The Difference Between Normal Anxiety And An Anxiety Disorder. The line between the two can be blurry. Here’s how to know when it’s time to reach out for help.
By Jenna Birch
Whether you’re worried about a job interview or concerned about your parents’ health, anxiety is part of being human. But when should your level of worry be cause for concern?
It’s hard to define anxiety disorders by their symptoms because anxiety affects everyone and it manifests in different ways. It’s also not all bad. Anxiety does serve an important purpose, according to Joseph Baskin, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic.
“From an evolutionary perspective, it helped us stay alive, triggering that fight-or-flight response,” Baskin said. “It can also be motivating, like if you’re anxious about a deadline.”
But research shows that anxiety is becoming more common than ever, especially over the last few decades. This could be due to many different factors, such as the rise of social media, increased peer pressure and social comparison. A 2018 study found a 20% increase in anxiety diagnoses of kids ages 6 to 17 between 2007 and 2012. More college freshmen report feeling overwhelmed than ever before, and millennials are also increasingly experiencing anxiety to the point where it becomes difficult to manage.
The fine line between anxiety and an anxiety disorder is whether or not it’s holding you back, said Cheryl Carmin, a psychologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Harding Hospital.
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