Anxiety Symptoms


The symptoms vary among different types of anxiety disorders and each has its own specific symptoms, but generally anxiety has three major components:

  • A physical component, which features symptoms like palpitations and sweating, tightness or pain in chest, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, headache, tingling in fingertips, muscle pains, muscle weakness, dizziness, difficulty in swallowing, abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and frequent urination
  • A psychological component characterised by irritability, a feeling of being on edge all the time, anger, lack of concentration, inability to remember, fear of impending death, feelings of being outside oneself (depersonalisation), feelings of being cut off from reality (derealisation)
  • An interpersonal component featuring an inclination to ask other people for reassurance

Panic attacks

Some people may have panic attacks which are short lived episodes of acute anxiety when the person will have feelings of terror, impending doom, breathlessness, palpitations, faintness and chest pain. They often hyperventilate (breathe vey rapidly) which can cause tingling in the lips and fingers, and cramps in the hand. Frequently the person thinks they might die when they have their first attack.

Conditions that accompany or resemble anxiety disorders

Anxiety attacks can mimic nearly every acute disorder of the heart or lungs. One study reported that 25 per cent of patients entering a hospital with chest pain were actually suffering from panic attacks (diagnosed correctly in only 2 per cent of cases). It is often difficult to distinguish between a heart condition and a panic attack. In addition, anxiety-like symptoms are seen in epilepsy, hypoglycaemia, adrenal gland tumours, hyperthyroidism and also during menopause. Depression is commonly experienced along with anxiety.