How Does Worry Work
Worry actually has an important function in our lives, according to Luana Marques, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. When we think about an uncertain or unpleasant situation such as being unable to pay the rent or doing badly on an exam our brains become stimulated. When we worry, it calms our brains down. Worry is also likely to cause us to problem-solve or take action, both of which are positive things. Worry is a way for your brain to handle problems in order to keep you safe, Dr. Marques explained. Its only when we get stuck thinking about a problem that worry stops being functional.
How Is Stress Diagnosed
Stress is subjective not measurable with tests. Only the person experiencing it can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.
If you have chronic stress, your healthcare provider can evaluate symptoms that result from stress. For example, high blood pressure can be diagnosed and treated.
The Difference Between Worry Stress And Anxiety
Theyre not all the same, but we do have tips to help you deal with all of them.
You probably experience worry, stress or anxiety at least once on any given day. Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Three out of four Americans reported feeling stressed in the last month, a 2017 study found. But in one of these moments, if asked which you were experiencing worry, stress or anxiety would you know the difference?
I reached out to two experts to help us identify and cope with all three.
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What Causes High Stress Levels
Anything that puts high demands or pressure on you can result in high stress levels, especially if you struggle to manage feelings of stress. Some common stressors that can lead to high levels of stress include high-pressure jobs, financial difficulties, taking on too much, conflicts at work or home, and failure to take time to relax.
What Is The Treatment
Treatment depends on the specific causes of anxiety and itching. No matter the cause, unrelenting itching can have a negative impact on your overall quality of life. So, its worth seeking treatment.
Aside from your primary care physician, you might benefit from seeing a specialist or perhaps two. A mental health professional can help you learn to manage anxiety, which can alleviate that aggravating itch.
If your skin is seriously affected, you might also need to see a dermatologist.
Psychologists can also help with dermatological problems related to anxiety. This field is called psychodermatology.
Treatment for the itch may include:
- corticosteroids or other soothing creams or ointments
- oral selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant that may ease chronic itching in some people
- light therapy sessions may help get itching under control
Here are some things you can do on your own to help relieve itching:
- Use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer every day.
- Run a humidifier to help keep your skin moist.
- Avoid rough clothing, hot baths, harsh sunlight, or anything else that contributes to itchiness.
- Try over-the-counter products such as corticosteroid cream, calamine lotion, or topical anesthetics.
- When itching is impossible to ignore, put on some gloves or cover your skin to prevent yourself from scratching.
- Keep your fingernails trimmed so that if you do scratch, youre less likely to break the skin.
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Its Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Anxiety, depression and stress just about everyone feels these emotions at some time. All are common reactions to lifes challenges, from losing a loved one to going through a divorce. On the surface they can look a lot alike, but there are distinct differences.
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How To Assess Chronic Stress
You may have learned to cope with your chronic stress so effectively it feels like normal life. Take a minute to assess how youre really feeling right now:
- Are your muscles tense, especially in the head, eyes, neck, shoulders and upper or lower back?
- Is your pulse rate elevated or irregular, even when you are not moving?
- Is your breathing shallow? Is it difficult to take in a really full breath?
In addition, your behavior and emotions may signal that you are over-stressed. Be honest about whether you are unduly irritable, depressed, anxious, antisocial, lacking enjoyment in pleasurable activities, eating or sleeping too much or too little, abusing alcohol or drugs, demonstrating anger such as road rage or temper flare-ups with family or coworkers, or having memory problems and trouble focusing or organizing.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Itching And Anxiety
Untreated, the cycle of anxiety and itching can repeat over and over, ratcheting up your anxiety level. Frequent scratching can also lead to serious skin issues.
Anxiety and itching can be effectively treated, though. It may take some time, but with professional guidance, you can learn to manage anxiety, ultimately resolving the itch.
What Is Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that may occur within one month after experiencing a traumatic event. ASD can last anywhere between 3 days and 1 month. It differs from posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD, but causes symptoms also seen in people with PTSD, such as dissociative symptoms, reexperiencing the traumatic events, and avoidance.
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Treatment And Management Of Stress And Anxiety
There are several ways people can treat and manage stress and anxiety.
Stress treatment typically includes some form of self-help, like meditation, relaxation techniques, change of habits or certain circumstances. For example, quitting a highly stressful job may and should not feel like a failure, but a promise for a better future.
Many Americans are looking for effective, natural ways to reduce stress and, thereby, improve their overall sense of well-being.
What Are Some Ways To Prevent Stress
Many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:
- Try relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smartphone apps, and at many gyms and community centers.
- Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
- Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging the good parts of your day or life.
- Accept that you cant control everything. Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.
- Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
- Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member or neighbor can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that stress doesnt become overwhelming.
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How Does Anxiety Work
Remember how stress is a natural response to a threat? Well, anxiety is the same thing except there is no threat.
Anxiety in some ways is a response to a false alarm, said Dr. Marques, describing a situation, for example, in which you show up at work and somebody gives you an off look. You start to have all the physiology of a stress response because youre telling yourself that your boss is upset with you, or that your job might be at risk. The blood is flowing, the adrenaline is pumping, your body is in a state of fight or flight but there is no predator in the bushes.
Symptoms Of Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety have both physical and psychological signs. Some symptoms, including rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, diarrhea, or constipation, can present in both stress and anxiety.
There are, however, some distinct symptoms attributed to each.
Feeling tense or easily startled
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Stress tends to be short term and comes in response to a recognized threat. Anxiety, however, is longer lasting and can sometimes seem as if nothing is triggering it often the feelings of fear or worry are disproportional to the actuality of the event or concern.
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What Causes Stress And Anxiety
Most people experience stress and anxiety on a regular basis. They come and go, usually around important life events.
People also react differently to situations. Some might be stressful for one, while not causing any effect to others. Even previous experiences can affect how people react to the same stress event.
The event or external stimulus causing stress is called a stressor.
- work-related problems, starting a new job
- illness or injury
- death in the community or family
What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety
Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a fine line separating stress and anxiety. That fine line actually is a watershed point because the things that cause stress and anxiety are different. So, the things that will help you regain your wellness and peace are going to be different too!
Accurately pinpointing stress or anxiety in your life is the first step in understanding the cause of your issue and knowing how to effectively work through it.
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How To Stop Numbness And Tingling Caused By Anxiety
There are several actions you can take to stop your numbness and tingling. Lets separate them into actions you can take short-term and actions you can take long-term.
Short-Term Actions to Stop Your Numbness and Tingling
These short-term actions will help you to stop the feelings of numbness and tingling once theyve already started:
Long-Term Actions to Stop Your Numbness and Tingling
These long-term actions will help you to prevent your numbness and tingling from ever happening in the first place.
Try to make these new habits that you perform every single day. Over time these new habits will go a long way toward stopping your numbness and tingling symptoms:
Try to make use of both the short-term and long-term actions. The more of these actions you take the less your numbness and tingling should bother you.
How To Reduce Anxiety And Chest Pain
The best way to manage chest pain is with prevention and by reducing your overall anxiety symptoms. The less you experience anxiety, the less risk you’ll have for chest pain.
If you’re currently experiencing anxiety and chest pain, the best things to do are the following:
- Control Your Breathing Recall that this type of chest pain is often caused by hyperventilation, and even if you’re not hyperventilating, getting your breathing under control is a great way to calm the nerves. Take slow, controlled breaths using deep breathing techniques that take at least 15 seconds and you’ll quickly see a difference. Try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, breathing deep from your diaphragm rather than shallow from your chest.
- Control Your Thoughts One of the reasons I recommend going to a doctor first is because understanding that your chest pain is anxiety related reduces the severity of the experience. If you know that your heart is in good health, don’t let your thoughts spiral out of control because that may make the chest pain worse.
- Control Your Environment Chest pain caused by thoughts or anxiety is often made worse when you sit and focus on the experience. See if you can give yourself a healthy coping distraction, and much of the chest pain will fade away. Some suggestions for this include changing your location , listen to relaxing or happy music, talk on the phone with a trusted friend, or use grounding techniques to focus on the present.
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Who Is Affected By Stress
All of us can probably recognise some of the feelings described above. Some people seem to be more affected by stress than others. For some people, getting out of the door on time each morning can be a very stressful experience, whereas others may be less affected with a great deal of pressure.
Some people are more likely to experience stressful situations than others. For example:
- people with a lot of debt or financial insecurity are more likely to be stressed about money
- people from minority ethnic groups or who are LGBTIQ+ are more likely to be stressed about prejudice or discrimination
- people with disabilities or long-term health conditions are more likely to be stressed about their health or about stigma associated with their condition.
What Are Some Strategies For Stress Relief
You cant avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:
- Exercise when you feel symptoms of stress coming on. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
- At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what youve accomplished not what you didnt get done.
- Set goals for your day, week and month. Narrowing your view will help you feel more in control of the moment and long-term tasks.
- Consider talking to a therapist or your healthcare provider about your worries.
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Simple Steps To Deal With Stress And Anxiety
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Do you wonder if you may worry too much? And how much anxiety is officially “too much?” To answer these questions, you may need to deepen your understanding of stress and anxiety, and how they help and hurt you.
Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders
The two main treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and medication, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.
- Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is effective in helping people identify, process, and cope with their triggers of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly effective, short-term treatment that helps people learn specific skills to target their specific triggers.
- Medication: Antidepressants generally have some mild side effects but help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety. Antidepressants can be used for an extended period of time. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that can also be used on an ongoing basis. Benzodiazepines can be used on a limited basis to mitigate anxiety symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. All medications should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider. Any side effects should be reported immediately. Never discontinue the use of these medications without supervision from your healthcare provider.
- Lifestyle changes: There are several changes you can make at home before you try medications. Daily exercise, good sleep hygiene, healthy eating, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are all home remedies that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.
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Are Stress And Anxiety The Same Whats The Difference
We often use stress and anxiety interchangeably, to describe intense worry or emotional distress. But in reality, there are distinct differences between the twofor example, one is considered a healthy emotion that can be beneficial, while the other is considered an unhealthy emotion that is all-around harmful. Lets explore these vital differences and make sure youre managing the stress and/or anxiety in your life:
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What Are The Signs Of Stress
How you might feel
You may behave differently if youre stressed. You may:
- withdraw from other people or snap at them
- be indecisive or inflexible
- have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep
- experience sexual problems
- smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs more than usual.
If the stress is long-lasting, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise.
Some research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.
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Three Things To Help Your Worries:
Give yourself a worry budget, an amount of time in which you allow yourself to worry about a problem. When that time is up , consciously redirect your thoughts.
When you notice that youre worried about something, push yourself to come up with a next step or to take action.
Write your worries down. Research has shown that just eight to 10 minutes of writing can help calm obsessive thoughts.
Remember: Worry is helpful only if it leads to change, not if it turns into obsessive thoughts.
Am I Anxious Or Just Stressed
We often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two.
- Stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic .
- Anxiety, unlike stress, is often triggered internally by excessive thoughts judgments about the past, worries about the future, and so on.
- When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions, and anxiety disorders.
- Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
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Youre working on a deadline when your boss pings you. Its 3 pm and he wants to know if you have time to help with a project thats due by 5. You dont, not really you still havent eaten lunch. Its kind of urgent, he explains, apologizing for the late notice. A pit settles in your stomach, and your thoughts begin to race. Of course, you reply. Id be happy to help. Its not like saying no would be any less stressful.
In your head, a voice quickly pipes in to remind you of how poorly you work under pressure. Remember last time, that panic attack? You cant prepare an entire deck in two days, let alone two hours! Imagine how easy this would be for your coworkers. Why cant you be more like them? Face it: youre probably going to be stuck at this job forever.
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