Symptoms of Anxiety: the Five Areas that we Should all Know

The symptoms of anxiety usually vary from person to person depending in turn on the psychological condition suffered by each patient. However, there are always some elements in common: physical and psychological exhaustion.


In each person, anxiety manifests itself with a profile. It is as if it were a liquid that preserves the color, but adapts to the shape of the container that contains it. As for color, we can say that anxiety leads to a psychological state of accumulation, in which any problem seems to weigh twice as much and any setback, arranged by that being to which we have all given life once and who dedicates his life to trip us , giant.

To this day, the number of diagnoses that fit in that big box (anxiety disorders) is similar to those of depression. So much so that the temptation to see the two phenomena as the faces of the same coin is great. We also know that diagnoses are rising every year and that they are more common in men than in women.

However, professionals feel that part of this difference has to do with fewer men asking for help. Hence the suspicion that the difference does not exist or is significantly lower than that indicated by the data we handle.

Now, something that studies suggest us – like the one carried out in the Royal College of Psychiatry, in the United Kingdom – is that it is not easy to make a precise diagnosis in the matter of anxiety. Thus, in this work carried out by different professionals from various fields (primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, etc.) they point out that it is very easy to confuse the symptoms with other clinical conditions.

Thus, a stomach pain is not always rooted in poor digestion. Not a back pain the result of bad posture… when the truth is that anxiety disorders can be the trigger of many of these problems.

“The intensity of the anguish is proportional to the meaning that the situation has for the affected person; Although she essentially ignores the reasons for her anxiety.”

-Karen Horney-

The five areas of anxiety symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety can be grouped into five areas. Thus, the most common is to experience different signs of each of them. For example, a person with social anxiety can suffer from the classic tremor, tingling and dizziness, to those cognitive symptoms where telling yourself that you are being judged by others.

Let’s see the characteristics of each category.

Symptoms of physical anxiety

Among the most common and recurrent anxiety symptoms are those that have to do with the physiological area. They are the following:

  • Tachycardia
  • Lack of air
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Muscle tension.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Headache.

Also, if this symptomatology is intense and is maintained over time, it can lead to more serious conditions, such as those in which insomnia appears, feeding problems, lack of sexual desire, weakening of the immune system, etc.

On the other hand, it is very common that these symptoms of anxiety make the person think that they are suffering from some type of physical illness. It is therefore very necessary that, at the primary care level, we have psychologists to identify the reality that may be behind this symptomatology.

1. Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms are related to those thoughts that anxiety usually generates in us.

The most common are the following:

  • Constant worry.
  • Catastrophic thoughts
  • Memory problems.
  • Give excessive importance to unimportant facts.
  • Burden.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Difficulty in making decisions.
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Vacuum sensation.
  • Sensation of strangeness before what surrounds us.
  • Uncertainty.
  • Fear of losing control
  • Suicidal ideas.

2. Emotional symptoms

Affective or emotional anxiety is another reality that must be taken into account, especially if these states become constant.

Among the most common symptoms of anxiety in the emotional plane is apathy and the feeling of anguish.

Mood swings, irritability, ups and downs are other points to consider.

The crying, the nervous laughter or that fluctuating emotionality are also elements to attend to.

3. Behavioral symptoms

One of the most recurrent symptoms of anxiety is avoidance. It is very common for patients with this type of condition to avoid certain situations and actions: they feel that they may suffer an anxiety attack that they cannot control at any time. From the outside, their insecurity can give us the feeling that they walk as if the ground beneath their feet was full of mines.

In this way, it is very common to experience the following.

Feeling blocked or acting impulsively.

Changes in body expressiveness: there may be excessive slowness or hyperactivity.

4. Social symptoms

Finally, in these five areas that usually define the symptomatology of anxiety, we find the social aspect. Let’s think that each person can experience several of these behaviors or even not show any (at the moment).

  • Difficulty to have a conversation.
  • Other people, on the other hand, may show excessive verbiage.
  • Disinterest for those hobbies that we were passionate about before.
  • Need for solitude and isolation.
  • Start constant avoidance behaviors to the point of stopping work, interacting with friends, etc.

In conclusion. As we can see, the symptoms of anxiety are as varied as exhausting, especially if these situations are prolonged over time. Therefore, do not hesitate to consult these situations with specialized professionals.

Often, we find people who go regularly to their GPs without them coming to recognize what is behind that insomnia, that exhaustion or persistent headache. We consult with a psychologist, our mental, physical and emotional well-being can give an extraordinary change.