Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
These symptoms develop from the sub-conscious reasons we find to explain our anxiety/panic and the ways we try to deal with it. They can be
numerous, encompassing our thoughts, feelings and actions, and may be related directly to anxiety at any given moment (as in the lists above), due to prolonged anxiety
and tension (long-term problems), or connected to the way we feel about ourselves (psychological).
Many of the psychological symptoms below can be present whichever 'disorder' exists and since they are connected to heightened anxiety, even people without
anxiety problems can experience these symptoms to some degree at times in their lives, more so in times of stress.
LONG-TERM PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS. These can include:-
Many of the above may be due, in part, to the suppression of the body's immune system by chemicals released into the bloodstream when anxious.
(Please note that any recurring physical symptoms such as pains or function problems (eg. digestion, bowel) need to be checked out by a
medical doctor as they could be the signs of underlying physical disease).
LONG-TERM BEHAVIOURAL SYMPTOMS. Some examples are:-
Extreme anxiety and panic around other people.
Having to do things in front of others can cause us to become panic-stricken.
(Social phobia / social anxiety disorder).
Persistant and uncontrollable worrying about people / events / situations.
(GAD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
Avoiding things and situations that make us feel afraid. (Phobias).
Obsessions and compulsions
Here, anxiety takes the form of often horrible uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions). Compulsions are our attempts to control these thoughts by trying to prevent any
threat or danger. Often harmful to ourselves, compulsions do provide some sense of relief. (OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
Constantly visiting the doctor. Where every ache and pain becomes associated with being a serious illness.
Often involves feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and the belief that events are beyond our control and everything we try to do will fail.
Fears over losing control and being judged on performance can maintain these problems.
Others include:- Aggression, sleep disorders and eating
PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS. These can be expressed in the way we think, feel and behave, and may include:-
Needing to be the strongest, the most beautiful, the cleverest, the most handsome, have the best body, to do the best, to be the best etc.
Constantly making comparisons
Always comparing ourselves with others and coming up short.
Constantly watching ourselves.
Child-like thoughts and behaviours
Desperately needing the love and approval of parents and others.
Common fantasies include: 'one day being rich and famous or great, loved by all'.
This represents attempts to bring form and order to our world, to gain a sense of being in control.
Here, what is done by (happens to) one side of the body must be done by (happen to) the other side. This is also related to order and control.
Ending sentences with questions
We do this to shift the attention away from us to the other person.
Involves constant feelings of 'being picked on' and that 'others are treated better'.
Obsessed with body image
Believing our body, or parts of it, are 'not good enough'.
Standing shoulders down, feet inwards and arms in front of body, trying to be small, almost apologetic for being there.
Persistent negative thoughts and images, constantly looking back for reasons and answers, and feelings of having no control over our mind or body.
A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder often refers to the main set of symptoms. Yet many people experience a whole range of symptoms associated with various anxiety
disorders, adding weight to the belief that these problems are all related.
Whichever anxiety disorder exists, the number of symptoms, the extent to which they occur, the situations in which they appear and the way they
interact with each other is as complex as the individual and the life events experienced.
They can support and confirm each other and strengthen until they become part of the make up of an individual. It's not surprising that with anxiety-related problems
we tend to use such phrases as “It's just the way I am” and “It's just part of me”.
However, such behaviours do make up JUST PART of a person.
Someone who is sad is also at times happy. One who is weak, is occasionally strong. The scared can be brave and unconfident people can sometimes feel
confident! What we need to do is reduce the bad feelings and increase the good ones. No matter how small they exist at the moment ~ THEY DO
Although you may not appreciate it at the moment, you do have special qualities that other people don't have. Many that actually come
from struggling with feelings of self-doubt and anxiety.