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Is It Stress Or An Anxiety Disorder? How To Tell The Difference

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Therapy Blog for Counseling in Sacramento - Relationship Therapy Center

Is It Stress Or An Anxiety Disorder? How To Tell The Difference

Nancy Ryan

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Everyone gets stressed out. It is entirely normal to experience worry and stress from time to time. However, not everyone who is stressed has an anxiety disorder. It can be hard to tell whether or not your stress has turned into a full-blown anxiety disorder. Here are some signs that it might be an anxiety disorder.

#1 The Worry Occurs More Often Than Not  

If you are worried and stressed more often than not, then you might have an anxiety disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (or DSM-5), which is used to diagnose anxiety disorders, a person must have excessive worry and anxiety that occurs for more days than not to be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder — the most common anxiety disorder among adults.

#2 It’s Uncontrollable

It's midnight, and you can't stop worrying about the presentation you have to do tomorrow. You try to put it out of your mind, but that doesn't work. So, you get out of bed and practice it over and over again. Does this sound familiar? Do you feel like you can't control your anxiety no matter how much you want to? When you cannot set aside the worry, then it might be an anxiety disorder — mainly if it affects your sleep or other areas of life.

#3 You Can’t Focus

Has your worry gotten to the point where it is affecting your ability to focus on tasks at hand? Having trouble concentrating is one of the most common signs of an anxiety disorder. If you frequently have difficulty paying attention, then there is a good chance that you could have an anxiety disorder.

#4  You Constantly Feel Exhausted

Feeling worn out or exhausted is another sign of an anxiety disorder. If you have an anxiety disorder, you might experience persistent symptoms of exhaustion that does not go away no matter how much sleep or rest you get.

#5  Your Muscles Are Always Tense

Anxiety disorders often impact the body. A sign that anxiety is affecting your body is muscle tension. When you are always worried, you may unconsciously clench your muscles. As a result, you might feel like your muscles are always tight.

#6 Feeling Restless

Do you constantly feel on edge or restless? This could signal an anxiety disorder. The constant worry can cause you to feel restless. You might often fidget or tap your feet repeatedly. A restlessness that interferes with work or sleep definitely could be caused by an anxiety disorder.

What To Do If You Have Signs Of An Anxiety Disorder

So, what should you do if you have very many of the above signs of an anxiety disorder? The best thing is to reach out to a counselor in Roseville, CA. Therapists have a bunch of tools to help you manage anxiety disorders, including psychotherapy, muscle relaxation training, breathing exercises and more. If it is a relationship that is causing anxiety, we also have relationship counseling for one to help you manage your anxiety.


The Relationship Therapy Center in Roseville and Fair Oaks CA provides individual anxiety treatment. Check out our blog for lots of useful tips for managing anxiety.

Lori Hunter, LMFT

Lori Hunter, LMFT

Lori Hunter, provides counseling for individuals dealing with stress and anxiety as well as couples who need more skills in improving their marriage. She sees clients in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA.  Please contact us at 916-426-2757 to book an appointment.