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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Many teens find themselves overwhelmed by stress at some point in their lives. But how can one tell the difference between normal stress and an anxiety disorder? Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S... ...About 40 million adults, or 18% of the U.S. population, are affected by anxiety disorders (Anxiety andDepression Association ofAmerica). Normal Stress Anxiety Disorder Response to Stressors The anxiety occurs in response to a specific stressor, such as an exam, an upcoming interview,a fight with a friend or family member, ora new job. It may also originate from and embarrassing social situation. The anxiety comes from a source of realistic fear; it is derived from worry about important life events. What is the Difference Between an Anxiety Disorder and Normal Teen Stress? Individuals with anxiety disorderscannot easily pinpoint their sources of stress; they are anxious nearly all the time. Even small responsibilities may result in anxiety. Those with anxiety disorders may avoid social situations for fear of embarrassment. Their worriesare often unsubstantiated, and bouts of panic seem to occur out of the blue. Intensity and Length The anxiety is usually fleetingand leaves with the stressor; for example, one might be stressedthe night before a test but not after.Anxiety and insomnia may occur immediately after a traumatic eventthat occurred in one's life. In those with anxiety disorders, anxiety is frequently disproportionateto the stressor. For example, one mightbe anxious weeks before an exam. According to, anxiety may lastfor more than six months. One may experiencerecurring flashbacks to traumatic events thatoccurred months or years ago. Impairment Normal anxiety can actually be beneficial! Anxiety motivates one to study for tests and finish one's assignments. Anxiety can also triggerone's fight or flight response, allowingappropriate reactions to dangeroussituations one may encounter. Normalanxiety does not impair one's daily life. Anxiety disorders interfere withschool, jobs, relationships, and dailylife. Those with anxiety disorders engagein avoidant behaviors, such as skipping class or work or procrastinating on groceryshopping, to prevent anxiety. They are frequently preoccupied with the fear of having more panic attacks and can performrepetitive, uncontrollable actions to ensuretheir own safety and health. Other Symptoms Normal stress has few other symptoms besides the feeling of anxiety itself. Anxiety disorders are frequentlyaccompanied by a variety of othersymptoms, including dizziness,light-headedness, muscle pains and aches, headaches, nausea, difficultybreathing, difficulty concentrating, and racingor negative thoughts (The Encyclopedia ofTrauma and Traumatic Stress Disorders andThe Encyclopedia or Alcoholism and AlcoholAbuse). Works Cited "Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders - ULifeline."Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders - ULifeline. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.Doctor, Ronald M., and Frank N. Shiromoto. "Anxiety Disorders." Health Reference Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.< &SID=5&iPin=ETTSD0021&SingleRecord=True>. Gold, Mark S., and Christine Adamec. "Anxiety Disorders and Alcohol Abuse." Health Reference Center. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.< ItemID=WE48&SID=5&iPin=ENAAA0029&SingleRecord=True>."Understanding the Facts | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. "Understanding the Facts | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>. Photo Credit Image 1: Student-owned, photo taken on 17 Jan. 2015. Image 2: Harnick, Kelly. "Generalized Anxiety Disorder." West Maui Counseling Center. 13 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <>.
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