There are numerous anxiety disorders that can be accounted for in medical texts, Generalized Anxiety Disorder being the most common. Symptoms of anxiety, and their severity, are contingent upon many factors, including physical health.
Top 10 Most Common Anxiety Symptoms:
1. Heart Palpitations
A noticeably irregular heartbeat is a common anxiety symptom. While periods of irregularity have a tendency to come and go with what many doctors refer to as ‘panic attacks’ or ‘anxiety attacks,’ heart palpitations can be anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to physically debilitating.
Many people experience what is called ‘conditional insomnia,’ or trouble sleeping due to temporary emotional turmoil. These episodes are generally limited to just a few days. If you consistently have trouble falling asleep when your emotions seem to be on an even keel, you may be suffering from anxiety.
3. Hot Flashes
You may experience a sudden sensation of intense heat, sweating and rapid heartbeat. This is called a hot flash. Those who suffer from chronic anxiety may experience hot flashes on a regular basis. Hot flashes can also be caused by pregnancy (hormonal responses in addition to physical and emotional stress) and menopause.
Sweating is normal to the extent that it’s preceded by physical activity or concurrent with high levels of humidity. Consistent, profuse sweating is our body’s way of telling us that something is not in order chemically, and as anxiety can manifest itself through an alteration of physiological balance, it could be to blame.
5. Shortness of Breath
Usually, shortness of breath manifests itself in a panic attack. It can also be subtle. Constantly feeling as though you can’t take a full breath could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Often times, the feeling of being short of breath can be lifted with slow, deep breathing. While it may seem counterintuitive, if this method works, you may be experiencing anxiety.
6. Tightness of the Throat
The physical sensation of the throat closing up is another common symptom of anxiety, and is often confused with anaphylaxis. Signs associated with anaphylaxis are swelling of the lips, face and tongue. If swelling is not present, the throat is not closing. Again, try a few deep breaths. If this resolves the issue, your symptoms point to anxiety.
7. Difficulty Swallowing
If you experience sudden difficulty swallowing, such as a mental lapse where you can’t bring your throat to respond to the command, it may be anxiety related. If this occurs, turn your concentration to something else and try swallowing again. If you are experiencing anxiety, this problem should be alleviated within a few seconds.
Tremors, uncontrolled muscle contractions (like shaky hands), can be physical or neurological. While not always anxiety related, tremors should send up a red flag. An overactive thyroid can cause high levels of anxiety via sudden increases in metabolism. In the absence of a definitive physical or neurological diagnosis, anxiety is likely to blame.
Many people experience occasional restlessness. Consistent restlessness is an indication that the body is overstimulated. Instead of deep breathing, try physical exercise. If exercise alleviates some of the problem, you may be suffering from general anxiety.
10. Sudden Muscle Tension
Emotional struggles are processed both physically and mentally. In instances such as dramatic emotional insults, the body will absorb and store copious amounts of energy to maintain a chemical balance, preventing your brain from permanent neurological damage. Sudden muscle tension is an indication of this, but only your doctor can determine whether it is an anxiety symptom or a response to something else.
Many people experience most of these anxiety symptoms at one point or another. If you are regularly experiencing three or more, you may want to seek help. There are various treatments available and be sure to explore your options. Remember, the worst thing you can do if you are experiencing anxiety symptoms is nothing at all.