Normal anxiety is a standard body reaction to different types of circumstances and events in life. For instance, you may feel anxious before an exam, job interview, and conflict with someone, among others.
Also, anxiety is when your body alerts you to respond in anticipation of a potentially dangerous situation or threat. It prepares your body to defend itself to escape or react quickly to a hazardous condition.
However, a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is when your anxious thoughts and behaviors interfere with your normal activities. For instance, a person with GAD can be afraid of traveling, going to public places, meeting with people, among others. Usually, characteristics of anxiety disorders include severe physical symptoms, intense apprehension, and nervous feelings that last for long without apparent cause.
When you learn to recognize the symptoms of normal anxiety and its disorders, you can differentiate between the two conditions. The following tips will help you to distinguish between them.
Identify the Timing
Normal anxiety levels may happen right before or during an occasion. Usually, it is reasonable to feel stressed or nervous due to the threatening situation. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, symptoms will take place days or weeks even before an event begins. During this period, you will feel anxious more than the condition warrants.
For instance, if you are anxious about an examination, an average person will only be concerned around the time of the exams. However, a person with an anxiety disorder will start feeling anxious a week or so before the exam date. The condition can also persist even after finishing the exam.
Evaluate its Duration and the Source
Normal anxiety takes place when a stressor is surrounding you. Usually, it will cease once a danger, or a threat disappears, or when the body gets used to the condition. However, if you are struggling with anxiety disorder, you will experience it because of a stressor, which never seems to go away.
Anxiety happening due to an anxiety disorder usually last for several weeks or months, while normal anxiety lasts between hours and a few days.
Additionally, normal anxiety occurs for many different reasons, and due to everyday situations. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may feel anxious for no apparent reason or due to something that may not be a significant concern to others.
Establish if the Anxiety Interferes with Your Normal Life
Normal anxiety will not interfere with your daily activities or anything that you want to do. Anxiety disorders often hinder your everyday life. For example, this disorder can make you cancel important meetings to avoid social confrontations or skip other crucial events. Also, you may evade attending places because you fear people judging you or being afraid of embarrassment or humiliation.
Talk to Your Doctor if you Think you Have Anxiety Disorder
Almost everybody can relate to anxiety symptoms since everyone has experienced it at one time in life. If you feel your condition might be a significant concern related to the above signs, it is crucial to seek advice from your doctor. Usually, a professional psychologist will diagnose and treat all anxiety disorders.