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Signs of Anxiety

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

December 7, 2021 (Originally Published)

May 16, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

Anxiety feels different for anyone. Signs of anxiety can be physical and mental, and this mental health condition makes life challenging. Anxiety is treatable, though, with medications and behavioral therapies. This guide examines the physical and mental signs of anxiety and shows you how to get effective mental health treatment.

What are Signs of Anxiety?

Excessive worry that interferes with your daily life is one of the most common signs of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can also trigger physical and mental symptoms.

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Physical Signs

Anxiety doesn’t only affect your mind. Physical signs of anxiety include:

  • Rapid heart rate: Feeling like your heart is racing or pounding.
  • Shortness of breath: Finding it hard to breathe or feeling like you can’t get enough air.
  • Headaches: Frequent headaches or migraines.
  • Sweating: Sweating more than usual, especially in stressful situations, is among the signs of social anxiety.
  • Stomach issues: Nausea, stomach cramps, or other digestive problems.
  • Muscle tension: Tight or stiff muscles, often in your neck, shoulders, or back.
  • Fatigue: Feeling drained, even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Shaking: Shaky hands or body, often noticeable during or after a stressful event.

Consult your doctor about any physical signs of anxiety that are complicating your life.

Yawning

Yawning can be a surprising sign of anxiety. It’s most often linked to stress and can happen more when you’re feeling anxious. Yawning may help the body get more oxygen due to fast breathing or as a response to feeling tense. 

Fidgeting

Fidgeting, like tapping your foot or drumming your fingers, can be a way your body deals with anxiety. This constant movement might help release nervous energy or distract you from anxious thoughts, but it can also signal that you’re feeling stressed or uneasy.

Mental Signs

Mental signs of anxiety include:

  • Constantly worrying: Worrying about things others might not find concerning, often making it hard to focus on anything else.
  • Fear or panic: Experiencing intense fear or panic which can be overwhelming and hard to manage.
  • Problems with focus: Finding it hard to focus on tasks or conversations because of racing thoughts.
  • Restlessness: Feeling constantly on edge or unable to relax, even if nothing stressful is happening.
  • Irritability: Feeling easily annoyed or having a short temper, often due to the stress and tension that anxiety causes.
  • Catastrophic thinking: Always expecting the worst to happen or fearing that a minor issue will become a major problem.
  • Problems sleeping: Having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early because of worrying thoughts.

These mental symptoms can affect your everyday life and make it more difficult to complete tasks or enjoy activities.

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Signs of an Anxiety Attack

An anxiety attack happens when stress and fears slowly build up over time. Things like relationship problems or a heavy workload can gradually make you more anxious until you feel overwhelmed. During an anxiety attack, you might have trouble focusing, feel tense or irritable, and become restless or tired.

Often, when people talk about anxiety attacks, they mean panic attacks. These are episodes of intense fear that come on suddenly. Sometimes they have a clear cause, like stressing about a big presentation or being stuck in an elevator. Often, panic attacks appear without warning.

Panic attacks usually peak within 10 minutes and rarely last longer than 30 minutes. During that brief time, the terror can be so great that you might feel like you’re about to lose control or have a heart attack. The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks can be so frightening that many people think they’re having a medical emergency. After a panic attack, you may worry about having another, especially in a public place where it could be harder to find help or escape.

Symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Surge of panic
  • Feeling out of control
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Feeling detached from reality

If you start avoiding situations due to fear of panic attacks, seek help. Panic attacks can be treated effectively, and many people find relief after just a few therapy sessions.

Get Help for Anxiety at Renaissance Recovery

If you need help addressing mental health issues like anxiety, reach out to Renaissance Recovery. We treat anxiety and other conditions at our luxury beachside rehabs in California and Florida.

Outpatient treatment at Renaissance lets you get the help you need while keeping up with your daily commitments. We also offer more intensive programs for anyone who requires more support.

At Renaissance, all mental health treatment programs are personalized. Therapies include:

  • Talk therapies like CBT and DBT
  • Medications
  • Holistic approaches
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • One-to-one counseling
  • Ongoing aftercare and support

Call our mental health experts at 866.330.9449 for immediate help.

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