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"Anxiety Symptoms." by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, Ph.D, ND, DACBN | Article ID: #A003
Anxiety can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Seek the advice of your health care professional if these symptoms are affecting your daily life. Here are a few of the most common anxiety symptoms.
Chest pains are a frightening symptom of anxiety, and one that should not be taken lightly. If you are at all unsure about the cause of your chest pains, seek medical attention immediately. However, it is sometimes possible to tell the difference between the chest pains associated with anxiety and those of a heart attack. The chest pain of a heart attack is a knifelike pain that usually does not start in the chest. It may be possible to diminish the chest pain from anxiety with deep breathing exercises or a massage.
Neck, Face, and Shoulder Pain
Muscle tension and contraction can cause intense pain in the neck and shoulder area. This pain can often be relieved by relaxation exercises or massage.
Sometimes, anxiety causes the muscles in the throat to contract making it feel as though you cannot breathe or swallow. It is important to remember that this is merely a reaction to anxiety and not a symptom that will cause you any real harm. It may feel unpleasant, but if you can calm down and practice taking slow breaths through your nose, this symptom will soon dissipate.
Indigestion and Digestive Disorders
With the release of adrenaline that accompanies anxiety, the blood races through the system and is diverted away from certain areas of the body, such as the digestive tract. This slows the digestion and causes the muscles around the stomach to tense up. This can cause indigestion, heartburn and diarrhea or constipation.
Sweating is your body's way of reducing an increase in body temperature. When adrenaline is released into the system, the heart begins beating faster and the body heats up (similar to exercising.) This symptom will soon pass as the anxiety subsides and the body's other physical responses return to normal.
Dry mouth often goes along with the other physical symptoms that are caused by anxiety. This symptom can be alleviated by taking a drink of purified water.
Shaking is a normal reaction to fear or a decrease in body temperature. When the muscles are tense, they may spasmodically contract and cause friction between the muscles and other body tissues.
Shortness of Breath
Anxiety can often make you feel as though you simply cannot get enough oxygen to your lungs. Your chest may feel tight and unable to expand to accommodate the air your body needs. It may even feel as though you are being smothered. Try to relax and remember that this is only a sensation caused by anxiety, you are actually getting plenty of air to your lungs. Sit down and concentrate on taking slow, deep, and regular breaths.
Weakness or Tingling in Extremities
When a stressful situation occurs, the body responds with a number of physical symptoms. Anxiety causes changes in the circulation, blood oxygen and blood carbon dioxide levels, and muscle tension. This combination of physical changes can cause a feeling of weakness in the extremities. When blood carbon dioxide levels are altered, it may accumulate in the extremities, causing a tingling sensation. Light exercise may help to alleviate these anxiety symptoms.
Insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, and recurrent nightmares are common yet distressing symptoms of anxiety. It is important to try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule and to practice relaxation and breathing techniques to attain a better night's sleep.
When the body is faced with a stressful situation, adrenaline is released to prepare for a physical response. This chemical causes the heart to race and feel as if it is missing beats (heart palpitations.) Again, this is a common symptom and it is unlikely to lead to any actual cardiovascular distress.
Anxiety causes the blood to be diverted to the muscles and away from other areas of the body, such as the face. When the blood vessels in the face receive a reduced blood flow, the skin appears to lose some of its color, or rosy glow. This symptom of anxiety is not dangerous and will usually dissipate as the body's other physical reactions return to normal.
Depression is a common symptom for people who experience anxiety disorders. People who are clinically depressed have a chemical imbalance that may cause or be a side effect of anxiety. You should seek help from a qualified medical professional if you feel a persistent feeling of anxiety.
Spasmodic muscle contractions and muscle tension can cause discomfort, headaches or even migraines. Tension in the muscles that surround the skull may make you feel as though you have a tight band wrapped around your head. Also, the reduced blood flow to the head and brain can cause pain in the eyes, face, and jaw.