What is anxiety?

People often refer to their anxiety as "feeling stressed out" or "feeling afraid". This is not wrong. Anxiety often involves a great deal of stress and fear. However, from a psychological point of view, conflating anxiety with stress and fear misses an important distinction.

Although anxiety is similar to fear and stress, it is also importantly different from both of them. What is most distinct about anxiety is that it is a chronic condition, meaning that is lasts for longer periods of time and has a more pervasive effect on one's life. Everyone feels stress or fear from time to time, but nobody should feel this way on a regular basis. If you feel stressed out much of the time, or you feel afraid much of the time, you may have an anxiety disorder. 

Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable through psychotherapy. Click here to find out more about types of therapy that are effective for treating anxiety and related conditions: anxiety treatments