Stress vs Anxiety Understanding the Difference

Everyone feels stressed or anxious at some time in life; but at what point does the stress or anxiety reach a critical level? When should you seek treatment for a possible anxiety disorder? Discover a few basic differences between anxiety and stress, and find out what signs may indicate that it’s time to visit a mental health clinic in Singapore.


Stress usually stems from an easily identifiable cause. Perhaps it’s a recurring thought, a memory, a situation at work, a personal relationship, or a looming deadline. The continuing existence of the stressor incites the stress reaction.

The stress usually continues until the stressor goes away or is resolved. For example, the person might finish a project by the deadline, alleviating that stress; or he or she may fix the damaged relationship, resulting in greater peace of mind. However, if it’s a long-term stress factor that isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon, the sufferer needs to learn to cope with the stress.

People who live with constant stress factors often cope by relaxing or “decompressing” from time to time. They put the stress factors out of their mind by pursuing entertainment or activities that they enjoy. Stress can be temporarily paused or put on hold, and that’s one crucial difference between stress and anxiety.


Anxiety is a state of mind, more than a reaction to a pressure point or circumstance. Anxiety can accompany stress in some cases, or it can be an ongoing clinical disorder. It’s a feeling of guilt, worry, unease, or distress, sometimes to the point of mental anguish.

Situational Anxiety

According to Danielle Forshee, PsyD, the first type of anxiety is “situational anxiety, when an incident happens in your life that results in feeling extremely emotionally distressed, being very worried about the future and the present, and having emotional responses and fears that seem out of control.” It’s closely related to stress, but it’s a negative outgrowth of uncontrolled, unrelieved stress. Usually, it dissipates once the related stress trigger has been resolved.

Clinical Anxiety Disorders

Clinical anxiety conditions are much more serious. They can range from minor to debilitating, and there are a variety of different types, with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) being the most common. Other forms of the condition include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and others. According to Dr. Forshee, these disorders lead to ” excessive worry, thoughts and feelings of apprehension that make the person feel very emotionally distressed, and make them have a lot of fear about things that may or may not happen.”

People suffering from an anxiety don’t necessarily get relief when a situation is resolved. Instead, they feel constantly worried, nervous, or concerned. Many times, they have a range of physical symptoms that accompany the anxiety, putting the body under even more stress.

Seeking Help for Anxiety in Singapore

Symptoms of anxiety and stress can be remarkably similar, including elements of insomnia, low energy, gastrointestinal issues, weakened immunity, or depression. However, it’s the frequency and duration of those symptoms that can give your psychiatrist in Singapore clues about whether you’re enduring temporary stress or experiencing an anxiety condition.

If you suspect that your stress or anxiety levels are getting out of hand, Contact us today and make your first appointment to visit at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore . The sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the sooner you can get treatment or therapy to help you cope with these feelings and limit the harm to your mind and body.

Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic