10 Lesser-Known Symptoms Of Anxiety, According To Doctors

by Alli Hoff Kosik

When you hear the word "anxiety," you probably think of panic attacks, sudden feelings of fear, shortness of breath, and a fast-beating heart. Anxiety sufferers know these symptoms all too well, and people who think they might be managing chronic anxiety without even knowing it are often tipped off to their condition because of one of them. Like most things, though, anxiety is complicated, and there are some lesser-known symptoms of anxiety, according to doctors, that could also be a signal that your mental and emotional health needs some additional TLC.

Bustle consulted with Dr. Jennifer Caudle, family physician and associate professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D.and clinical psychologist on the symptoms of anxiety that are not so well-known. While these signals of stress and anxiety might fly below the radar relative to other manifestations of mental illness, they're no less important, and if you're seeing patterns of them in your own life, it's definitely worth your while to start tracking those patterns and to consider seeing a doctor if you feel as though they're affecting your day-to-day life. Why should you suffer if there are options out there to make your life better?

Chronic Forgetfulness

It's easy to brush off forgetfulness as just a standard human flaw — usually, it is! — but if you're experiencing regular lapses in memory or feeling confused more often than usual, it could be a symptom of mental health issues. Dr. Caudle tells Bustle that chronic forgetfulness is often tied to sleep deprivation, which is itself a common symptom of anxiety. Are you being forgetful as usual, or are you totally exhausted because of your anxiety?

Peeling Skin

Known to the medical community as dermatitis, severe skin peeling can also be a physical manifestation of inner anxiety, according to Dr. Klapow. Per the National Eczema Assocation, there is actually a pretty substantial link between eczema (another term for dermatitis) and stress, since the high cortisol levels associated with anxiety can suppress the immune system and cause a response in the skin.


Dr. Klapow tells Bustle that people who are regularly losing their voice could be dealing with unknown anxiety. Anxiety Centre lists a wider variety of voice-related symptoms that can actually point to anxiety, including voice shaking or cracking, uneven volume, and unstable pitch.


The word perseveration sounds praiseworthy, like a never-quit approach to life, but in this case, Dr. Klapow defines it as "a tendency to get stuck on a topic and not be able to change or switch topics." If you can't let go of a line of conversation or are constantly caught up on a subject mentally, there could be something else going on.


Stuttering can also come into play. Interestingly, according to Everyday Health, the medical community once believed that anxiety was actually the sole cause of stuttering, a theory that has since been disproven in favor of genetics. In many ways, the link between stuttering and anxiety is a chicken/egg question, since many people who grow up with a vocal stammer are more prone to stress and anxiety.

Angry Outbursts

If you're not someone who typically gets angry, sudden emotional outbursts should give you some pause. Could they be a manifestation of some growing anxiety? Dr. Klapow says the answer is yes.

Ringing In Your Ears

Can't get rid of a loud and annoying noise that seems to be constantly ringing, like, inside your head? According to Dr. Klapow, that issue could be anxiety. Anxiety Centre noted that anxiety-provoked tinnitus (the scientific word for "ringing in the ears") is typically not a threat to your hearing. It does, however, cause additional stress and anxiety, generating a frustrating vicious cycle.

Blurry Vision

If your vision is blurrier than usual, don't rush straight to the optometrist, because it may not have anything to do with your eyes, per Dr. Klapow. Calm Clinic notes that, like others of these lesser-known symptoms, blurred vision itself can also cause anxiety, which can make it tricky to get to the root of the problem.


Dr. Klapow lists dizziness as a lesser-known sign of anxiety, but it can also be a red flag for even more serous health conditions. If you're experiencing regular spells of dizziness, it's probably best that you consult with a doctor IRL to determine what's going on.


Diarrhea is never a good thing, but it can also be a sign of lots of illnesses. Add anxiety to the list, though, because Dr. Klapow tells Bustle that stomach cramping and lots of bathroom time could by symptomatic of unusual stress levels.