Most people understand the basics of anxiety. As one of the most common mental disorders in the world, it is easy to spot some of the more obvious effects. It can make you lethargic and sad, irritable and frustrated, unmotivated and even suicidal. Physically, it can have you struggling to breathe, sweating and tensing your muscles. Everyone experiences the disorder differently, which is why it is possible that some people are unaware of some of the physical side effects anxiety can have.
Anxiety is complex, and some people may not understand that certain symptoms are related. For example, if someone suffers from hearing sensations, they may be dubbed as having some physical issue with their ears. However, this can be an effect of anxiety.
Some psychologists believe there are possibly thousands of variations in the way people experience anxiety, and there are a lot of different symptoms that can be overlooked by most people. Since anxiety also comes in many forms, it will depend on the type of stress you experience as to what symptoms you get. However, understanding these physical symptoms can help you or somebody else recognize the problem and tackle it as a part of anxiety.
1. Acne and skin complaints
Anxiety can have a very diverse effect on your skin. Depending on your skin type, you may notice that in your most stressed phases, you have a flare-up of acne, eczema or psoriasis.
This is due to your body’s fight or flight system. When you are under a lot of pressure or stress, your body releases cortisol to ensure blood sugar levels are heightened. This is so that your body is given more energy to deal with the stressors ahead of you. If you experience anxiety a lot, you will have an excess of these hormones, allowing for skin complaints to develop.
In opposition to getting sweaty due to anxiety, some people become increasingly cold. You might notice that you’re colder than everyone else for no apparent reason, but as the symptoms of anxiety are so diverse, it is seen as an uncommon reaction. Having said this, many people do experience this symptom without linking it to anxiety, so it isn’t something that should be overlooked.
This can be a worrying symptom to have, and it is often thought to be a side-effect of illness. However, not many people associate it with anxiety. If dizziness occurs regularly for you and you suffer from anxiety, the two could be linked.
Dizziness can be due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, so it makes sense that during a panic attack when you are struggling for breath, it can occur. Light-headedness and blurred vision often come hand in hand with this symptom too.
4. Dry mouth
Anxiety and our mouths are very closely linked. There are all kinds of issues that can be caused by anxiety in our mouths, including ulcers in response to stress and sores.
According to the Calm Clinic, people with anxiety get dry mouth because of their body’s reactions to stress. This can be caused by mouth breathing – which might commonly occur in anxiety attacks – dehydration and from being sick. All of these things often affect people with anxiety, and often more regularly than the general population.
5. Gastrointestinal issues
Needing to use the bathroom a lot is usually a sign of anxiety. Many people experience this issue in periods of their life where they are having a tough time, including divorces and when starting a new job. For people with anxiety, this symptom can be much more permanent.
Our brains are linked to every function in our body, including our stomachs. Each organ communicates with the brain, and our intestinal system may respond to distress in some cases. This can mean either our mental state causes gastrointestinal issues, or that these issues cause stress. Either way, it can be linked back to anxiety.
6. Hearing sensations
When you are experiencing anxiety at its worst, you often feel a little disconnected from the real world. If you struggle to concentrate and understand other people speaking, it might be due to hearing sensations. While your ears are working fine, your brain is experiencing a lot of stress, meaning that it may not process everything you hear.
Another sensation linked to this is being able to hear things you wouldn’t usually notice. You might hear the buzzing of a fly or a creak that you can’t seem to ignore, and this can be linked back to symptoms of anxiety.
Often, situations of high intensity and stress can make a person with anxiety experience numbness, particularly in their hands and feet. This is often called anxiety numbness and fortunately, it is often easily controlled by taking deep breaths, the same way you would do if you had a panic attack.
If you feel like you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. Though these can mostly be explained by anxiety, symptoms such as these should always be checked out. Your doctor may also be able to aid you in dealing with these symptoms as well.