How Is An ‘Anxiety Disorder’ Different To ‘Normal Anxiety’?

Anxiety is a normal feeling when there is something to be anxious about, like a job interview or a deadline at work. It can help you focus and get the job done. Once the interview or deadline is over, the anxiety passes, and life returns to normal.

Anxiety is a normal result of stress, which impulses to do something to get to safety, in the right situation it can save our lives. When we can’t turn the anxiety down, it can lead to a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). In the U.S. about 8% of women and 4.6% of men will suffer from GAD at some point in their lives.

People living with generalised anxiety can feel that they are in a living hell, lying awake at night worrying about all kinds of things. Worrying that their child will not come home from school, that they will lose their job and then lose their house. Thoughts spiral into the worst possible case scenario. Often, they KNOW they are being irrational, but they can’t turn it off. 

To manage the anxiety, they may feel they have to overcompensate to prevent terrible things happening. They become incredibly stressed about work deadlines and may start to avoid anxiety provoking situations like travel, work promotions, and exams. This is where quality of life can be negatively affected.

Over time, the anxiety can start to show up as stomach aches, headaches and other physical issues. If you feel you may have GAD, please get some help. You are not alone.

This is not intended to be used for diagnosis.