People suffering from anxiety disorders present with a variety of physical and non-physical symptoms. A characteristic of anxiety disorders is excessive, unrealistic worrying. Many of these symptoms are similar to those exhibited by a person suffering from general illness, heart attack, or stroke, and this tends to further increase anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety are both physical and psychological.
The anxious person may experience trembling and shakiness. In his abdomen, he feels churning stomach, sometimes nausea, diarrhoea. Tension headache, body aches and backache may occur due to tension in muscles. Heart palpitations are evident in many anxious persons who may worry about their heart functions and seek advice from a physician. Numbness or pins and needles in arms, hands or legs arise from changes in blood supply to the skin. This also makes the person looks pale. Others may be sweating and flushing.
Restlessness is a recurring sign of anxiety. The continuous tension makes the person easily tired. The mind is distracted and the person may find trouble concentrating. The anxious person is irritable and responds sharply to any stressful event. Physically, his muscles are tense, his mouth is dry and he may go to the toilet frequently.
At night, anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Any noise makes him easily startled.
Those suffering from panic attacks may experience similar physical symptoms as mentioned above. They also may experience chest pains, a sense of choking, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Post-traumatic stress disorders have a range of symptoms that are unique to this problem. PTSD symptoms include some characteristic features. Flashbacks or nightmares occur when the person re-experiencing the trauma. Flashbacks recur in his dreams or even when awake. PTSD patient avoids people, places, and objects that are associated with the original traumatic event.
As in any anxiety, disorder there is difficulty concentrating or sleeping in PTSD. However, the arousal makes the person alert to things happening around him and closely watching surroundings (hypervigilance). The patient usually experiences irritability and diminished feelings or aspirations for the future.
The inner feelings we get when we feel anxious vary but they comprise many forms and experiences. There is an inner subjective feeling of tension, agitation, irritability or dread that something catastrophic is going to happen such as losing control, blackout, heart attack or death. Depending on the type of anxiety, dread may be about something different such as embarrassment, making you look like a fool, or losing a highly desired gain.
Some people may experience a sense of detachment, fogginess in their mind, separation from reality. They feel trapped in a bubble separate from the outside world.