Normal Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders

In this series on anxiety, I have mentioned that there is a difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder. Here is a brief explanation of the difference between the two. 

NORMAL ANXIETY

Anxiety is a normal human emotion. All people encounter normal anxiety. Normal anxiety means that we experience temporary anxiety as a result of stressors, dangers, impending deadlines, traumatic events, and major life changes.

Examples of normal anxiety:

- It is normal to feel anxiety before a major exam. 

- It is normal to feel anxiety before a sports event that you are participating in.

- It is normal to feel anxiety when you lose a job.

- It is normal to feel anxiety when you are in the midst of a major life crisis. 

- It is normal to feel anxiety if you happen to be a spectator of a dangerous situation. 

People in the biblical world experienced normal anxiety. The New Testament describes this by using a term that refers to normal human concerns.

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety disorders are different than normal anxiety. Anxiety disorders have a different degree of anxiety, and are characterized by a prolonged and repeated experience. Anxiety becomes a condition when we stay in a state of anxiety beyond a normal anxiety experience, and it begins to interfere with and disrupt everyday life/activities.  

Examples of anxiety disorders:

- Generalized Anxiety Disorder

- Social Anxiety

- Separation Anxiety

- Anxiety Due to a Medical Condition

People in the biblical world struggled with prolonged anxiety. The New Testament describes this by using a term that refers to obsessive concern/worry.

Wesley Towne