Although many use the words worry and anxiety interchangeably; the two are very different psychological states.
According to Psychology Today, “Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more visceral in that we feel it throughout our bodies.”
When we worry, our thoughts are often caused by realistic or specific concerns we can resolve by problem solving. An example of a worrying thought is “If I don’t study hard enough, I will not pass my test.” Once you have identified the problem and arrived at the solution- which is to study hard; you are likely to move on from this thought and diminish worry.
On the other hand, when we are experiencing anxiety, our thoughts can be irrational or vague. They can linger for extended periods of time and can impact our lives in a negative way. An example of this is persistently thinking something will go wrong every time you take a test. As a result, you may experience fear or other emotions that will cause your body to react negatively.
Worry and anxiety affect our bodies in different ways. Because worrying tends to be temporary, the effects are mild. You may experience short-term emotional distress or tension. The physical reactions caused by anxiety, however, can be more intense. Someone with anxiety may experience symptoms such as tightness in the chest, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, trembling, gastrointestinal problems or trouble sleeping.
The symptoms of anxiety can serve as warning signs of serious health conditions such as anxiety disorder, panic attack or depression. You should speak with a doctor if symptoms are persistent and interfere with daily activities.
A mental health professional can diagnose anxiety by performing a psychological examination. Treatment may involve medication and psychotherapy.
To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.