Anxiety can manifest in many different ways, both physically and mentally. While there could be more in reality, many mental healthcare resources highlight the below 8 most common symptoms of anxiety.
Restlessness often refers to our inability to sit calmly, relax, or respite during a time of anxiety. It can lead to other debilitating symptoms and can exacerbate other symptoms of anxiety as well, leading to panic, difficulty concentrating, and worry. Restlessness can also lead to trouble sleeping, which can have a profound effect on both mental and physical health.
Impending doom or worry
Though these symptoms are all common, impending doom and worry are often one of the first symptoms a medical provider addresses during an assessment or appointment. These thoughts can revolve around ourselves, friends, and loved ones. They frequently arise and are prolonged when a situation is out of one's control.
Panic is common with anxiety. When we are suddenly overwhelmed, it could mean that we are experiencing a panic attack. Sometimes these episodes seem to come without warning or reason. Other times, they happen in response to a reminder of an underlying thought of anxiety.
During a panic attack, we may feel like we're not in control or afraid of dying. Chest pain, trembling, hot flashes or chills, a choking sensation, and other physical symptoms are commonly associated with panic attacks.
Anxiety can make us feel like we must be on constant high alert or keep us fixated on one thought. This, in turn, makes it challenging to concentrate or think clearly.
The persistent feeling of being overworked, tired, and exhausted often comes with the territory of anxiety. Stress hormones, like cortisol, fill the body, leading to fatigue at any point during the day. It can build from the other symptoms we're experiencing, like difficulty concentrating and lack of sleep.
When in an anxious state, our body may be on edge, and our mind may be in constant worry. This can lead to a disturbance in our sleep patterns. Intrusive thoughts and the stress hormone cortisol can keep us up long past the time we planned to go to fall asleep. The lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and lead to other mental and physical health challenges.
While anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are different mental health challenges, we may develop symptoms that behave in ways that look similar to OCD. For example, we may check the locks on their doors several times before leaving the house in response to the hypervigilance that can come after a trauma. OCD and those diagnosed with anxiety can suffer from intrusive, disturbing thoughts.
Agitation is a feeling of anxiety or nervous excitement. It is understood on a spectrum. Words like restless, uneasy, and tense generally describe mild agitation. When we're agitated, we may be fidgety or find it hard to sit still. Agitation can build to the point that we become short-tempered or continually irritable. Untreated trauma can contribute to aggressive or harmful behavior toward ourselves or others.