Anxiety affect all categories of people. High work and education demands can cause anxiety. Therefore, it is challenging to determine the difference between circumstantial and clinical anxiety.

Circumstantial anxiety is a normal anxiety that occurs within short duration. It occurs because of undesirable occurrences such as high work load, strict work supervision, or short research period.

Clinical anxiety is a medical condition that affects an individual for a longer duration. It includes conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. The article explains more differences between circumstantial and clinical anxiety.


Circumstantial or situational anxiety occur because of stressors. The stressors can be job interviews, university examinations, or new work environment. The affected persons react by identifying ways of adapting to the stressors. Clinical anxiety occurs over a long period.

People with generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are very anxious. Even small tasks like writing messages make them anxious.

Intensity and length

Clinical anxiety generate strong emotional responses. People with the anxiety condition react disproportionately to stress or stressors. The affected person can be anxious for several weeks or even months before an important work assignment; for example, launch of a new product. The affected individuals also show strong symptoms before and during the product launching exercise.

Situational anxiety, however, is fleeting. It lasts for short period. A student can; for instance, be anxious before an examination. The situational anxiety level reduces as the student adapts to the ongoing examination environment.

Impairment effects

Situational anxiety minimally disrupts the daily activities of the affected person. This is because it lasts for short duration. The patient also easily adapts to the stressor condition. Situational anxiety treatment is easily achieved through counseling.

However, clinical anxiety can negatively affect the entire life of the affected person. If clinical anxiety is not treated properly it can cause serious depression. Depression is a severe symptom because it can cause drug and alcohol abuse.

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