Anxiety is a beast that can rear its ugly head at any time. Sometimes we know why we feel anxious, and other times it seems to come out of nowhere. When anxiety strikes, it can be all-consuming and make it hard to focus on anything else. You will find a list of symptoms of anxiety in this blog post, so you can identify when anxiety is present and begin managing it.
1. Concentration problems
One reason is that anxiety can cause racing thoughts. When someone is anxious, they may have difficulty focusing on one thing because their mind constantly runs with different thoughts. This can make it difficult to pay attention to anything else. Additionally, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and sweating, making it difficult to focus on tasks.
Another reason why anxiety makes it difficult to concentrate is that it can lead to avoidance behaviors. When someone is anxious, they may start avoiding situations or activities that make them feel anxious.
2. Intense fears that are unreasonable
An individual with a phobia feels anxious or fearful about a specific thing or circumstance. People with phobias cannot cope with those objects or situations because they cause too much stress. Phobias are often associated with childhood traumas, particularly early trauma involving separation from caregivers.
The feeling is severe enough that people with phobias cannot function normally. Common phobic fears include animal phobias, where people are afraid of specific animals or insects; natural environment phobias, where someone feels anxious about natural disasters like storms or floods; and social environment phobias, such as fear of public speaking or being alone.
3. Panic attacks
An individual suffering from a panic attack may experience feelings of terror, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, tingling sensations, blurred vision, nausea, hot flashes, cold sweats, chills, or palpitations. A person experiencing a panic attack may feel like he or she cannot breathe or even that he or she is dying.
An attack of panic usually happens suddenly and without warning. They are often accompanied by thoughts about death or suicide.
Research suggests that panic attacks occur because there is something wrong with how the brain processes information. Scientists do not know what causes panic attacks, but they suspect that genetic factors, environmental influences, and stress play important roles.
Apparently, some people are genetically predisposed to panic attacks. Also, certain events, such as being trapped in a car with no air conditioning, can trigger panic attacks. Finally, stressful situations such as job loss, divorce, moving house, bereavement, and illness can precipitate panic disorder.
This worrying occurs disproportionately in everyday events and is extremely difficult to control. A person with an anxiety disorder will worry excessively about stressful events or everyday situations, such as work deadlines, social obligations, financial matters, health concerns, family issues, etc., even though there is no evidence that what they are worried about actually happens. They commonly spend hours each day worrying about something that could happen and cannot stop.
5. Tension in the muscles regularly
A common symptom of stress and anxiety is tense muscles. Tension in the body often manifests as tightness in the jaw, shoulders, neck, arms, hands, legs, feet, stomach, etc. This tension is usually caused by holding emotions inside, being stressed about something, worrying too much, feeling overwhelmed, having trouble sleeping, or simply not relaxing enough.
The connection between anxiety and muscle tension is still somewhat unclear. One theory suggests that anxious thoughts lead to physical pressure, while others suggest that the opposite is true — that muscle tension causes anxiety. Regardless of the exact mechanism, though, the end result is the same: People experiencing anxiety tend to feel tense.
6. Feeling fatigued consistently
Fatigue is a common symptom of anxiety for a number of reasons. One of the most common is that anxiety can lead to a state of hyperarousal, which in turn can lead to sleep difficulties. This can leave people feeling exhausted during the day. Additionally, anxiety can cause physical symptoms like muscle tension, which can also lead to fatigue. Finally, anxiety can be a very draining emotion, both mentally and emotionally, contributing to fatigue.
7. Feeling of restlessness
A feeling of restlessness can be described as uneasiness, discomfort, or agitation that persists for an extended time. It is common for people experiencing restlessness to feel “wired” or hyper-aware of everything around them. They might notice things others don’t see and find themselves constantly thinking about specific topics or activities.
While restlessness doesn’t always mean anxiety, paying attention to what’s happening inside your head is still essential. If you start noticing yourself getting anxious, talk to a doctor or therapist about ways to manage your anxiety. Several techniques may help you calm down, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga poses, mindfulness meditations, or relaxation exercises.
8. A feeling of shortness of breath
A common physical symptom of anxiety is shortness of breath. It is often described as feeling like you can’t catch your breath or like you are suffocating. Shortness of breath can be caused by hyperventilation, which is when you breathe too fast. Hyperventilation can happen when you are anxious or panicked. When you hyperventilate, your body does not get enough oxygen. This can make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, and short of breath.
9. Sleeping Issues
Insomnia is common among those suffering from anxiety. In fact, people with an anxiety disorder may experience sleep problems such as difficulty sleeping, trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or early morning awakenings.
Insomnia and anxiety are closely related. Many people with anxiety disorders report experiencing sleeplessness and vice versa. However, some research suggests that insomnia causes anxiety, while others argue that anxiety causes insomnia. Regardless of the direction of causality, treating either condition usually helps improve the other.
10. Skin problems
The skin is the largest organ in the body, so it senses both external and internal processes, including anxiety and stress. When anxiety lasts for a long time, it can cause acne, eczema, and rashes to develop or exacerbate existing skin problems.
11. Avoiding social situations
Some people who suffer from anxiety fear embarrassing themselves in public settings such as parties, group activities, speaking in front of large audiences, making small talk with strangers, or even interacting with friends and family members. While many people feel socially awkward in some situations, those who suffer from social anxiety often avoid social interactions altogether.
People who experience severe symptoms of social anxiety may develop physical ailments like stomachaches, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pains, and fainting spells. They may also become withdrawn and isolated from society.
12. Chest pain
Chest pain is common with anxiety for several reasons.
First, anxiety often causes people to take shallower breaths, leading to chest pain or discomfort. Second, anxiety can cause muscle tension, which can be felt in the chest area. Finally, anxious people may be more sensitive to physical sensations and may therefore feel chest pain more acutely than others.
Chest pain caused by anxiety may feel like a heart attack, but it is usually not serious. If you are experiencing chest pain, it is best if you see a doctor so they can rule out any other potential causes.
How does anxiety develop?
There is still a lack of understanding of the causes of anxiety disorders. But there appears to be some overlap between anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, and specific phobias. Depression includes major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, and bipolar disorder (manic episodes).
Life experiences, such as trauma, can trigger anxiety disorders. Traumatic life events can cause increased cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. People with high cortisol levels tend to experience symptoms of anxiety.
Inherited traits also appear to play a role. For example, individuals with specific genes are more likely to develop GAD. In addition, children whose parents suffer from anxiety tend to show signs of anxiety themselves.
How can anxiety be treated?
The treatment of anxiety disorder consists of several options. These therapies include talk therapy, medication, and complementary and alternative medicine.
Talk therapy involves talking to a counselor or therapist about how you feel and what triggers your anxiety. This type of therapy helps you learn coping skills to help you deal with stress.
Medication is often prescribed by doctors to relieve anxiety. Examples of medications include anti-anxiety medicines such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Complementary and alternative medicine includes natural remedies such as herbal supplements. Some examples include valerian root, chamomile tea, and kava kava.
To sum up
In conclusion, anxiety is a real and serious issue that should not be taken lightly. Symptoms of anxiety can range from mild to debilitating and can have a profound impact on one’s quality of daily life. Seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms.