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Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the US, with over 40 million people suffering from an anxiety disorder.  If you haven’t suffered from anxiety yourself, chances are you know one or more people who does.  Anxiety can come in many forms, including phobias, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety. 


While anxiety is a mental health issue, physical symptoms are more common that you might think.  Have you ever heard someone say they feel anxious?  These physical symptoms are so intense that one study found that 1.2  million ER visits annually were attributed to anxiety during the two year period the study was conducted. Below are 10 common physical symptoms of anxiety that can be confused with other health conditions including issues like having a heart attack (which tells you how serious these physical symptoms feel for someone suffering from anxiety).


Physical symptoms include but are not limited to:


1.     Dizziness

2.     Sweating

3.     Feeling an impending sense of doom

4.     Shaking

5. Upset stomach/nausea

6.     Gastrointestinal issues (such as diarrhea)

7.     Chest pain

8.     Rapid heartbeat

9.     Heavy breathing

10.   Tingling/numbness


It’s important to note that if you have any new/unexplained symptoms, even if you believe they might be anxiety, to go visit your doctor since anxiety symptoms are so similar to symptoms of physical health issues.  Medical doctors are also familiar with anxiety disorders and can often provide referrals for mental health care if needed while ruling out or addressing other issues.


Therapy can offer long term support and relief from symptoms.  Therapy is very effective in treating anxiety disordes, and specifically CBT offers very good results in studies treating anxiety disorders. CBT works with the mental symptoms of anxiety, including excessive worry, ruminating thoughts, and fears about the future, while also working towards relief of the physical symptoms of anxiety. 


Knowledge is power and it can be helpful to know the physical symptoms if you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety. Anxiety can be debiliating, but it is also highly treatable.

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