Signs and symptoms of anxiety

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

As humans we encounter different situations in our daily life. Each situation is coloured by how we think, feel and behave in these situations and our experiences are shaped by how we feel. In this blog let us understand what is anxiety & what are the signs & symptoms of anxiety.

Although thoughts govern how we feel, the emotions that we experience in itself play a role in how we process the situation. Feeling happy in a situation may make us want to approach a situation more as compared to feeling scared that may make us want to avoid a particular situation.

It is natural to experience emotions and express them. Each emotion that we experience has a purpose and when we experience it in the right situation, it can actually aid us. E.G. Before an exam or a presentation at work, we may feel anxious. This anxiety pushes us to open that book and read before the exam starts or go through the presentation that one more time before we present it.

But there are times when we experience an emotion even when it is not required or may be at an intensity which is not needed. In such scenarios, experiencing the emotion can become a problem to us as it may interfere with the tasks that we are doing. E.G. If before an exam or presentation, the amount of anxiety we experience is at a higher intensity, it may lead to an experience of confusion and impact our ability to present or write the paper.

Now it may all sound like doom and despair but not all is lost. If we are able to understand emotions and lookout for the signs and symptoms, we are more equipped to identify them and deal with them effectively, especially when it comes to an emotion like anxiety which may have signs and symptoms of anxiety that may resemble certain other conditions or signs of physical illness.

It is always and strongly recommended to seek medical advice & intervention from a doctor, however even after a thorough medical assessment and clean chit from the doctor, if we are experiencing the following, it is a good idea to consult a mental health professional to check if anxiety is playing a role somewhere.

Signs & symptoms of anxiety may include a feeling of restlessness which may be for a short duration in bouts or may stay for a longer duration. A constant worry about things in the present and future or that of the past. The feeling of despair and doom.

Certain physical manifestations like a fast heartbeat, like a feeling of pounding against the chest, warm cheeks, dry mouth, feeling of tightness or pain in the chest, breathing heavily would be present.

Some other physical symptoms of anxiety may include cold hands and feet, sweaty palms, feeling drained of energy, especially in the hands and legs, pain in other areas of the body which may be temporary and come and go often, trembling of hands and shivering sensation in legs. Thoughts about the future are more prominent and the thoughts are repetitive in nature although not constant.

There may also be a preoccupation with one’s own health, excessive focus on small physical sensations, small changes in one’s health and fear of dying.
Extreme reactions to mild stressors may be present, e.g. excessive worry or a strong reaction of anger if one has to travel alone. Avoidance of the situation or activity due to fear may also be observed.

Also read: How do Anxiety Disorders Develop — What are the Red Flags & How to Cope?

Heightened level of alertness and the pursuit of wanting to be prepared for all possible scenarios. Feeling distressed if the person thinks that they are not completely prepared and may indulge in higher frequency of anticipation of future events. This may also lead to the person getting nervous to do things or take decisions in the present.
Experience of breathlessness or a feeling of choking or a lump in the throat sensation may be present. Anxiety of specific situations or things living and non-living can be observed by others and experienced by the person.

Although there are several factors that may create anxiety in children, separation from a comforting person, thing or situation may create anxiety in children.
Children may express anxiety through behaviour more often as compared to verbal expression. Behaviour such as avoidance, excessive crying and becoming quite and staying quite can be observed.

These signs and symptoms of anxiety can seem distressful and may make us feel anxious when we read about them, however we can try to view them as knowledge that empowers, equips us and guides us to seek help and take care of ourselves in a more effective way.

For more details related to anxiety get in touch with our experts

Vikram Kirtikar
Psychologist & Outreach Associate: Mpower – The Foundation
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