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An Overview of Potential Anxiety Physical Symptoms

Anxiety is an often-debilitating feeling that can descend on anyone, at anytime. It can come in the form of mild anxiety, panic attacks and/or anxiety attacks. It can happen a few times in a person’s life or it can become a disorder that affects a person frequently over the course of their lifetime. Anxiety is not only impartial about whom it affects and when it affects them, its symptoms are also very diverse. A person may experience one symptom or many, making it feel like their body is out of control. Here are some of the more common physical symptoms one might feel when they are in the grip of anxiety.


It is common for a person with anxiety to start sweating and/or feel cold. The sweating may occur anywhere on your body where you can sweat. However, sweaty palms and armpits are most common. A person with anxiety who feels cold may feel cold even under a blanket. This feeling of cold may also be accompanied with shaking.


One of the most common physical side affects of anxiety is nausea or vomiting. People who vomit from stage fright are experiencing a form of anxiety. The nausea may go away quickly or it can be debilitating.


Shaking is something that comes with being nervous for some people. Anxiety, being a form of nervousness, can cause extreme shaking. This shaking may be uncontrollable.

♦Increased heart rate

Increased heart rate or heart palpitations are a sign of anxiety. Anxiety attacks often lead people to believe they are having a heart attack. Nevertheless, you should not assume that a racing heart is caused by anxiety. You should always consult your doctor if it is persistent, accompanied by other physical symptoms or is debilitating.

♦Shortness of breath/Gasping

Another one of the most common physical side-affects of anxiety is shortness of breath or gasping. Anxiety sufferers will often complain of an inability to breathe. It is important to remember that what helps an anxiety sufferer to breathe well again is not the same for people who suffer other breathing difficulties. In other words, do not perform live-saving measures like CPR or the Heimlich if they are conscious, gasping, able to talk and/or do not have an obstruction in their throat. Furthermore, do not give them prescription asthma medication, if it is not prescribed to them. If their breathing does not become regular with calming breathing exercises or it appears that these exercises are having no effect, call a doctor or bring them to one.

♦Tingling in extremities

Anxiety sufferers sometimes complain of a tingling sensation. Tingling of the hands and arms is most common. This is another physical symptom of anxiety that may cause a person to believe they are having a heart attack.


A person having an anxiety attack may feel dizzy. This can be accompanied by nausea or poor balance. In both cases, it is best to sit and wait it out, if you know you are having an anxiety attack.

This is not a comprehensive list of physical anxiety symptoms. Each sufferer is unique and may experience a wide range of symptoms. The tough part is knowing you are having an anxiety attack because the symptoms are so varied. Be sure to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing anxiety or anything else that produces these symptoms. There are treatments and you do not have to suffer.

*This article does not take the place of doctor care. It is not written for the purpose of self-diagnosis. If you are not well, consult your physician.