Know the Signs: Physical Symptoms of Anxiety



Anxiety can hit you at any time and in any place with no warning signs or detectable triggers. You could be going about your everyday routine when suddenly you’re overcome with a sense of dread or worry. Although it is normal to feel anxious in stress-inducing situations such as taking a test or learning a new skill, when anxiety gets to a point where it’s hindering the ability to complete everyday tasks, then you may be suffering from a disorder.

The most common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder. GAD causes one to be in a consistent state of worry about a number of things like family, money, school, work, etc. Panic disorder is the onslaught of out-of-the-blue panic attacks (anxiety attacks). Panic attacks can feel like a number of things, but the most common symptoms are dizziness, accelerated heart rate, feelings of choking, and/or fear of dying.

Anxiety symptoms are similar to those of a panic attack and can be caused by a number of things. In a healthy person, symptoms can be caused by an overly stressed or stimulated body. In others, anxiety can be caused by a specific anxiety disorder, or other medical issues such as heart disease, rare tumors, thyroid problems, diabetes, and more.

When you think about the effects of anxiety, you instantly think of the toll it can take on your mental state. Anxiety can cause you to have feelings of dread or apprehension, excessively watch for signs of danger, cause you to be irritable, and more. However, anxiety doesn’t just affect your mental state; anxiety can also manifest itself physically.

At a glance, the most common physical side effects of anxiety are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shaking/trembling
  • Insomnia.

Since anxiety is your body’s response to stress, there are also some uncommon physical side effects that you may experience like finger cramps, skin rashes, eye strain, weakness in extremities, and/or bloating/gas.

If you happen to experience any of these physical symptoms and cannot pinpoint what may be causing them, stop and take a breath. It may be best to do a self-check-in and see if there are any additional stressors you may have come across that may cause an anxious reaction. If you’ve self-checked and still cannot determine what may be causing you to experience anxiety symptoms, contact your doctor to talk about anxiety disorders and whether or not you may have developed one.

Concerned that you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder?

These quick self-tests can give you an indication of whether you ought to seek a professional’s opinion:  

Please note: only a licensed mental health professional can correctly diagnose an anxiety disorder. If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, please contact a psychologist/psychiatrist today.


About Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc.:

Established in 2002 and headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, BHPI is a Managed Behavioral Health Organization offering behavioral health services through a fully integrated network of world-class healthcare providers.  Our emphasis is on adding value for our customers by offering expert behavioral care management, medical coordination,  chronic behavioral condition management.  We are a fully accredited NCQA Managed Behavioral Health Organization (MBHO) & CARF Behavioral Health Business Network. BHPI offers collaborative solutions by building strong partnerships with health plans, health systems, community mental health organizations, and employer groups.   

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