Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to pressurised situations, they usually disappear once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.
Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs when these feelings do not pass – when the feelings are there consistently and seem to have no distinct cause. It is a serious condition that makes it difficult to cope with daily life. Everyone feels ‘nervous’ from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren't easily controlled.
The symptoms of anxiety conditions are not always obvious as they often develop progressively and, given that we all experience some anxious feelings at various points in our lives, it can be difficult to discern when the symptoms become serious, except that we begin to struggle to deal with everyday seemingly routine activities being, for example, indecisive, perhaps apprehensive, feeling unsure and so on.
Normal anxiety tends to be limited in time and associated with some stressful situation or event, such as a job interview. The type of anxiety experienced by people with an anxiety condition is more frequent and persistent, not always connected to an obvious challenge, and has a negative impact on their quality of life and day-to-day functioning.