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Symptoms of Anxiety

At Priory, we understand that anxiety can be very difficult to cope with and can often make even the smallest of tasks seem impossible, which can sometimes prevent people from seeking the expert anxiety treatment, help and support that they need.

COVID-19: Customer Update

We are now resuming face-to-face therapy for existing patients across our network of hospitals and wellbeing centres, as well as continuing to offer this remotely for new patients. Remote therapy, along with consultant assessments, can be accessed via our Priory Connect online therapy service and through Skype.

Inpatient services are still available across our network of private healthcare hospitals, with flexible options for pre-admission assessments being offered.

Anxiety symptoms can vary from person to person, and depending on the type of anxiety that you are suffering from. The symptoms associated with anxiety can be categorised into psychological, physical and behavioural/social symptoms of anxiety, with some of the most common including:

Psychological symptoms of anxiety:

Common anxiety symptoms can include:

  • A persistent sense of worry, apprehension, or dread – you may find that you are constantly worrying about something negative happening which can prevent you from enjoying your everyday life
  • Feelings of hopelessness – feeling trapped and unable to find a ‘way out’
  • Anger, irritability and impatience – finding that you are becoming angry for no apparent reason and taking this out on those who are closest to you
  • Feeling fearful, paranoid and tense
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme stress
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse as a way of self-medicating to help you to manage and cope with your anxiety symptoms. Substance abuse may lead to a harmful addiction which can hinder your recovery and lead to further problems
  • Feeling tearful and emotionally tired – finding that you are crying more than usual and become emotional for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Having fears or worries that seem to be disproportionate to the situation
  • Feeling as though you can’t stop worrying
  • Worrying that you are ‘going crazy’

Physical symptoms of anxiety:

Physical anxiety symptoms can often include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heartbeat or palpitations
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Loose bowels and frequent urination
  • Muscle tension and tiredness
  • Hot or cold flushes
  • Panic attacks (also known as anxiety attacks) – these occur as a form of release or physical reaction to anxiety, and can be extremely frightening
  • Appetite changes – either increased or reduced appetite which may also result in weight fluctuations
  • Sleep disturbances – experiencing reduced sleep because you are unable to ‘switch off’ from your anxiety, or finding that you are sleeping long hours and struggle to get out of bed

Behavioural/social symptoms of anxiety:

  • Social withdrawal and isolation – not wanting to meet with family and friends, in order to avoid stressful situations that may exacerbate your anxiety, or answer questions about your anxiety and worry
  • Reduced school or work performance as a result of decreased concentration and taking time off sick
  • Inability to manage day-to-day tasks effectively

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Oluwagbenga Odeyemi (MBBS, MPH, MRCPsych) in August 2021, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in August 2023. To view all Priory anxiety specialists, please click here.

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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