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Symptoms of anxiety - How anxiety symptoms can affect your body

Updated on October 5, 2015
Is anxiety driving you crazy? You're not alone...
Is anxiety driving you crazy? You're not alone... | Source

You know there's something wrong with you, but you don't quite know what it could be. You already went to the doctor and she wasn't able to find anything physically wrong with you, but you know that your life is spiraling out of control because this secret enemy is eating you inside. Anxiety is eating you inside. Anxiety is giving you so many symptoms that you're almost sure you must have some kind of deadly disease.

Yes, anxiety can cause a vast number of symptoms. You may be suffering from anxiety and don't even know it, but your body never lies.

Let's look at some of these symptoms and see if you can identify any of them in your own life.

Main symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety can attack your body in many different ways, and your body will react by giving you symptoms to alert you that something is wrong. Mainly, anxiety symptoms can be divided in three main categories:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioral

Anxiety attacks

Have you ever experienced an anxiety attack?

See results

Physical anxiety symptoms

Physical symptoms of anxiety are those that you can feel and that can make you think that you have some kind of deadly disease. Examples of these symptoms are:

  • Tachycardia
  • Dizziness
  • muscle spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Insomnia

Anxiety can fill out head with many negative and destructive thoughts. Make sure you don't accept them.
Anxiety can fill out head with many negative and destructive thoughts. Make sure you don't accept them. | Source

Different types of Anxiety Attacks

Spontaneous - Appear without any type of warning. They can even happen while sleeping and without any apparent reason. Because they appear so suddenly, sometimes this types of anxiety attack can be confused with a heart attack.

Specific - They happen for a specific reason. The sufferer will be fine as long as the specific fear is absent and will always suffer an anxiety attack as long as the anxiety-inducing object or situation is present

Situational - The anxiety attacks can happen during specific situations, but will not occur all the time. The probabilities of experiencing an anxiety attack during a specific situation increase, but does not mean that you will definitely experience an episode.

Cognitive symptoms of anxiety

The cognitive symptoms of anxiety are those that mainly mess with your head. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Fear
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Insecurity
  • Irritability
  • Obsessions
  • Sadness
  • Feeling overwhelmed by minor things
  • Mood changes
  • Memory problems
  • Constantly feeling threatened or anticipating future dangers
  • Indecisiveness
  • Apathy
  • Anhedonia - inability to experience pleasures from activities that you found enjoyable in the past
  • Depression
  • Worrying
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Loss of objectivity
  • Inferiority feelings

Anxiety attack symptoms

When you're experiencing an anxiety attack you can feel as if you were paralyzed, almost as if you were frozen. Your body will also start experiencing symptoms such as palpitations, excessive sweating, hot flashes, difficulty breathing, extreme fear or panic, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, chest pains, tingling and numbness in different parts of your body.

Some people can also experience what feels to be an out of body experience.

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety

These symptoms are the ones that make you act and behavior in a weird or unusual way. These are symptoms that are noticed by others. Examples of these kind of symptoms are:

  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Anger outbursts
  • Following of rituals motivated by obsessions
  • Impatience
  • Always having a worried face or a scowl

But don't think those are all the symptoms you can expect from anxiety. Let's look at a more complete list. If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, chances are anxiety is eating inside. However, never rule out the possibility of these symptoms being causes by something else. Always check with your physicians to check any worrysome problems.

A constant scowl on your face can be a symptom of anxiety.
A constant scowl on your face can be a symptom of anxiety. | Source

Physical Anxiety symptoms by category

Respiratory symptoms:

  • Sighs - you find yourself sighing more often, even sometimes without noticing.
  • Feeling pressure on your thorax - You feel as if someone were hugging you super tight.
  • Hyperventilation - You breathing becomes shallow and rapid
  • Dyspnea - You find yourself short of breath or having difficulty breathing.

Cardiovascular symptoms:

  • Tachycardia - rapid of irregular cardiac rhythm
  • Palpitations - heart beating rapidly and strongly. You can almost feel your heart jumping out of your chest.
  • Arrhythmia - any deviation from regular cardiac rhythm
  • High or low Blood Pressure
  • Pallor or blushing - Anxiety can make you look either like a ghost or like a shy, school girl being asked on a date.
  • Chest pressure - you feel like you have an elephant sitting on your chest.


Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Feeling like the food gets stuck in your throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomit
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Borborygmus - Rumbling or gurgling sound coming for your stomach due to the movement of gas in the intestines.
  • Gases
  • Bloating - Even if you don't eat (or regardless of what you eat) your stomach always looks like your 5 months pregnant.
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss or weight gain - Anxiety can change the way our body processes fat and extra calories
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Aerophagia - Swallowing of air that can lead to bloating or gases.


Muscular anxiety symptoms

  • Muscle contractions
  • Muscle pains
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Tics
  • Bruxism - Teeth grinding or clenching

Anxiety symptoms on the autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulating the many function of nutrition, development and reproduction.

  • Dryness of mouth, mucous glands and/or lacrimals
  • Sensation of fainting
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • "Chicken skin" bumps (Keratosis pilaris)
  • Excessive sweating or salivation - Yes, anxiety can even make you drool!

Psychosomatic symptoms

These symptoms are the ones that are caused by your head. Like many would say, these symptoms are "all psychological" due to anxiety.

  • Asthenia - Abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy
  • Stuttering - You know what I'm ta-ta-talking about.
  • Not able to relax
  • Frequent crying or feeling like you want to cry

If you can spot your anxiety, you may be able to reduce it without medication.
If you can spot your anxiety, you may be able to reduce it without medication. | Source

Genitourinary symptoms

  • Amenorrhea - Absence of menstruation in women of reproductive age
  • Menorrhagia - Abnormally prolonged and/or heavy periods
  • Frequent and/or painful urination
  • Decreased libido
  • Anorgasmia - inability to achieve orgasm even when properly stimulated
  • Premature ejaculation

As you can see, anxiety can have many symptoms. The bad news is that if these symptoms aren't treated, they can get worse

Don't let anxiety ruin your life. Treat it as soon as possible!


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    • Christ Harrison profile image

      Christopher Harrison 

      3 years ago from L5M 0T3

      It was nice been here cause now i know am not the only one with such symptoms

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 

      4 years ago

      I think it's wonderful that you wrote this article. There are so many people out there that need help with their anxiety, including myself.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      4 years ago

      Hi p:

      I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you are doing better now. :(

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      In hospital over what seemed a heart attack but the doctors have checked and now it seems like it is either spasms or anxiety


    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hi Denise.w.anderson:

      I'm glad you finally found what was ailing you. Knowing is always the first step to recovery. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hi blond logic:

      I know what you mean. I, too, have been experiencing most of these symptoms. Stay strong in the fight against anxiety. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hi techygran:

      Yes, I'm all for non-med treatments and the internet has a plethora of such things to help one overcome anxiety. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • techygran profile image


      5 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Good comprehensive hub! I can relate-- there are some pretty good methods of overcoming anxiety out there that don't require meds and I would recommend that anxiety-sufferers take a google to find out about that! Sharing!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      Very interesting, I think I been having these problems most of my life in different situations and from different triggers.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have general anxiety disorder. Before I was diagnosed, I went through many health evaluations due to the myriad symptoms that I was experiencing. Since there was nothing physically wrong with me, I was just sent home, no one suggested the possibility that I could have a mental illness. Now that I know about anxiety, and how it affects my body, I can do what is needed to help me calm down, and ride the symptom waves as they come and go.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hi APooch:

      Yes, anxiety is a pain in the neck and I too have been dealing with it since I was a child. Thank you for reading and for your encouraging words!

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hey Room of my own:

      Thank you for your words! I thought the pictures really helped the hub.

    • APooch profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article. Dealing with anxiety for my entire life... It hits everybody differently, just remember you're not alone! For an attack, just take a step back and relax. Everything will be OK.

    • Room of My Own profile image

      Sadie Holloway 

      5 years ago

      Great affirmations and images to help ease feelings of anxiety.


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