About anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety

People often experience physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms when they feel anxious or stressed.

Some of the most common physical symptoms are:

  • Increased heart rate or increased muscle tension
  • ‘Jelly legs’ or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Hyperventilation (breathing too heavily) or dizziness
  • Difficulty in breathing or a tight band across the chest
  • Wanting to use the toilet more often
  • Feeling sick
  • Tension headaches
  • Hot flushes or increased perspiration
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking or palpitations
  • Choking sensations

Some of the most common psychological symptoms include feeling that:

  • You might lose control and/or go ‘mad’; or feelings that you might die
  • You might have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour
  • People are looking at you and noticing your anxiety
  • Things are speeding up/slowing down
  • You’re detached from your environment and the people in it
  • You want to run away/escape from the situation
  • You’re on edge and alert to everything around you

The most common behavioural symptom involves avoiding the situation that makes you feel anxious. Although this can produce immediate relief, it’s only a short-term solution. The anxiety often returns the next time you’re in that situation – and avoiding it will only reinforce the feeling of danger. And it means that you’ll never find out whether your fear about the situation and what might happen is actually true

DIY self diagnosis tool for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you answer YES to most of the questions below, you might be experiencing GAD, in which case, we advise you seek further information and guidance from your GP.

  • Have you felt nervous most days over the past six months?
  • Do you have problems falling asleep? Do you have bad dreams or wake up worrying?
  • Is your body very tense or uptight? Do you often want to shout or feel frustrated?

Recommended resources

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder: A brief guide covers everything you need to know about GAD.  Get your copy here.
  • Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a step-by-step guide to self-improvement, which makes use of CBT techniques. Get your copy here.
  • Worry Box helps you to understand your anxiety and introduces you to a great way of fixing it. Get your copy here.

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