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
If you can answer YES to most of these questions you might be experiencing GAD:
- 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?
If so, we’d strongly advise you to seek further information and guidance from your GP, who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder: A brief guide covers everything you need to know about GAD. You can buy a copy from the Anxiety UK shop here.
- Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a step-by-step guide to self-improvement, which makes use of CBT techniques. You can buy this book from our online shop here.
- Worry Box helps you to understand your anxiety and introduces you to a great way of fixing it. You can buy it from our online shop here.