How to Identify Anxiety Symptoms

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Anxiety Symptoms

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that you experience when you are uncertain about a situation. It is helpful when you need to perform, as it encourages you to do your best, or indeed when you are faced with danger it enables you to do what is necessary: flight, fight or freeze. It becomes unhelpful when it impacts on you in ways that stop you from functioning in your daily life.

Anxiety is a form of worry, and covers a spectrum of experiences, referred to as ‘Anxiety Disorders’.

Anxiety symptoms consists of:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): which is typified by excessive and apprehensive worry that you find difficult to control, sufferers may also complain of a variety of physical symptoms. Typically the symptoms consist of, tiredness, irritability, muscular tension and insomnia.

If you are experiencing GAD, you may find that you worry about a variety of things, rather than a specific issue or event. You hold the belief that you need to worry as this prepares you, and at the same time, you hold the belief that your worrying is harming you and you need to stop worrying.

Examples of beliefs:
• My worries are uncontrollable
• Worrying helps me cope (If I worry about the worst things then I can see myself coping if it happens).
• I am always prepared if I worry
• Worrying is harmful
• If I worry I can prevent bad things from happening
• I can solve problems better if I worry.
• Worrying is driving me crazy
• I can get stuck in my worry
• If I didn’t worry I wouldn’t do anything
• Worrying will take over and control me

Phobias: your anxiety is heightened in particular experiences

Specific phobia, when you are exposed to a certain object or situation for example; flying, driving, spiders, blood, you will avoid them.


Social phobia anxiety is increased when performing or when you are in social situations. The anxiety symptoms you may experience will vary.

Agoraphobia anxiety, demonstrates itself with, avoidance of places or situations where escape may be difficult (or embarrassing). There is also a belief that help will not be available should you have a panic attack.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): this is characterised with obsessions caused by stress or marked anxiety and/ or by compulsion (needing to do something) to neutralise the anxiety. For example you may hold a belief that by performing a certain ritual you may be protecting yourself and your loved ones; turning the lights of, checking thing, putting things in order, washing your hands frequently.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): this is the re-experiencing of a traumatic event with heightened anxiety and avoidance, often there are flashbacks of the event and nightmares. You may find that you are fearful, angry and very anxious, there are times when you may be actually in the situation again and relive it in the moment.

Panic Attack: A panic attack is a moment when there is a sudden onset of intense anxiety with rapid escalating symptoms, you can experience, fearfulness, or terror, this is frequently connected with feelings of impending doom.

Anxiety symptoms such as: sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, heart racing, chest pain or discomfort, a smothering sensation or choking occur.

Fear of panic attacks may lead you to avoid certain situations. This condition is frequently connected with agoraphobia

The key aspect of Panic is that the physical symptoms are misinterpreted as being something really catastrophic, hence:

• I’m going to die
• I’m having a heart attack
• I can’t breathe
• What if I have a panic attack?

Attacks can be; single or multiple in your experience, you may find you are waking at night having a panic attack.

The above is not an exhaustive list, anxiety symptoms may coexist with other conditions such as depression.

For more information: complete the form to the right of the screen, or, call: 0789 1890 222 to book a FREE consultation

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