Dugas, a Professor of Psychology at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, defined anxiety as the body’s natural response to the perception of danger or a fearful event which happens inappropriately on occasion. Anxiety is often more than feeling concerned. It can be a chronic condition which affects daily life.

Anxiety can result in anxiety disorders requiring treatment to manage the symptoms. You may feel anxiety but may not be suffering from an anxiety disorder. For example, getting on a plane may make you anxious but does not prevent you from flying. Someone suffering from an anxiety disorder related to flying will not be able to get on a plane and will need anxiety treatment.

How to recognize anxiety?

Common signs of anxiety are shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, sweaty palms or dizziness.

While the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety can overlap, stress is related to external factors and disappears when the stressor is removed from the situation. Anxiety can persist even if the trigger is no longer there and there is no more need to worry. It can also impact and reduce daily functions.

So how can anxiety be treated?

Anxiety treatment can be in the form of psychotherapy or medications. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a popular type of therapy for anxiety, helps you to identify your negative thought patterns, challenge them and reduce the relevant behavioural responses to the stressor.Many types of medication, like benzodiazepines and beta-blockers, help reduce anxiety symptoms like panic attacks and irregular heartbeat.

Anxiety Treatment In Toronto

At Talm Therapy, we provide the support and guidance you need to create lasting change.
We provide therapy for anxiety that is:

Diverse & inclusive – Our therapists are warm, empathetic, highly-trained mental health professionals with a wide variety of lived experiences.

Process-focused and results based – We regularly check-in to see if we are making progress on your goals and seek feedback after each session to make sure we’re constantly adapting to your needs.

Comprehensive – Our therapists participate in group supervision, engage in gold-standard professional development programs, and regularly coordinate with a lead psychiatrist to optimize care.

Our therapists are trained in over seven clinical approaches and work with over 50 conditions. We use compassion, consistent motivation and a proven path forward.

Get the support you need to make the change you crave.