What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Frequent tension headaches may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Frequent tension headaches may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

An individual who has an anxiety disorder may struggle with a range of symptoms. A person often feels an abnormal level of worry and has symptoms related to the additional mental distress. For example, he may feel edgy, unable to relax, irritable, and unable to concentrate. Physical symptoms of anxiety disorders may develop as well, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, and tremors. In some cases, a person even has panic attacks that are marked by symptoms similar to those of a heart attack.

Panic attacks are often part of anxiety disorders.
Panic attacks are often part of anxiety disorders.

Mental and emotional distress are among the most common symptoms of anxiety disorders. For example, a person who has an anxiety disorder may worry excessively or feel as if he's under constant stress. He may be unreasonably irritable as well, or notice a frequent feeling of edginess. Often, the concern he feels over a problem seems out of proportion with the seriousness of the issue. In many cases, a person with an anxiety disorder also can have difficulty concentrating or struggle with an impaired memory.

Some patients with anxiety and panic disorders respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Some patients with anxiety and panic disorders respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Sometimes the symptoms of anxiety disorders are of a physical nature. For example, some people with these disorders have tight, tense muscles. Some may suffer from trembling or sweat excessively during times of stress. Nausea and vomiting may also occur when a person has an anxiety disorder. The need to use the bathroom more frequently than usual can also develop.

Headaches are among the common symptoms of anxiety disorders as well. A person with this type of condition might suffer from frequent tension headaches, for example. He may also develop migraines, which are intense, disabling headaches.

Hyperventilation and excessive sweating are signs of chronic anxiety.
Hyperventilation and excessive sweating are signs of chronic anxiety.

An individual who has an anxiety disorder could also develop sleep-related symptoms. For example, many people with anxiety disorders become extremely fatigued. Others, however, may have the opposite problem. For instance, a person with this type of issue may have a difficult time falling asleep or sleeping through the night.

The symptoms of anxiety disorders often include panic attacks as well. Interestingly, these attacks involve symptoms that mimic those of a heart attack. For instance, a person may develop a racing heartbeat along with tightness or pain in the chest and difficulty breathing; some people also sweat profusely or become nauseated during these episodes. An individual who is in the throes of a panic attack may sometimes feel dizzy or weak and experience tingling in his extremities. Often, his symptoms are accompanied by feelings of terror or doom.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Frequent tension headaches may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
      Frequent tension headaches may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
    • Panic attacks are often part of anxiety disorders.
      Panic attacks are often part of anxiety disorders.
    • Some patients with anxiety and panic disorders respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
      Some patients with anxiety and panic disorders respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
    • Hyperventilation and excessive sweating are signs of chronic anxiety.
      Hyperventilation and excessive sweating are signs of chronic anxiety.
    • A person who has an anxiety disorder may worry excessively.
      A person who has an anxiety disorder may worry excessively.
    • Irritability and tremors may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
      Irritability and tremors may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
    • The symptoms of anxiety disorders often include panic attacks.
      The symptoms of anxiety disorders often include panic attacks.
    • Manic episodes can impact a person's sleeping patterns.
      Manic episodes can impact a person's sleeping patterns.