Being anxious or having an anxiety disorder are the same right? 

The difference between being anxious and having an anxiety disorder can be confused in today’s world. The term ‘I’ve got anxiety’ may actually mean you are feeling an instance of being anxious – they are two similar things but not the same. The term should not be used loosely. It’s similar to saying ”I’ve got depression” when you are having a pretty rubbish day. “I’ve got OCD” when you just like a tidy room. By using these terms loosely, it plays down the actual conditions. It makes it seem less important.


We can all experience being anxious at some time in our lives. For example, when you are going into hospital to have an operation, or you are having to go and speak to a teacher at school as you know you have misbehaved or just before going in to sit an exam. It’s the anticipation of facing things that we don’t want to do or are worrying about or feeling uneasy.


We all feel anxious at points in our lives, it’s a natural human behaviour – a threat response. Since humankind we have had the term fight or flight response…this has been with us since the start of time; our caveman days to protect ourselves, a survival technique. However, having an anxiety disorder is when you experience anxious thoughts over a period of time and it is affecting your everyday life.  This is when you need to reach out and seek help.


Anxiety comes in many forms and can show up out of nowhere… you can go straight into a mind fog state or you feel like your heart is going to explode out of your chest or just noticing your breathing changes can be frightening. Physical signs can be unwanted again in varying guises, and quite frankly can be embarrassing, especially the sweats.


Experiencing a panic attack and thinking you are having a heart attack and when you are in that zone it’s hard to get out of it.  I knew one person who had never had to call for an ambulance in her life (and even once drove herself to A&E with a dislocated knee!) but one day she woke up for work and thought she was going to die and dialled 999 – yes you guessed it, it was a panic attack, not as a potential fatal heart attack but certainly didn’t seem like that at the time.


Seek Help

Are you anxious or do you have an anxiety disorder – there is a big difference and perhaps think twice when relating to the term. 

Child Therapy Telford: 07966 819194


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One comment on “Being anxious or having an anxiety disorder are the same right? 

  1. Jo A on said:

    A really interesting read. A great explanation of the evolutionary origins of an everyday emotion.