What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety and panic attacks are just as much physical states as they are mental ones…
When we think of anxiety symptoms, we often think of a mental health condition that induces feelings of worry, concern, fear and nervousness. But, although we are absolutely correct to assume that this is a problem that starts in the brain, it is actually just as much a physical state as a mental one and can trigger physical anxiety symptoms, too.
“Anxiety is the feeling you have when you think that something unpleasant is going to happen in the future. Other words such as feeling ‘apprehensive’, ‘uncertain’, ‘nervous’ and ‘on edge’ also provide a good description of feelings linked to anxiety,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, in her guide Understanding Anxiety.
It is useful to understand the broad array of physical anxiety symptoms that someone with an anxiety disorder or panic disorder can feel both during a panic attack and on a daily basis. Knowing that lots of physical sensations are symptoms of anxiety can reassure an anxious mind that they are not suffering from a more serious health condition.
It also reminds them that these physical feelings, however easy to misinterpret, are not in their heads they are very real and have plausible, scientific explanations.
What Happens To Our Body When We Are Anxious
Anxiety can cause many sensations in our bodies as it prepares for danger. These sensations are called the alarm reaction. They occur when the bodys natural alarm system is activated. These sensations occur because our bodies are getting ready to help us defend ourselves.
Recognizing Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
You can learn to identify the physical signs of anxiety by asking yourself: What happens when Im anxious? Where do I feel the anxiety in my body? For example, when you feel anxious, you may get butterflies in your stomach, sweat a lot, breathe heavily, and feel dizzy or lightheaded.
REMEMBER: If you often experience many uncomfortable physical symptoms, but doctors cannot find anything wrong with you physically, you may have problems with anxiety. You aredefinitely notgoing crazy. Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they are not harmful.
Chest Pain And Heart Palpitations
You may think it’s a sign of an impending heart attack but it’s not. When you feel anxious or are having a full-blown panic attack, the heart beats faster to pump more blood around the body to prepare for fight or flight.
This action can cause hyperventilation which leads to breathing in too much oxygen. This, in turn, causes a contraction of the blood vessels which can lead to chest pain.
Chest pain caused by anxiety is often felt across different areas of the chest and comes and goes.
It is also important to note that a rush of adrenaline does not damage the heart.
But there’s no need to feel silly if you’ve ever thought you were having a heart attack. Nicky says: ‘Over the years we have been contacted by many people who have told us that they have had to rush off to casualty because they truly believed they were having a heart attack. Once there, they were told , that their problem was entirely psychological.’
Note: Whenever chest pain is concerned, it is always a good idea to visit the GP to rule out any other conditions.
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When To See A Doctor
It can be difficult to distinguish between a panic attack and a heart attack. If a person has the symptoms of a heart attack, the safest option is to call 911 right away.
If someone has left arm pain due to anxiety or panic attacks, they may wish to speak to a doctor or therapist. These professionals will be able to talk through the treatment options and help the person begin to manage their anxiety.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety You Didnt Know About
Anxiety and panic attacks are just as much physical states as they are mental ones…
- When we think of anxiety, we often think of a mental health condition that induces feelings of worry, concern, fear and nervousness. But, although we are absolutely correct to assume that anxiety starts in the brain, it is actually just as much a physical state as it is a mental one.
‘Anxiety is the feeling you have when you think that something unpleasant is going to happen in the future. Other words such as feeling “apprehensive”, “uncertain”, “nervous” and “on edge” also provide a good description of feelings linked to anxiety,’ explains Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, in her guide Understanding Anxiety.
And, as life begins to return to normal, more and more people are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, as we wonder about what’s next. In fact, there’s a name for it, ‘post-lockdown anxiety’, as we ask, how will we adjust our routines again? What will our new normal look like? And how will our jobs, family life and relationships be affected?
So, it is useful to understand the broad array of physical symptoms that someone with an anxiety disorder, or panic disorder, can feel both during a panic attack and on a daily basis. Knowing that lots of physical sensations are caused by anxiety can reassure an anxious mind that they are not suffering from a more serious health condition.
Here, we look at the common physical symptoms of anxiety and provide a physiological explanation for each.
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Restless Leg Syndrome Caused By Stress
Restless Leg Syndrome is a common symptom of anxiety. We traced this symptom to the adverse effects of chronic stress. Specifically, apprehensive behavior stresses the body. A body that becomes chronically stressed can exhibit symptoms of stress. A reduced level of GABA an inhibitory neurotransmitter and an increased level of Glutamate an excitatory neurotransmitter is one of the adverse effects of chronic stress.
This change in neurotransmitter levels can lead to uncontrolled excitatory actions, such as restlessness, excitation, and nervous energy with a reduced ability to inhibit these actions.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine has confirmed that this neurotransmitter change is responsible for Restless Leg Syndrome. Fortunately, theres a lot we can do to eliminate stress-caused Restless Leg Syndrome. We mention many of the natural strategies in the Recovery Support area of our website. We also provide a detailed explanation about the balance between GABA and Glutamate, and what we can do to bring a return to a healthy balance.
You can read the press release for this research below:
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety No One Talks About
Contrary to what some may believe, anxiety isnt something that just happens in your head. Anxiety refers to a very real mental health condition and for many, it is experienced on both a mental and physiological level.
The term anxiety is often used flippantly, but in reality anxiety is a condition that should be diagnosed by a mental health professional. Theres a big difference between feeling the effects of an anxiety disorder and feeling occasional stress. Stress is often in reaction to a life change or other trigger symptoms of anxiety sometimes develop in response to those things, but can also occur at random. These symptoms can be difficult to manage and can hugely affect the quality of a persons life.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety are more well-known especially the ones related to thoughts and emotions. It is not uncommon, for instance, for a person with anxiety to worry excessively or experience irritability and mood swings. However, some symptoms of anxiety are more physical. Here are a few you may not know about.
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Muscle Pain And Tension
Experiencing frequent feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety can impact the body by contributing to muscle pain and tightness. Muscle tension is a common problem for people with panic disorder. Typically, muscles become tense during a panic attack and can cause feelings of stiffness throughout the body long after the attack has subsided.
Muscle pain and discomfort can often be managed through relaxation techniques. Exercises that can help calm and relax the body include breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization.
There are many self-help books that provide examples and instructions on these techniques. Yoga is an activity that includes many aspects of relaxation with the additional benefits of exercise for panic disorder.
Anxiety Can Cause Neuropathy
Anxiety and stress do affect the body in many different ways. A few of the most obvious symptoms of stress include numbness, burning, tingling, and pain or discomfort when moving. These symptoms are very similar to what you might feel with neuropathy. Thats why its very easy to think you have neuropathy when you actually dont. If you assume thats what youre dealing with and never confirm it with your doctor, you wont be able to address the actual problem .
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When To See Your Doctor
If the cause of your leg pain is obvious, such as a recent injury, then you can try home remedies to relieve pain or see your doctor. If you notice leg pain along with any of the following symptoms, then you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Inability to walk or put pressure on the leg The leg is pale or cool to touch Difficulty breathing Leg is warm to touch Leg is swollen
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Ways Stress & Anxiety Are Causing Your Neuropathy
Neuropathy can be caused by a number of different things. Certain medical conditions, injuries, and excessive alcohol consumption can all cause the nerve damage behind neuropathy. But what about stress and anxiety? Can stress actually cause neuropathy? If so, how, and what can be done to treat it? If youre suffering from symptoms of neuropathy, you will want to seek out Broomfield neuropathy treatment to determine the exact cause of your condition. Once you know if its related to stress, you can begin addressing the problem.
Whats New In This Article
Twenty-eight updates have been logged for this article since publication . All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. moreWhens the last time you read a blog post and found a list of many changes made to that page since publication? Like good footnotes, this sets PainScience.com apart from other health websites and blogs. Although footnotes are more useful, the update logs are important. They are fine print, but more meaningful than most of the comments that most Internet pages waste pixels on. I log any change to articles that might be of interest to a keen reader. Complete update logging of all noteworthy improvements to all articles started in 2016. Prior to that, I only logged major updates for the most popular and controversial articles.See the Whats New? page for updates to all recent site updates.
May 4, 2021 Some fresh new references about cannabis as an anti-anxiety medication.
2020 A thorough proofreading.
2020 Minor new section: Get a pet, probably a dog they are people too, and those relationships are never toxic.
2020 Extensive revisions to the self-help suggestions. This was long overdue. This article is quite old, and had some rambly weird stuff from my hippy youth, now purged. I added a couple of ideas, polished several others, organized them, and created an introduction with some broader points and a summary of all the options.
2019 Added quite a bit of recommended reading.
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Physical Anxiety Symptom 1: Spots And Acne
There are multiple reasons as to why anxiety and stress can cause breakouts of adult acne, these are:
- Increased production of the stress hormone which can up the amount of oil your skin produces.
- Increased sweating which can clog pores.
- Touching your skin more, including your face, neck and shoulders, as you feel fidgety and on edge. This transfers dirt from your hands onto your skin and makes you more prone to breakouts.
Where Can You Get Help For Anxiety
Talk to a GP Make an appointment with your GP and talk to them about how you are feeling. They will be able to refer you to counseling, offer advice on home remedies or prescribe medication.
Talk to a friend or family member Talking about how you feel can be a simple but very effective way to ease pressure. Choose someone you feel comfortable opening up to and who you think will be a good listener and able to try and understand.
Important note: Although anxiety is common, it is not something that has to be lived with or tolerated if it is becoming unpleasant or changing your lifestyle. Read our guide on signs that anxiety is beginning to take control and visit the Anxiety UK website for information on where to seek help and important helplines.
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Problems Fighting Off Germs
Your body may not beat back infections so well when you worry. Even just thinking about something that made you angry or sad can lessen the response of your immune system — the body’s defense against germs — in as little as 30 minutes. Anxiety that stretches over days, months, or years can take an even bigger toll on the immune system, making it harder for you to fight the flu, herpes, shingles, and other viruses.
How Does Anxiety Cause Leg Pain
Leg pain is not a common symptom of anxiety by any means. But some people do experience this symptom, especially those who have anxiety attacks. The underlying causes of the leg pain, and the type of pain, may differ from person to person. Some of the more common experiences are:
- Hyperventilation Cramping Hyperventilation cramping is the most common cause of leg pain in those with anxiety. Although it may occur at any time, it is especially likely during panic attacks when people are more prone to hyperventilating. Muscles become drained of the proper balance of carbon dioxide, causing cramping.
- Muscle Tension Muscle tension is also a fairly common cause of leg pain in those with anxiety. When a person feels high levels of stress, the muscles tend to become tense, and this tension, over long periods of time, can leave legs feeling achy.
- Sleep Tossing and Turning Those living with anxiety often have difficulty sleeping, and end up tossing and turning throughout the night. This increases ones likelihood of ending up in positions that put considerable stress on the legs and joints.
- Perceived Pain A common problem for those living with anxiety is a hypersensitivity to pain from issues that are normal/natural. Your body has very small aches and pains every day. Some of these pains are so mild or natural, that those without anxiety often don’t even notice the pain. But those with anxiety may be extra sensitive to pain, leading to a greater level of perceived pain.
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