9 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder


An anxiety disorder is a condition in which anxiety becomes excessive, disproportionate to the situation, and interferes with daily life. Although anxiety is often associated with emotional states, it can also manifest itself through physical symptoms that are often ignored or misinterpreted. In this article, we'll look at 10 physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder that can help you recognize it and take action.

1. Muscle tension and pain

One of the most common physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder is muscle stiffness and pain. Anxiety can lead to an unconscious tightening of muscles, which in turn leads to pain in the neck, back, shoulders, or other parts of the body. Prolonged tension can also cause muscle spasms and even chronic pain.

2. Sleep problems

Anxiety is often accompanied by sleep disturbances. People suffering from an anxiety disorder may experience insomnia, waking up at night, restless dreams, or waking up prematurely. This is due to overactivation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep.

3. Unpleasant sensations in the stomach

The physical manifestations of anxiety can also affect the stomach and digestive systems. Common symptoms include stomach pain or discomfort, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This is because stress and anxiety can affect the gastrointestinal tract and increase its activity.

4. Heart problems and pulse changes

An anxiety disorder can cause heart problems and changes in heart rate. People may experience a fast heart rate (tachycardia), palpitations, or even pain in the area of the heart. These symptoms can be even more distressing and increase anxiety.

5. Breathing problems and feeling of suffocation

One of the most frightening physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder is the feeling of suffocation or difficulty breathing. This may manifest as a feeling of a lump in the throat, difficulty swallowing, an increased need to breathe deeply, or a feeling of not getting enough air. These symptoms can be especially scary and can lead to panic.

6. Worry about your heartbeat

People suffering from an anxiety disorder may feel anxious and fearful of a heart attack or other heart problems. This may manifest as an involuntary focus on your heartbeat, experiencing it as excessively intense or irregular.

7. Weight changes

Stress and anxiety can also affect your appetite and weight. Some people may lose their appetite and lose weight due to anxiety, while others may turn to comfort eating and gain excess weight.

8. Headaches and migraines

Physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder may also include headaches, particularly tension headaches and migraines. Stress and anxiety can lead to vasoconstriction and muscle tension, which causes pain and discomfort in the head.

9. Increased sensitivity to cold and heat

Some people with an anxiety disorder may experience increased sensitivity to temperature changes. They may often feel cold or hot, even when the environment is comfortable for others. This is due to overactivity of the nervous system and changes in the body's response to stress.

How to deal with the physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder

Anxiety treatment can combine several techniques and approaches like:

  • Seeking professional help: See a doctor or therapist for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques: Meditation, deep breathing, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce physical tension and improve well-being.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise can help relieve stress and improve sleep quality.
  • Avoiding stress: Practicing stress management strategies and avoiding toxic situations can help reduce anxiety and physical symptoms.
  • Support from others: Connecting with loved ones, friends or group support can be helpful in managing anxiety and physical symptoms.
The bottom line

The physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be just as significant and disruptive as the emotional manifestations. It is important to consider them when assessing your mental state and seek help if you notice them. Timely treatment and support can significantly improve your well-being and quality of life. 

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Sunday, 21 April 2024