Most of us will experience anxiety at some time on our lives. This is normal as there are many stressful events in today’s modern world that can cause anxiety.
However, if the response of anxiety is far larger than the event that caused the symptoms, then this could be a problem.
It is important to understand the difference between being anxious as you go through a stressful time, or if it is something more than that and could be an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can become overwhelming and difficult to keep under control, but there are trained medical professionals who can give you treatment and help you with your condition.
Symptoms of anxiety
Here are some of the most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, not all of them are listed here. If you are wanting to read more about anxiety you can read further on our FAQs page.
Anxiety attacks, or panic attacks
Recurrent panic attacks, or anxiety attacks, are a common symptom of anxiety. Panic attacks produce a very intense, overwhelming sensation of fear that can be debilitating.
These anxiety attacks can be associated with shortness of breath, sweating, uncontrollable shaking, chest tightening, nausea, difficulty talking or communicating, rapid onset of crying and uncontrollable screams.
Panic attacks can happen in isolation, but if they occur frequently and very unexpectantly they can be a sign of a panic disorder.
While tense muscles are common in today’s society with sitting at desks for long hours and the stress of life, having tense muscles on most days can be a symptom of anxiety.
It is possible that tense muscles can be as a result of the anxiety, or that the tense muscles increase one’s anxiety. It has been shown though, that having a relaxation massage to relax tense muscles, can also help to reduce one’s worry and anxiety.
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Problems with sleep, either difficulty in falling asleep or disturbed sleep, have been linked as being a symptom of anxiety. While it is found that disturbed sleep and anxiety are linked, it is unknown whether the anxiety contributes to sleep disturbance or whether the sleep disturbance contributes to the anxiety.
A study has shown that sleep disturbances in childhood, may have a link to anxiety later in life. It has also been shown that by improving the underlying anxiety symptoms, insomnia and sleep disturbances improve.
Avoiding social situations
One of the symptoms of anxiety is avoiding social interactions. You may feel anxious and fearful about social interaction with people, or afraid of criticism and judgment so you begin to avoid these social situations to avoid any chance of feeling that way.
You may appear really shy or quiet when interacting with others and when meeting new people. Often you can appear calm on the outside, whilst inside there are feelings of extreme fear and anxiety.
One of the symptoms of anxiety is irrational fears or phobias about specific things, such as spiders, closed-in spaces, wide open spaces, air travel or heights. This fear or phobia is so severe it can disturb your day to day functional living. These feelings of extreme fear can result in avoidance behavior that can affect your work and home life.
One of the most common anxiety symptoms is excessive worrying. The worrying you experience as a symptom of anxiety disorder is not in proportion to the events or circumstances around you. The response of extreme worrying often occurs in response to normal everyday occurrences.
The worrying is often very severe and intrusive, not allowing you to focus or think about any other things.
When you are feeling anxious, your fight or flight adrenaline response kicks in and produces large amounts of adrenaline and other chemicals which go into your bloodstream to prepare you to run away or attack the perceived threat.
However, what this adrenaline does is cause sweaty palms, racing pulse, shaky hands, feelings of irritability and agitation. The chemicals will also increase your heart rate and take blood away from your digestive system.
This can leave you feeling agitated, irritable, restless and then even more anxious.
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is the difficulty to concentrate. Some studies have shown that anxiety can interrupt working memory, which is the memory that holds short-term memory. This may explain the great decrease in performance in people with an anxiety disorder.
Fatiguing easily is a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder. Some may experience fatigue after an anxiety attack, for others the fatigue may be chronic.
It isn’t clear whether this fatigue is due to the other symptoms of anxiety disorder such as insomnia and muscle tension, or whether it is related to the hormonal and chemical changes of chronic anxiety.
Physical symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety disorder can often manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches; dizziness; nausea; diarrhea; vomiting; and sore muscles with twitches and trembles.
These may be due to the high adrenaline and chemical changes due to the fight or flight response, as well as due to the tense muscles and/or insomnia.
There is help available for anxiety disorders
There are many symptoms of anxiety and if you feel that you, or someone you care about, is experiencing some of these symptoms of anxiety, it is important that you get help.
These symptoms generally do not resolve by themselves, and you need to seek help and treatment at a place like The Center • A Place of HOPE. They offer someone to talk to who cares and who is trained to be able to help you.
If you have more questions about anxiety and the symptoms associated with it that haven’t been answered here, then more information can be found on our FAQs page.