Anxiety and Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety can range from mild uneasiness and worry to severe panic. While short bursts of anxiety at a reasonable level can be beneficial – they may motivate a person to perform better – chronic or severe anxiety can be overwhelming and debilitating, causing academic, professional and/or social dysfunction. Anxiety stemming from fears occuring in social situations is called social anxiety.

Anxiety is a fear response comprised of interlocking elements of cognition, emotional/psychological symptoms and physiological symptoms/effects.

Cognition of Anxiety

What a person thinks, determines behavior, emotion, and often, mood. It is often directly related to physiological dynamics.

Emotional and Psychological Anxiety Symptoms

Emotional and psychological anxiety symptoms may include the following sensations/states of being listed below.

  • Avoidance
  • Obsessive worrying
  • Apprehension, dread, discomfort
  • Nervousness or feeling “at edge”
  • Fearful anticipation
  • Restlessness, “antsiness” or feeling “stressed out”
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Self-consciousness
  • Strong desire to escape or run away
  • Fear that you are “going crazy”
  • An inability to focus or concentrate
  • High-pitch alertness or hyper-vigilance

Depression is often a by-product of anxiety.

Physiological Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety may be manifested by these physiological anxiety symptoms which may also be exhibited during a panic attack:

  • Heart palpitations, heart racing or pounding
  • Nausea
  • Rapid shallow breathing (hyperventilation) or shortness of breath
  • Stomach or chest pains
  • Butterfly feelings in stomach or queasiness
  • Feeling faint
  • Sweating
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Tremors, jitters
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest in sex

Anxiety: self-feeding/self-perpetuating

For most individuals suffering from anxiety, the condition is self-perpetuating. The stress of constant worrying, for example, feeds on itself and stimulates deeper physiologic symptoms. These physical symptoms feed worrying, and the cycle continues and spreads: the pattern of worrying and physiological symptoms bring on depression. Depression is often treated with medication only, which, since it is not the root of the problem, does not resolve it. With a constant cycle of physiological anxiety symptoms feeding psychological anxiety symptoms and vice versa, the problem of anxiety worsens.