We are all conscious on some level of the main symptoms people who suffer with anxiety deal with, such as knots in the stomach to experiencing fully blown panic attacks. However there are many more symptoms of anxiety which often go unnoticed and ignored. Although the list of symptoms is extensive in this article I would like to focus on some of the lesser known symptoms of anxiety to help bring deeper understanding, not only to those who suffer with this condition but also to the loved ones who live with the aftermath.
1) Anger – Anxiety can often manifest itself through low moods, irritability and frustration. A theory for this could be due to anger being a more socially acceptable emotion to show in place of showing that you are feeling vulnerable. When you are experiencing states of hyper vigilance you are already on high alert and your responses and body language can appear as hostility.
2) De-personalization- Part of anxiety is the concern that other people can see inside your head and know that you are struggling. The effort to keep up appearances can be massively strenuous on your energy levels. De-personalization describes the feeling of being detached from yourself or your body and feeling like you are observing yourself from an outside perspective.
3) Limiting/ Binging food- Anxiety can cause stomach aches, butterflies and feelings of nausea. Not eating as well as over indulging are both ways, equally unhealthy, to mask these feelings and give yourself a sense of control over those feelings.
4) Numbness- Before, During or after a bout of anxiety you might get feelings of pins and needles and numbness. Anxiety can make the body produce a stress response similar to when you get the flight, fight or freeze response. This affects your nervous system which is responsible for sending messages to the brain.
5) Heat regulation- You might be familiar with with the symptoms of feeling flushed and the warming of the face but lesser known is that anxiety might cause you to become cold to the touch and becoming pale, similar to when the body goes into shock. This is due to your brain telling the body to protect the vital organs.
6) Concentration issues- When you are spending lots of energy trying to self soothe at the same time as trying to appear calm to those around you, you are using up masses of your limited energy. This leads to not being able to be present and fully engage with what’s going on around you. This can lead to you appearing disinterested and staring into space.
7) Aching muscles- When you are in a state of hyper vigilance your body will naturally tense to prepare your muscles in case you need to spring into action and protect yourself from danger. When Anxiety is particularly bad your body will be in this state for the majority of the Anxious episode. This can leave your muscles feeling achy and your body feeling drained.
If you have experienced any of the above and feel you are dealing with anxiety it is worth speaking to a doctor to begin talking about treatments. Treatment can consist of talking therapies, medication and mindfulness (The art of grounding yourself and being present in the moment)
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