We all experience some level of anxiety from time to time, but it can sometimes be hard to recognize when this anxiety has taken over. Most of us know that racing thoughts and jittery feelings signal uneasiness, but there are also a number of surprising signs from your body that show you're suffering from anxiety. They may be more subtle, but they're still an indicator that you're body is in a constant state of worry and stress.
"I always explain that anxiety is an emotion that can affect people from the head to toe," says psychiatrist Dion Metzger, M.D. over email. "It is the same explanation for all of these physical symptoms — that it's the waythe body is responding to stress. The brain sends signals to the body that it's in 'stress mode,' and this is how the body responds to a perceived threat."
Knowing these signs, as unlikely as they may be, can help you figure out how best to manage your anxiety, whether it's something you suffer from long-term or just in certain situations. If you feel that something is amiss with your mind and/or body, you might want to consider these 11 signs from your body that you're suffering from anxiety.
1. You're Really Tired
If you're constantly exhausted, anxiety could be to blame. "Fatigue can be a symptom of anxiety," says psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman over email. "It can be tiring to feel anxious, especially if you're having any trouble sleeping. People may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experience restless sleep."
2. You Have A Rash
Those red blotches on your skin may not be from the beauty products you've been using — or from any irritation at all. Stress has a tendency to create reactions in your organs, and since your skin is the largest organ, it can definitely be affected, according to Calm Clinic. This can cause eczema flare-ups or other skin sensitivities.
3. You're Running To The Bathroom Often
Many people with anxiety have issues with the frequency of their urination, according to the Calm Clinic. When you're stressed or anxious, your body goes into a fight or flight reaction, amping up your bodily reactions in your heart, your muscles, your lungs that you would need. Unfortunately, this takes away function from your bladder control. Additionally, when you are tense, your body puts pressure on areas like your bladder and your abdomen, causing you to pee more often.
4. You Can't Focus
"Difficulty concentrating is another surprising symptom of anxiety," says Edelman. "When you're worrying about your problems or physical symptoms, it can be hard to focus and it can feel like your mind is going blank."
5. You're Irritable
If you find that you're getting annoyed at your friends or snapping at your coworker, you might be battling some anxiety. "Irritability is another anxiety symptom," says Edelman. "When you're anxious and don't feel well, you aren't at your best and might be grumpy with others."
6. Your Muscles Are Tense
Stiff or tense muscles can occur from anxiety. "Often we can be so used to holding tension that we don't even realize it," says psychologist Dr. Iris Pachler over email. "Progressive muscle relaxation can help identify this. This is done by tightening and then releasing one muscle group at a time — jaw, neck, shoulders, belly, back."
7. You Have Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath is a common symptom of anxiety, and it can be accompanied by dizziness and lightheadedness, according to the Calm Clinic. When you find that you start hyperventilating, it can help to work on breathing exercises such as taking deeper, longer breaths.
8. You're Nauseous
Anxiety can make you feel physically sick. Intense emotions can sen our body into overdrive, producing immediate gastrointestinal distress, including stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, according to WebMD.
9. Your Fingers Are Tingling
You may suspect your tingling fingers are from feeling cold or some nerve issue, but they could actually be a result of your anxiety. Hyperventilation is the most common reason that tingling hands occur in those with anxiety, and it can feel like anything from numbness to crawling hands, according to the Calm Clinic.
10. You Have Chest Pain
"Sometimes people may think they are having a heart attack because they feel sudden chest pain or discomfort," says psychiatrist Dr. Celia Trotta over email. "In a young adult with sudden chest pain and no other medical conditions, it is easier to identify that the chest pain may be from anxiety."
11. You Have Gas
It's easy to blame your diet for excess gat, but anxiety may actually be the culprit. Not only does anxiety cause stress on your gastrointestinal system, but it can actually cause you to swallow more air from breathing too quickly. This air then needs somewhere to go, so it's released in the form of gas, according to the Calm Clinic.
Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways, so don't be alarmed if your symptoms don't match the textbook definition. If you feel like you're suffering, it's helpful to see a doctor, who can help you with the right form of treatment.
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