8 Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is a general term that really is an umbrella for intense, troubling feelings that can overcome anyone at any time. However, it is when these feelings are chronic and persistent that they are considered a disorder. Think of it as being overcome with worry, a sense of apprehension, nervousness, and fear. While the emotions are a tough burden to bear, the physical symptoms that come with anxiety are even more troubling. People who suffer from an anxiety disorder, or even occasional bouts of upsetting uneasiness, may find themselves experiencing discomfort that can be debilitating. Shortness of breath, numbness in the hands and feet, heart palpitations, and nausea are only a few of the effects of anxiety. Everyone may experience these symptoms at some point in their life. However, severe attacks or chronic symptoms can get into the way of a person’s ability to function. In some cases, anxiety is crippling. If you think that you may be a victim of an anxiety disorder or you are struggling to keep anxiety under control, seek professional help from your physician to find relief. The following symptoms are typical for those who are victims of an anxiety disorder. You may experience some of these symptoms of anxiety or all of them at some point in your life. 

1. Panic, Fear, and Uneasiness

An anxiety disorder can include bouts of panic or panic attacks. These are moments when you are overcome with extreme, unexplained fear. There may be absolutely no warning for the moment when panic takes over and the fear is so intense that you begin to feel physical symptoms. Your mind is overcome by your terror. There may be no reason for it, no trigger at all as you experience fear and uneasiness that stops you in your tracks. You may even experience extreme panic at night, ripping you from a sound sleep, leaving you covered in a cold sweat while your heart is pounding. You could be sitting at work in the middle of a project when panic sets in and you are frozen. You may not be able to walk out the door from your home in the morning because fear is stopping you from moving on. In many cases, panic and fear are triggered by stress, emotional upheaval, or something that makes you uneasy. You might be experiencing financial problems or health issues that are weighing on your mind. You could be struggling with a personal issue, such as a relationship. In some instances, there may be nothing bothering you at all when panic suddenly strikes. It is unpredictable. If it happens with regularity or you experience attacks that are debilitating, you should consider turning to a medical professional to find answers for your panic attacks. There are many approaches, from counseling to yoga or medication that can help you to get past your symptoms. Until you do, you will never know when panic will blindside you, forcing you to experience an intense fear that is worse than any roller coaster or horror movie.

2. Sleep Problems

Sleep problems are another typical problem associated with an anxiety disorder. It is no surprise that intense feelings of anxiety and fear can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. You may find that you have a great deal of difficulty falling asleep each night because your mind is racing, your heart is pounding, and you simply can’t relax enough to allow your body to seek the sweet relief of a good night’s rest. Your difficulty falling asleep may lead you to stay up later and later in hopes of becoming exhausted. If you finally do drift off, you will be dragging when you get out of bed and have no energy for the day ahead. If you are able to fall asleep without a problem, anxiety can still take over in the middle of the night, waking you from a sound sleep.

Once you are awake, the fears and uneasiness can take over in your mind until you are no longer able to go back to sleep. Once again, you are faced with a long day ahead of you in which you are exhausted. Your fatigue may lead to dozing off at work or periodically throughout the day, making it difficult to take care of your responsibilities. There may be points when all you do is sleep because your feelings of anxiety have been so intense throughout the day that you are worn out. The expression, “Sweet dreams,” is something that you have probably forgotten once anxiety takes control of your life. It can make it difficult to focus when you are not sleeping well. Your moods are likely to be up and down as well when you have been robbed of a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Signs of anxiety can get in the way of so many aspects of your life.

3. Not Being Able to Stay Calm

When symptoms of anxiety rule your life, not being able to stay calm could be a major problem. You hear people say, “Stay calm,” all the time or “Calm down.” For you, it is not that simple. You can tell yourself that you have to stay calm. You can close your eyes and try deep breathing as you struggle to calm yourself after a bout of intense anxiety. You can listen to soothing music and soak in a hot tub in an effort to stay calm when life becomes to difficult to bear, but symptoms of anxiety can keep you from settling your fears. Not being able to stay calm may hit when you are faced with a stressful situation.

While it is difficult to deal with life’s challenges for anyone, it can be crippling for you. When you have that moment when worry starts circling in your mind like a shark or uneasiness makes your stomach twist, it’s hard to calm down. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell yourself that you can do it. You could have the support of family and friends by your side to tell you that everything is going to be all right. When anxiety rules your life, you simply can’t take control of these extreme emotions. You are likely to be restless and overcome with fear whenever your anxiety kicks in. For some people, not being able to stay calm is a problem that happens every day, all day. It depends on the degree of the disorder and coping skills that a person may have learned to deal with moments of intense worry. Not being able to stay calm can make you feel uneasy all of the time or like you can’t possibly handle anything that life throws your way.

4. Cold, Sweaty, Numb, Tingling, Hands or Feet

The emotional signs of anxiety are a challenge, but there are physical symptoms of anxiety that can be of great concern as well. When you are in the midst of an anxiety attack or intense worry, you may experience cold hands or feet. Tingling hands or feet are common as well. It is also typical to experience sweaty hands or feet. These symptoms may become even more intense and lead to numb hands or feet. You can compare these symptoms with your extremities to how your hands or feet might feel when they have “fallen asleep” when the circulation has been cut off. When you are affected by cold hands or feet, tingling hands or feet, or numb hands or feet, your circulation is actually being affected by your anxiety disorder. Sweaty hands or feet can result when your body goes into overdrive to deal with your extreme emotions. When you are overcome with anxiety, your body is going to go into the fight or flight mode.

If it is ready to fight, you could have a pounding heart and a rush of Adrenalin through your veins that makes you feel on edge. This could lead to the sweaty hands or feet. If you go into the flight mode, cold hands or feet, tingling hands or feet, or numb hands or feet are typical. It’s like your body is trying to escape the emotions and nervousness that you are experiencing. These symptoms of anxiety typically don’t last long. However, that doesn’t make it any easier when you are feeling miserable. In those moments when you are experiencing tingling, numbness, or a sensation of cold, it can make it impossible for you to carry on with your normal routine. That is the biggest problem with an anxiety disorder. When signs of anxiety strike at any time and take over, it gets in the way of your quality of life. Symptoms of anxiety can make you feel like you are physically ill and may lead you to believe that you have other health problems that are causing your discomfort. If you feel numbness or tingling in your hands and feet on a regular basis, you should see your doctor. Find out if anxiety is at the root of your problems or if you are dealing with other health issues as well.

5. Shortness of Breath

We’ve all had those moments when we experience shortness of breath. It could be from running to fast to catch the elevator. Maybe you had to catch your breath after climbing the stairs. It is common when you have a cold. For some people, shortness of breath is a daily problem because of a breathing disorder or an condition affecting the heart and lungs. However, it is a different story when it is caused by anxiety. When you are a victim of symptoms of anxiety, shortness of breath can strike at any time that intense emotions or worry set in. You could be in the middle of reading a book or sleeping at night when shortness of breath suddenly makes it difficult for you to fill your lungs with air. It is a frightening sensation.

For a brief moment in time, you may feel like you just can’t really breathe. You have to stop whatever you are doing to wait for your shortness of breath to pass. It can make you feel weak and you may become dizzy. Shortness of breath can force you to sit down and take a break until you are able to breathe easily again. You may try breathing into a paper bag or counting to yourself in order to take control of your breathing again, but you may not be able to regain control. When you suffer from signs of anxiety like shortness of breath, you often may feel like you are on a thrill ride and you can’t get off. You simply have to wait it out and hope that relief will come soon. When you can’t find relief, you know it is time to get help.

6. Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are one of the most troubling symptoms of anxiety. When your heart suddenly starts racing or you feel like there is a fluttering in your chest, you are experiencing heart palpitations. Breathing problems may come hand in hand with this symptom of anxiety because it is hard to breathe when your heart seems to be galloping out of control. It’s a vicious cycle when you are overcome with intense worry. The anxiety can trigger heart palpitations which in turn can frighten you. As a result, you may find yourself struggling even more with your racing heart beat. Women who are dealing with menopause often experience this unsettling symptom. It can also be an indicator of a heart problem. When you experience heart palpitations along with the gamut of symptoms of anxiety, it is more likely a part of your disorder.

Regardless, heart palpitations on a regular basis should not be taken lightly, especially if you suffer shortness of breath and dizziness as well. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are dealing with heart palpitations as a regular occurrence. You need to stay on top of any troubling symptoms, even if you think they are signs of anxiety. You can’t allow yourself to be ruled by your disorder. When heart palpitations strike, it can be frightening. You may be overcome by a racing heart when you least expect it. It could be in that moment that you realize you have a deadline coming up at work or because someone is coming to visit that you haven’t seen in years. A doctor’s appointment or a visit to the dentist could send your heart out of control. When anxiety is a problem in your life, you can be taken by surprise at any time by signs of anxiety.

7. Dry Mouth

When you consider the physical sings of anxiety that can take over at any time, dry mouth is another problem. Dry mouth is that sensation when your mouth becomes dry with such an intensity that you feel a need to drink water as soon as possible. It can be instant, leading to the sensation that you have no moisture in your mouth. The next sensation can be a difficulty swallowing because your mouth is so dry. When this symptom strikes, it is another moment when your disorder controls your body in unsettling ways.

Your salivary glands are put on hold for an instant. You may find that rinsing with dry mouth mouthwash or sipping at water can make a difference when you are faced with this symptom. You can try sucking on a lozenge or chewing gum. While these are all temporary fixes that can help you to deal with any time when your mouth loses all moisture, you need to find a solution that will actually last. That means getting to the bottom of why you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. 

8. Nausea

Nausea is perhaps the worst symptom of anxiety. You have already dealt with worry, uneasiness, the inability to calm down, and numbness in your feet, but nausea can be more upsetting than anything else. It’s that moment when your stomach rises against you and you feel like you are going to vomit. You may find yourself trapped in the unsettling feeling of nausea, waiting to see if something is going to happen. At any instant, that nausea may actually make you vomit. You may find yourself struggling to overcome the sensation and settle your stomach when worry has taken over in your life. Like all other signs of anxiety, your nausea could be completely out of your control. You can try breathing exercises or lying down in a cool place. You can nibble at crackers or sip at ginger ale. You can take medication that is supposed to settle your stomach. However, none of these remedies may work when you are dealing with one of the many signs of anxiety that are so troubling.

The best you can hope for is that your nausea will soon pass, like all of the other symptoms of anxiety. While symptoms of anxiety may only be temporary in nature, they come back with regularity when you have a disorder. If you feel that your signs of anxiety are more than you can handle on your own, don’t hesitate to get help from a medical professional. There are many remedies, coping strategies, and counseling services available that can help you to deal with debilitating symptoms of anxiety. You do not have to let these symptoms control you any longer. There is hope and it is time that you find a brighter future that isn’t shadowed by anxiety.