Andrea D. Skrocki Psychiatric NP

Located in Denver, serving Colorado via Telehealth
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Stress vs. Anxiety

Apr 24, 2023
Is it stress or anxiety? How do I know when to seek help? And, where do I go to find help?

I am just stressed, or do I have anxiety??

Life is very "stressful" these days.   Several environmental factors contribute to our mental health such as traumatic events out of our control (pandemic, natural disasters, acts of violence) as well as the increasing cost of living and our day to day role with job, family, and home life.  Add in genetic risk factors of anxiety and you may have more than just "normal" stress. 

What is Stress?

Stress is the physical or mental response to any external cause, such as having a lot of homework, a project at work due, or having an illness.  It can be short or long term.  It often goes away once the situation is resolved.  Stress can be a motivator to "get things done", or negative, as in it can affect sleep.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is our body's reaction to the stress and can occur even when no actual threat or stress is present.  Anxiety presents in the body as excessive worry, a sense of uneasiness, tension, inability to unwind or relax, tension, headaches, high blood pressure, poetntial loss of sleep, and is constant, even if there is no immediate "real" threat or deadline looming. 

There are several types of Anxiety Disorders that each present with varying signs and symptoms of anxiety. 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is very common and can last months to years if not well managed. 

Panic disorder is often referred to as "panic attacks", but not everyone who has a panic attack with develop a panic disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder is often described as the fear of social or performance situations where a person experiences physical symptoms of anxiety and therefore often avoids going to work, attending school, going out into public, or doing every day things.  According to the NCS-R, "an estimated 7.1% of U.S. adults had social anxiety in the past year" and an "estimated 12.1% of U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder at some time in their lives". 

Phobia-related disorders result from people who have a specific phobia/anxiety/fear of specific types of objects or situations.  Examples include flying, heights, spiders, dogs, snakes, needles or injections, clowns, blood, open spaces, enclosed spaces, crowds, etc.  

How do I deal with stress and/or anxiety:

There are variety of healthy coping tools to manage your stress and or triggers.  These include excercise, healthy diet, healthy relationships, journaling, seting a routine schedule, meditation/yoga, reducing your caffeine intake, avoiding alcohol and other 'self medicating' substances, and engaging with friends and family to help you cope in a more positive way.

If these "basics" are not working, then you may need more help.

Recognize when you need more help

If you are struggling to cope, or you feel your symptoms of stress and anxiety are not going away, it may be time to speak with a professional.  The two main treatments for stress and unremitting anxiety are psychotherapy and medication.  Many people can benefit from a combination of both therapy and medication management.

If you are in immediate distress, or are thinking about hurting yourself, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lineline at 988, or chat at


Call Andrea Skrocki Psyhiatric NP, PLLC today to get started on taking back control over the stress and anxiety affecting your life.