Many people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. It’s a normal response to stressful life events that can boost efficiency at healthy levels. However, when symptoms of anxiety become larger than the events that triggered them and begin to interfere with your life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, but they can be managed with proper help from a medical professional. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step. Unfortunately, there are also symptoms that are subtle and are not as common. Let’s dive into what these may look like.
Psychologists have developed seven categories of anxiety disorders. They are:
Each category is complex with a wide range of symptoms. Common anxiety symptoms include rapid heartbeat, excessive trembling and sweating, nausea and dizziness, chest pain and headaches, and weakness and tingling in the limbs. Other physical symptoms such as rash, leg pain, and feelings of choking are less common but may appear in some cases. In regards to psychological signs of anxiety, these include worrying, agitation, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and avoidance of social situations.
Subtle signs that don’t really scream “anxiety” can manifest as well. One example is jaw pain. This can stem from anxiety because it causes you to clench and grind your teeth while you are both awake and asleep. This can then lead to headaches which exacerbates feelings of anxiety. Having intrusive thoughts can also be a sign of anxiety, especially in people with OCD. Also known as ruminating, it can make you less present and imagining the worst. This can lead to unnecessary stress and headaches as well. Other uncommon symptoms of anxiety include hoarding, scattered thinking, overspending, impulsivity, indecisiveness, and disorganization. I have personally seen hoarding situations in my family and my friends’ families that were directly linked to mental health and anxiety. Many may see this as an easy issue to fix when in reality, it’s extremely difficult for hoarders to part with their stuff. I’ve learned that we can never really know the root cause of these behaviors and may assume that these are easy fixes. We may wonder, “Well why don’t you just organize your room?” or “Why can’t you ever remember things?” We have to understand their side of the story. If we ever encounter our loved ones in these situations exhibiting these types of behaviors, we should first ask ourselves why they act this way and how we can figure out what is the root of their anxiety. Anxiety can be a vicious circle of signs and symptoms that if not fixed, can cause even more anxiety down the line. Fortunately for us, anxiety disorders are completely controllable with the help of friends, family, and mental health professionals.
Abraham, M. (2020). The 6 main types of anxiety: which do you have? Calm Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-guide/main-types