Anxiety and anxiety disorders like panic, social or generalized anxiety affect millions of Americans. Aside from causing nervousness, distress, mood changes and worry, anxiety can also cause physical symptoms, mimicking those of other health conditions. Let’s take a look at the few physical symptoms it can cause:
- Fatigue – Many things can cause fatigue such as medications, health problems, lifestyle habits or stress and anxiety. If you are in a perpetual state of anxiety or stress, your cortisol levels are all out of whack. The body’s natural response to this roller coaster is to feel exhausted and worn out. If you are struggling with fatigue, it is best to get it checked out so you can rule out any potentially serious causes, or get some help if your anxiety is causing you to be too tired.
- Trembling or twitching – Severe anxiety or panic can cause bodily trembling or shaking, due to soaring adrenaline levels. This can be very startling symptom to experience if the person is not used to it, and may trigger even more anxiety. Anxiety-associated trembling can be referred to as essential trembling. There are medical causes for trembling as well such as multiple sclerosis, so it is important to mention any trembling or shaking to a doctor.
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) – We have all experienced excess sweating brought on by a stressful event such as public speaking at some point in time, so most people are aware stress and anxiety can make one sweat profusely. If you are noticing that you are sweating more than normal all the time, it may be time to check in with a doc.
- Shortness of breath can be caused by many different health conditions such as congestive heart failure or asthma, but sometimes severe anxiety can cause shortness of breath or irregular breathing. This may take the form of short breaths that lead to a feeling of not taking in enough air, which in turn may cause even more anxiety, creating a loop. If you have evaluated and medical causes of breath shortness have been ruled out, talk to your doctor about better managing your anxiety today.
- Tension-based headaches or muscle aches – If you’ve been stressed or overly worried for some time, it can start affecting the muscles in your upper body. You may feel a very tense or strained neck, tense shoulders or jaw, or perhaps a persistent tension headache. That is often because when a person is stressed, they hold their body in a strained manner, often with the shoulders up farther toward the neck than a non-stressed person would have. They may clench their jaw unknowingly, which can lead to jaw and head pain
- Difficulty swallowing – While certain conditions such as a hiatal hernia can cause a lump in the throat, anxiety can also at least give the illusion of one. The term Globus sensation refers to the anxiety-driven sensation of having an obstruction in the throat when there is none. It can feel very physical, even causing some people to be stomach sick.
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