What are Anxiety Symptoms?
We feel anxiety emotionally and we feel anxiety physically.
Anxiety symptoms can be both emotional and physical.
What's in This Post
|Emotional Anxiety Symptoms|
|What Causes Anxiety and Panic Attack Physical Symptoms?|
|Physical Anxiety and Panic Attack Symptoms|
|Anxiety Signs and Symptoms Checklist|
|Panic Attack Signs and Symptoms|
|My Own Experience With Anxiety and Panic|
|Anxiety Help Books and Recordings|
Note: This post is not intended to replace individualized care from personal medical professionals.
Emotional Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety is a fearful feeling that seems to get a hold of you and not let go.
It can drive you to act in a demanding or irrational way as you attempt to get relief from the fear. Or it can narrow your world as you reduce your exposure to situations that stimulate the fear.
The emotional side of anxiety can be felt as:
- a sense of impending doom,
- panic, or
- being trapped, controlled, or overwhelmed.
Where your anxiety falls on this list of emotion descriptions may be determined by how intense the anxiety is at any given time. (For example, panic is more intense than worry.)
What Causes Anxiety and Panic Attack Physical Symptoms?
Anxiety is intense fear. Fear’s message to you is, “Danger!” That message can stimulate the fight-or-flight response. And that will get your adrenal glands involved.
Fight-or-flight puts your adrenal glands to work producing and releasing hormones:
- Adrenaline (aka adrenalin or epinephrine)
- Noradrenaline (aka noradrenalin or norepinephrine)
These hormones tell your body and brain what to do next. They boost your fight responses or prep you to make a speedy getaway, and they suppress other body functions that aren’t necessary for high-level protective maneuvers.
Adrenaline and noradrenaline are the first-wave threat response team. They exert their force in a flash: your heart rate increases, you become hyper-alert, your digestion slows down, and your blood sugar goes up. You might recognize these as physical symptoms that accompany anxiety.
Cortisol is the second-wave responder, keeping some of these reactions going and changing others to help you deal with prolonged stress. It impacts when the stress response will be turned off.
Physical Anxiety and Panic Attack Symptoms
Like the emotional side of anxiety, the physical side of anxiety can also be felt at different intensities, from an uneasy jittery physical feeling that accompanies worry, to full bore panic that feels like you are dying.
In fact, panic sends many people to emergency rooms because it can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack.
When anxiety hits its most intense form it is often called a panic attack. (Some call it an anxiety attack, but I think that panic attack is a better label. I see anxiety as less intense than a panic attack.)
A panic attack is very intense for a time—at least 10 minutes—but then usually subsides within an hour. After the panic feeling is reduced, an anxious feeling can remain, but the severity of physical symptoms is not as great as during the panic attack.
Anxiety Signs and Symptoms Checklist
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
muscular tension, aches, and pains,
headaches or migraines,
gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, cramps, bloating),
loss of appetite,
trembling or shaking,
crackling or unsteady voice,
feeling hot or cold,
hyper energy or low energy,
a lethargic worn-out feeling,
weakness in legs,
sleep disturbance (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep),
inability to relax,
skin rashes or hives,
increased heart rate,
brain fog or difficulty concentrating,
hypersensitivity to noise or touch, or
a closed down feeling in throat.
Panic Attack Signs and Symptoms
Physical symptoms of a panic attack can include any of the anxiety symptoms listed above plus any of these more intense symptoms:
- dizziness or faintness,
- chills or hot flashes,
- racing heart,
- heart palpitations,
- chest pain,
- vision changes,
- numbness or tingling,
- shortness of breath,
- hyperventilation, or
- difficulty moving.
My Own Experience With Anxiety and Panic
I have dealt with anxiety throughout my life and even experienced two panic attacks. They definitely are no fun.
Panic attacks are scary multiplied: they are caused by something scary and they are scary.
My first panic attack lasted about a half hour. It was spurred by my receipt of a threatening email from an ex-boyfriend. The panic reduced when I called someone to help me deal with the situation and I felt more secure.
The second panic attack occurred about a week later when I received another email in which his threats escalated. That attack lasted for about an hour. During that attack, I laid down on the floor because I was worried that I might pass out and I figured if I passed out on the floor at least I wouldn’t fall and hurt myself.
After the second attack, I took myself to a hypnotherapist friend. She fixed me up and I never had another panic attack.
I think that my personal experiences with anxiety and panic, combined with my professional education and experience as a counselor, give me an insight into anxiety that is more complete than most.
I know that my clients are often relieved to discover that I have experienced anxiety and panic first hand and so have an understanding of what they have been through.
Anxiety Help Books and Recordings
I've learned a lot about what helps relieve anxiety (and what doesn't help) through a lifetime of dealing with my own anxiety and helping hundreds of anxious clients overcome theirs. I put that learning into books and recordings that can help you experience less anxiety and more stress resilience too.
Help for Anxiety and Stress Relief Books
Eye-opening explanation of emotions, including anxiety, panic, nervousness, and worry
Guidance on how to catch overreactions, and stop anxiety from turning into anger
Journal writing prompts for processing old and new sources of anxiety
5 relaxation skills and 5 quick grounding reset techniques
Worksheets for challenging cognitive distortions , stopping anxious thoughts, and building an anxiety-reducing mindset
Stress resilience lifestyle tips
As someone who struggles with severe anxiety, this workbook was a God send. It teaches you things you never knew about anxiety and then makes you dig deep by having you write about your experiences and what you’ve learned about them. I’ve had so many “ah-ha” moments while working on this book. It breaks things down for you and gives you tips on how you can help yourself get better. I can’t recommend this workbook enough!!"
In Feed Your Calm, you'll learn:
- What's happening in your body as you try to deal with stress
- How specific vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, probiotics, and herbs help you deal with stress
- 5 types of foods that add to your stress and hurt your ability to be calm
- 12 anti-anxiety foods for stress resilience
- 10 anti-anxiety supplements for stress resilience
"Anxiety is at epidemic levels today. In Feed Your Calm, Ann Silvers gives readers an approachable antidote to this epidemic."
--Dr. Megan DeBell, MD
Help for Anxiety and Stress Relief Hypnosis Recording
- Ann Silvers