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Q&A: What is the difference between clinical anxiety and apprehensiveness? 

 March 26, 2022

By  Liz B

Question: What is the difference between clinical anxiety and apprehensiveness?

Answer: There’s a few different classifications we can look at:

For apprehensiveness, this can come from a number of different things such as a personality trait or a bad experience. It can cause just an overall timid attitude, paranoia, or it could potentially lead to anxiety, but generally, the difference between anxiety and apprehensiveness would lie in the degree of intensity.

With anxiety itself I would classify it in a couple of different ways:

There is anxiety that is caused by the environment in one way or another. So this could also be a bad experience that causes a certain trigger for anxiety, or it could be childhood upbringing that didn’t allow the person to develop a strong sense of self or perhaps instilled fears toward certain things, and so anxiety developed as a result of that.

Then there is anxiety that comes from a biological/biochemical cause (which is what I have). In this case there are no specific situational elements that have caused anxiety to develop, but rather the brain maybe generally has an overactive fight or flight response to anything that your mind wants to perceive as a threat. In this case, the mind tends to easily lean towards an anxious worldview, and so even if anxiety symptoms aren’t manifesting, the person will notice that their mind’s activity tends to go that way and it can be controlled from there before it spirals.

Of course then someone can have a mix of both causes of anxiety which only amplifies it more.

In another case, apprehensiveness could be a personality trait that comes as a result of someone with anxiety (with a biological cause for anxiety especially).

Overall, apprehensiveness and anxiety can be related or cause each other. But it could be looked at as though apprehensiveness is maybe suspecting a potential threat while anxiety is actually directly perceiving a threat in one way or another.

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About the author

I am a certified personal trainer and psychology/counseling student, as well as a web/graphic designer. I am based in the US, but travel a lot. I love video games, learning languages, helping others, and I need a separate life for every interest I have. Don't hesitate to get in touch!

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