The first time someone brought up the term ‘symptoms’ in connection with mental health, I was confused. All my life, I’d been told that symptoms are diseases and chronic conditions. If something feels off, it was understood that you hit up WebMD to find out which symptoms could match up with what you’re feeling. So when this therapist brought up several physical symptoms to describe my chronic (which I didn’t know at the time) anxiety, I was put off. But once they explained further, I began to understand that certain physical symptoms can indicate other types of anxiety disorders past my own.
They also told me that there are several general symptoms to look out for, many of which are shared by most anxiety disorders. As I’ve written in previous posts, just because you exhibit one or two of these symptoms does not mean you should self-diagnose and label yourself. However, it might not hurt to talk to those around you and ask what they think. As with other disorders, context is key when understanding what you’re going up against. That being said, some of the more general physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Dry Mouth
- Tense Muscles
- Sleep Problems
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Fast Breathing
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Feeling Nervous or Tense constantly
These are just a few of the physical symptoms that have been collected by health journals and websites across the country. While all these symptoms represent anxiety in some way, the path from symptoms to an established disorder is usually due to their frequency.
In a larger sense, one of the differences between ‘having anxiety’ and ‘having an anxiety disorder’ is how often these symptoms occur. If you have trouble sleeping once in a while or feel restless every now and then, it’s different than feeling that way constantly for months on end. Understanding those differences is arguably as important as understanding the symptoms themselves. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be to deal with anything related to anxiety or anxiety disorders.
While I used many sources to find these physical symptoms, Healthline and WebMD did prove to be especially helpful. Again, these websites are a guide and do not replace any professional mental health care you may need. But if you want to learn more, both are good tools to use!