Anxiety is an emotion and therefore tends to be associated with psychological symptoms such as fear and worry. However, it can also be accompanied by some very unpleasant physical sensations. These are particularly evident when the anxiousness progresses from normal feelings of apprehension, which can arise in response to everyday events, to a less rational anxiety disorder.
When it becomes a mental health issue, the physical symptoms of anxiety tend to be present most of the time. In many cases the sufferer is concerned that the symptoms are a sign that they have a serious underlying health issue. Understanding that the physical sensations are a normal part of anxiety can help the person to accept and overcome their disorder.
One of the most familiar sensations is that of a churning stomach, which is also a symptom associated with normal anxiety levels. This may be accompanied by a feeling of nausea and the urge to go to the toilet more frequently. Some people will vomit with severe anxiety, but this is rare.
Hyperventilation can also be a problem because anxiety stimulates the body’s flight or fight response. This can manifest as labored or faster breathing, as well as a tightening sensation in the chest which is sometimes mistakenly taken as the sign of a heart attack. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint then hyperventilation is typically the underlying reason.
Dizziness can also be triggered by a problem with the heart’s normal rhythm, which can be felt as palpitations. The symptoms can vary between sufferers but the heartbeat will feel either very fast or irregular, or a combination of the two. Although palpitations from anxiety are not dangerous, they should always be investigated by a medical professional. This is because in a small number of cases the symptoms may actually be the result of a more serious health issue.
Another of the physical symptoms of anxiety which tends to worry people is the sensation of pins and needles. These symptoms can either be consistent or intermittent, and may affect all or just specific parts of the body. Although worrying, the feeling is just a sign of the body’s flight or fight function working. The tingling sensation is caused by blood flow moving from the body’s extremities to essential areas such as the internal organs.
The last two symptoms associated with the disorder are less unexpected and worrisome, but can nonetheless cause a lot of misery for the sufferer. The first of these is frequent headaches and migraines, and the latter is sleep disturbances and insomnia. Both can be debilitating and interfere with everyday activities if left untreated.
The physical symptoms associated with anxiety disorder are varied and people may have different experiences of the condition. If you have suffered from three or more of the symptoms for six weeks or more it is essential that you speak to your doctor. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating and the symptoms can worsen over time. Early treatment can raise the chances of a successful recovery.