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.
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 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.