British Columbia Sun

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Anxietyjosh on the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder

Despite what your ‘toughest’ friends and family members tell you, anxiety is an emotion everyone experiences.

Joshua Fletcher (@anxietyjosh on Instagram) explains the difference between felling a little anxious, and a severe anxiety disorder.

Characterised by feelings of tension and apprehension, feeling anxious is the body’s response to a perceived threat. The response can be the result of a conventional threat such as walking into an exam, a first date or a job interview.  These are external factors that most people would agree, justify feelings of apprehension.  This is your plain, run-of-the-mill anxiety.

Rather than being the result of conventional external factors, an anxiety disorder is much more internal with focus being put on the symptoms of anxiety themselves. Ruminating on the feelings of fear anxiety brings, constantly seeking reassurance, intrusive thoughts interrupting your thought patterns are all examples of behavioural compulsion that is brought on by an anxiety disorder.

When someone says that they’ve experienced ‘anxiety’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have experienced both. 

A useful way to identify the differences is to think of the following:

Anxiety = outwards and conventional

Anxiety disorder = inwards and disordered

You can find out more about anxiety at

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