The Difference Between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
We all experience moments of anxiety in our lives.
It’s completely normal to get butterflies in your stomach when you need to give a big presentation at work or feel your heart start to race when having a tough conversation with a friend.
Small amounts of anxiety can help keep us safe, and pushing through nervous feelings to do the things that scare us can be rewarding.
But how do you know when your anxiety is becoming a serious problem?
Here at KMA, we know how easy it can be to brush off anxiety as “just the nerves.” But whether or not you have a formal diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, you deserve support to manage your anxious feelings.
We’ve gathered the information you need to understand your anxious feelings and explore whether they might be an indicator of a deeper issue.
After reading this article, you’ll know the difference between feeling anxious and an anxiety disorder, the types of anxiety disorders, and how to get support for whatever type of anxiety you’re facing.
What's the Difference Between Feeling Anxious and an Anxiety Disorder?
Any type of anxiety you may be experiencing can cause feelings of discomfort and nervousness.
However, when these feelings are out of proportion to a given situation or are interfering with your ability to enjoy daily life, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
You may be experiencing an anxiety disorder if your anxiety is:
- Much greater than makes sense for a given situation
- Stopping you from doing things you want to do
- Interfering with your sleeping or eating habits
- Causing excessive worry about future events
- Negatively impacting your daily life
While these might indicate that you’re experiencing an anxiety disorder, they can also happen in response to one specific event (also known as situational anxiety).
Ultimately, anxiety disorders must be diagnosed by a mental health professional.
Want to learn more about what kind of anxiety you're dealing with? Take our free Anxiety 101 Quiz to get the answers you need.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Several types of anxiety disorders can impact different areas of your life. They can interfere with your social life and make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks.
Types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
Regardless of what type of anxiety disorder you may be facing, finding a therapist for anxiety can be a great first step to getting the treatment that will work best for you.
Treatments for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
There are different types of therapies that can support you in managing anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Anxiety therapy will equip you with strategies to manage fear and panic, help you get to the root cause of your anxiety, and set you up for success in managing anxiety.
Therapies for anxiety include:
- Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy
- Mindfulness-based Therapy
- Existential Psychotherapy
Speaking with a therapist can help you to determine what type of therapy will work best for you.
Next Steps for Dealing with Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
After reading this article, you now have an understanding of the difference between feeling anxious, and when those feelings interfere with your life to the point of becoming an anxiety disorder.
You also understand the different types of anxiety disorders and treatment options for whichever type of anxiety you’re facing.
Here at KMA, our team of therapists has a range of experience with anxiety counselling, ranging from general feelings of anxiety to specified anxiety disorders.
We're here to support you in finding the best type of treatment for your anxiety.
Learn more about therapy at KMA by exploring our Anxiety Therapy page.
Our introductory appointment will help you explore when your anxiety began, what your current coping mechanisms are, and what you want your life to look like after anxiety therapy.
If you’re not yet ready to book an introductory appointment, check out these resources for more information:
- To learn more about therapy options, read: The 5 Best Types of Therapy for Anxiety
- To learn how to find a therapist close to you, read: How to Find a Therapist for Anxiety in Toronto
- To learn more about your first therapy session, read: What Should I Expect in a Therapy Introductory Appointment