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Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety And Stress

Physical symptoms of anxiety and stress are arguably equally as uncomfortable (or more difficult) than the psychological aspects. In many cases anxiety starts as a response or emotion that is felt in the body and eventually spreads. For example, if you are faced with a pack of hungry wolves and are in the woods alone without any help, you will feel “fear” – an emotion synonymous with anxiety.

Upon seeing the pack of hungry wolves, you immediately become fearful: your palms may sweat, your pupils dilate, and you experience a surge of adrenaline. The surge of adrenaline is meant to serve a specific purpose: to ensure survival when faced with a predator, danger, or other threat. Although people don’t often have to evade packs of hungry wolves these days, the same “fight-or-flight” response can be triggered from a demanding boss, getting into a car accident, a relationship break up, and numerous other life circumstances.

Most people will experience some sort of anxiety in their lives. In many cases some anxiety is a healthy emotion, it protects us from danger and helps us deal with environmental threats. However, in some cases the anxiety from a dangerous encounter can linger long after the event and become problematic, leading to unwanted physical symptoms.

What causes the physical symptoms of anxiety or stress?

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for causing most physical symptoms associated with anxiety. It is the sympathetic nervous system which triggers a fight-or-flight response in our body and increases our overall level of arousal. Once activated, it often stays active until some sort of intervention from the parasympathetic nervous system overrides its response.

Assuming the sympathetic nervous system stays active, it can have an influence on hormones (e.g. cortisol levels), production of adrenaline, and can change activity in the brain, increasing the amount of beta waves. Additionally if there was a specific stimulus that triggered your anxiety, you may react to it with physical panic anytime you are exposed to it in the future.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of possible physical symptoms that you may experience when you feel anxious. Understand that you may not experience every symptom on this list and that symptoms will vary based on severity of anxiety, type of anxiety, and whether you are in the process of treating your anxiety.

  • Adrenaline rush: Many people will note that when they first experience anxiety, they can feel adrenaline coursing throughout their body. Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands, located above your kidneys. When anxiety becomes very extreme, you may experience constant adrenaline rushes, and in some cases could develop adrenaline addiction.
  • Body aches: When you become stressed or highly anxious, you may notice that your body starts to ache. It may ache in routine places or unexpected ones. Most people report significant aches throughout their head as well as their chest, but you may feel aches in other places as well such as arms and legs.
  • Body temperature changes: You may also notice that your body temperature slightly increases or decreases when you feel very anxious. This is a physical symptom that has been documented. Although you probably will not experience a full-blown fever or significant decrease, slight changes are possible.
  • Chest pain: Some people report extreme chest pain when they get anxious. Experiencing chest tightness and pain are hallmarks of anxiety. Unfortunately this can lead some people to believe that they are going to have a heart attack. The combination of chest tightness and palpitations are very similar signs to an actual heart attack; these are very uncomfortable.
  • Choking sensation: In cases of extreme panic, you may experience a choking sensation in your throat. You may be unable to properly breathe (inhale / exhale) as well as swallow. This is due to the fact that your body is reacting to a high level of arousal; some people experience choking.
  • Chills: For certain individuals, instead of getting hot flashes, they feel chilled all the time. You may notice increase in body chills and/or feeling cold when everyone else is fine with the temperature. The chills can come in sudden waves and/or can increase based on the intensity of your anxiety.
  • Cramps: It is common to experience cramps throughout the body when you have anxiety. Muscle cramps are usually due to increased tension throughout the body. When you become highly stimulated, your muscle tension naturally increases which can lead to cramping. Many people report stomach cramps, but these can occur anywhere in the body.
  • Diarrhea: It is very common for people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) to have comorbid anxiety and psychiatric disorders. There is a clear link between loose bowels and experiencing anxiety. For some people, their body reacts to the increased anxiety with digestive and bowel changes, leading to diarrhea.
  • Digestive changes: As was already mentioned, the digestive tract is affected when you have anxiety. Specifically the process of “peristalis” is affected when a person becomes anxious. Peristalis, or relaxation and contraction of digestive tract muscles, becomes inhibited when experiencing anxiety.
  • Dizziness: One of the most common symptoms to experience with anxiety is that of dizziness. You may get dizzy for no apparent reason, and believe that there is some hidden underlying cause. In reality, feeling dizzy or vertigo sensations can be caused by panic and high levels of arousal.
  • Dry mouth: Did your mouth suddenly become extremely dry after you started experiencing anxiety? Although dry mouth is a common antidepressant side effect, it can also be caused directly by anxiety. It is associated with lack of saliva and moisture throughout the mouth. It isn’t as common as many other physical symptoms, but can occur if you become overly stressed.
  • Fatigue: Although fatigue can be characterized as a psychological symptom, it can also be physical. At some point you may become so anxious that your muscles and body seem to run out of energy. The sympathetic nervous system tends to stimulate our muscles for dangerous scenarios. If we stay stimulated for too long, our physical energy levels can actually drop.
  • Fight-or-flight response: This is characterized by a rapid heart-rate, increased physical energy, quicker thinking, and adrenaline. Although this physical response can be beneficial when we are faced with danger, in most situations it is detrimental to our functioning.
  • Frequent urination: If you notice that you have to run to the bathroom more frequently whenever you get nervous, just know that this is very common. If you have bad anxiety, you may notice that your bladder feels full after a very short period of time. It may become especially worse in situations that trigger increases in anxiety.
  • Gastrointestinal organ constriction: Another documented effect anxiety can have on the body is constricting gastrointestinal organs. This is thought to influence digestion, bowel movements, and absorption of nutrients.
  • Headache: This is another one of the most common physical symptoms associated with anxiety. You may notice that you have a pounding headache that started right when you got anxious. If your anxiety becomes worse, your headache will likely follow suit. You may experience light headaches, moderate tension headaches, or even migraines if your anxiety becomes extreme.
  • Heart palpitations: These are sensations that your heart is pounding and/or racing that are triggered by the sympathetic nervous system. You may feel your heart fluttering and/or pounding more loudly and deeper than usual. Since your arousal has also increased, you are more aware of this physical symptom and you may initially think you’re going to have a heart attack.
  • Heart rate increase: Your heart rate may increase as will the force of your heart contractions. This is not necessarily the same thing as palpitations, but is likely a contributing factor. Assuming you figure out how to deal with anxiety, and decrease it, your heart rate should decrease to a normal range.
  • High blood pressure: If you become anxious, you may notice that your blood pressure increases. The increase may be minimal or pretty significant depending on your level of anxiety. When you are able to reduce the anxiety and calm yourself down, blood pressure should theoretically decrease.
  • Hot flashes: Many people experience hot flashes, or sudden waves of warmth throughout the body when feeling anxious. These may be most prominent in the facial, neck, and chest area and can be associated with reddening of the skin.
  • Kidney function changes: Your kidneys can increase secretion of “renin” or an enzyme that plays a role in influencing blood pressure. Renin is specifically associated with increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Libido changes: When you become anxious, you may become significantly uninterested in sex or you may experience an increased interest in sex. Some hypothesize that certain subtypes of anxiety and level of arousal can influence whether a person experiences an increase or decrease in sex drive. A majority of individuals report reduced libido when they become too anxious. In some cases high anxiety can affect ability to orgasm: premature ejaculation or anorgasmia.
  • Lightheadedness: Some people feel lightheaded when their anxiety becomes extreme. This can be associated with feelings of dizziness as well. If you notice that you feel lightheaded more than usual, it could be due to your heightened anxiety.
  • Lung functioning: When the body produces adrenaline, the lungs dilate the bronchioles. This allows for increased air flow to the lungs during times of danger. This serves to temporarily increase our ability to survive in life-threatening situations.
  • Muscle tension: Many people report feeling tension throughout their body, specifically in muscles and joints. There are many ways to help release this tension including: practicing yoga, getting a massage, progressive relaxation, and physical exercise. If your entire body feels wound-up and tense, it’s due to your sympathetic nervous system being stuck in overdrive.
  • Nausea: Feeling nauseous is common in cases of extreme anxiety. A person may feel like they are going to throw up because their panic becomes so extreme. Usually if an individual feels nauseous, they are experiencing a fairly extreme level of anxiety. This may affect appetite and in some cases can actually lead to vomiting.
  • Numbness: Some people report feeling a numbness throughout the body and muscles. This is thought to be influenced by the sympathetic nervous system pumping adrenaline through the body. This temporarily increases threshold for physical pain and may lead some individuals to feel physically “numb.”
  • Pupil dilation: When a person is relaxed, their pupils are known to constrict. When the sympathetic nervous system becomes active, a person’s pupils are known to dilate. Therefore you may notice that your pupils become huge if you are prone to extreme panic.
  • Rapid breathing: As you become stimulated with anxiety, your heart rate increases as does your breathing speed. You may notice that you are breathing rapidly and cannot seem to calm yourself down. This may be accompanied by choking if a person is hyperventilating during a panic attack.
  • Shaking: When your anxiety reaches a high level, you may actually shake or notice “tremors.” You may be shaking while sitting down because you are unable to contain the excess stimulation and adrenaline coursing through your body. Since you are physically primed with anxiety and adrenaline, this can easily lead to the shakes.
  • Shortness of breath: Another symptom that you may note is that you experience shortness of breath. You may be temporarily unable to take deep breaths and may almost feel as if you are going to pass out. This is often accompanied by rapid breathing and choking sensations when you try to breathe.
  • Sweating: When a person becomes anxious, a common physical symptom to note is increased sweating. You may sweat more often throughout the day and may even sweat while you sleep. This is due to the fact that the stress-response triggers your sweat glands to secrete more sweat.
  • Tingling sensations: Although not common in everyone, some people will actually notice that their body actually tingles in certain areas when feeling anxious. These tingles can be throughout the entire body or in specific locations such as the face, arms, legs, hands, or feet.
  • Twitching: In addition to experiencing physical shaking, you may notice that parts of your body twitch at random. Initially you may not chalk the twitching up to feeling anxious, but over time you may notice that the frequency of twitching correlates with your anxiety level.
  • Vomiting: Some people become so anxious that they become nauseous and vomit. This can be the case when someone is dealing with significant unexpected anxiety and/or emotional trauma. Usually this is a rarer physical symptom, but one that should be mentioned nonetheless.
  • Weight changes: In some cases, people end up worrying so much that they end up not eating proper diets and/or may become so preoccupied by the anxiety that they forget to eat. In other cases, people may actually increase the amount of food they eat and/or may binge on unhealthy foods when they become anxious. Additionally when a person is highly-anxious, their body will produce high levels of cortisol, which can make it easier to build fat and tougher to build muscle.

How to treat physical symptoms of anxiety and stress

In order to reduce physical symptoms that you may experience as a result of feeling anxious, the ultimate goal is to increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, while decreasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the culprit for causing these symptoms – its job is to promote the fight-or-flight response and help us when faced with danger. The problem is that when it becomes activated (or overactive) it can be very difficult to reduce activity.

If it stays overactive for an extended period of time, you may exhibit may classic signs of a nervous breakdown.  To effectively reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system, the goal is to engage in relaxation exercises and techniques that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for promoting relaxation and essentially shutting off the physical symptoms that you experience during intense anxiety. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is important in overcoming PTSD and adrenaline addiction.

  1. Relaxation techniques: There are a variety of relaxation techniques, that if utilized on a consistent basis, will reduce your physical symptoms of anxiety. These include things like meditation, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, self-hypnosis, and yoga. Assuming you know how to properly perform relaxation techniques, your physical symptoms of anxiety will gradually fade over time.  Read more about natural cures for anxiety to target these symptoms without medication.
  2. Lifestyle changes: Do you live a stress-filled lifestyle? If you have a demanding work schedule, are in an abusive relationship, eat unhealthy, don’t get adequate exercise, etc. – these could all be contributing to your anxiety. It is important to analyze your life and determine whether you could reduce your overall stress by making healthy changes.
  3. Medications: For managing the physical symptoms of anxiety, there are great medications. Although most doctors prescribe antidepressants for anxiety such as SSRIs to address both physical and psychological symptoms, other medications like beta blockers are thought to work well for addressing just the physical symptoms. If you think it’s necessary, try out a medication and see whether it helps improve the physical symptoms.  If you don’t like the idea of taking a pharmaceutical medication, you could consider various herbal remedies for anxiety like kava kava and valerian root.
  4. Education: Most people are undereducated about what happens when the sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. For these individuals I highly recommend the book “Hope And Help For Your Nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes. It is arguably the best book for teaching you how to cope with physical symptoms produced by extreme anxiety. If you have extreme physical symptoms, this book will be of significant benefit.
  5. Therapy: Ultimately you may want to get into therapy with someone who specializes in anxiety. The therapist may utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and/or may help teach you ways to deal with your physical symptoms. Therapy can be of significant help to someone who feels like their anxiety is driving them crazy.

Physical symptoms of anxiety & stress can be overwhelming

The physical symptoms of anxiety often go hand-in-hand with the psychological symptoms. For example, when a person experiences heart palpitations, it may make them mentally panic and believe that they are having a heart attack. This further increases the amount of panic and fear inside the person’s psychology. What really helps most people deal with physical symptoms of anxiety is a psychological acceptance of them.

If you have heart palpitations and panic each time you feel them or think you’re going to have a heart-attack, this will further increase health anxiety. However, if you accept your physical symptoms as being caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system, you’ll realize that it’s merely a biological reaction and ultimately you are required to panic about. I know that the physical symptoms of extreme anxiety can drive anyone absolutely crazy.

You may develop temporary hypochondriasis as a result of these symptoms. If you aren’t able to recognize that they are caused by the sympathetic nervous system, you may believe that you have some rare health condition that is causing the physical symptoms. Although it is important to rule out other causes, if a doctor reassures you that your physical symptoms are caused by anxiety, it’s a safe bet that they are correct.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Phyllis September 27, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Thank God & thank you people! THIS SITE HAS BEEN AN ANSWER TO PRAYER! Had minor anxiety issues all my life (had an anxiety driven mom) but lost a 19 year old in a car accident about 30 years ago & our only grandchild overnight from a virus a few years later.

    Fought off panic attacks with the Lord’s help after each loss, but in spring of 2017 lost my 52 year old daughter/ best friend from a 3 month battle of cardiomyopathy & 2 weeks later my husband of 57 years (the love of my life). Developed panic/anxiety problems couple of months later.

    The irony is I do counseling for my church!!! And couldn’t help myself – if you read any of above comments, that’s my story! Practically 24/7 weak arms & achy stiff legs, gradually increasing in intensity over a year’s time!

    Shrinking my world – went from teaching high school till I was 75; living a full healthy life, to after my losses, following my oldest son around like a puppy dog (cause he’s my safe person now) living in this horrible merry-go-round of pain and mental anguish! BTW do have “generalized anxiety disorder”!!

    Will now take a different path – get Dr. Claire’s book, stop “googling” and work on renewing my mind (with scripture) LOL – no surprise there!!! Feel like for the first time I have a real diagnosis I can work with – that I’ll be able to live out my life working for the Lord (I’m 80) & not crouched in a corner of my son’s house “googling” my symptoms!!

    Can’t thank you enough for having the courage to talk about your “stuff” – it’s certainly helped this “poor old lady.”

  • Brandon March 14, 2017, 6:16 am

    Is anyone’s anxiety constantly changing symptoms? Over the past several years I’ve had heart attack symptoms, dizziness, I’ll feel partial numbness on my left side like I’m having a stroke, double vision and not I get this intense body rush throughout the day even when it feels like I’m not anxious.

    I’ve been on medication for a couple months now and have recently been hospitalized due to my anxiety symptoms and have gotten a clean bill of health. If anyone has any insight I would be extremely grateful.

  • ofelia33 January 17, 2017, 3:19 am

    I began psychiatric care last year after a bout of anxiety and panic attacks, which left me bewildered and incredibly fearful of just about anything involving going outside of my house. It was a period in my life when I had to find a job–that prospect would frighten me to the core, so I begrudgingly made an appointment and saw a psychiatrist. I remember basically crying through the entire appointment and feeling so nervous that I was going to hurl.

    Considering where I’m at in my life today, it’s nearly laughable, but I digress. What I’ve always been curious about is that I haven’t been able to easily find any evidence online or elsewhere (even asking doc) regarding the specific symptoms I experienced. This is how it went for me: SHARP pain in the center of my stomach, ankles start tingling with the feeling traveling upward, getting extremely overheated, no capability to do much of anything (frozen feeling), and being nauseated and feeling faint. Those, of course, aren’t too strange; however, right after the sharp stomach pain, a small pooling of flushed skin would appear in the inside of my left elbow.

    EVERY time it started in that spot. I could watch it grow and spread up my entire left arm. I thought it was some kind of rash, but it was hot to the touch and under the skin. After my arm was covered, my knees and feet would also flush. This was always followed by uncontrollable sobbing and lasted about 10 minutes. And then I’d feel absolutely fine. No one seems to have heard of this reaction before.

    Both doctors I’ve been to are stumped. I’ve done blood testing and even did extensive research on histamine receptors, etc., trying Quercitin and Zinc supplementation. I just don’t understand the very specific location of flushing. Anyway, I’m recovered now. I’m one of the lucky ones, I suppose. I tried Zoloft 50mg and that eliminated the anxiety to about 80%, with only small bouts popping up at inopportune times (i.e. grocery shopping and then needing to go sit in the car for a moment to breathe).

    I supplemented with Adderall 20mg twice daily and I swear to god if THAT feeling was happiness, I’d never felt happiness before and that’s a fact. Within about 20 minutes, I was freed from emotional baggage, filled with love, intoxicated by euphoria, and just all-around giddy, fuzzy-feeling joy, embodied. That cured me right on up! :) With help from the stimulant, I became fascinated with ridding myself of codependent traits and otherwise finding self-love.

    I accomplished this through moving away from family who I’d unknowingly been influenced by, exploring several interests (which I’d never had?) and researching a variety of topics on growth, forgiveness, unconditional love, etc. Yoga gave me something to focus on intently, an occasion to feel accomplished, and the ability to be proud of myself as I grew stronger physically and mentally, realizing one day that, “You’re upside down and standing on your head right now. You couldn’t even touch your toes before yoga.”

    Of course, the Adderall doesn’t boast the same effects anymore. I only notice a slight “yippee” feeling when I take it. I’ve tapered off of the Zoloft and I’ll likely do the same with Addy. But that was the drug that saved me. That gave me clarity and release. I’ll forever be grateful! I no longer have “attacks,” anxiety, nervousness of any kind, etc. I have secured gainful employment and am the most content I’ve ever been.

    I’m confident now and self-reliant. I did the work, but I needed the help of medication, no doubt. I’m under the impression that I’m dopamine deficient? Given my extreme reaction to Adderall and “meh” feeling from the Zoloft. Also, with the stimulant, my handwriting became beautiful and I no longer had hand-cramping when writing, which also leads me to believe dopamine was missing for cognitive functionality.

    Right now, I’m on Bupropion hcl XL 300mg once daily and it’s too soon to notice any difference, but then again, I don’t really know what to expect. My doctor explained it as simply ensuring the “happiness switch” is fully capable of being turned on; however, the drug won’t turn it on for me. Basically, the gate is open and now I bring the flood, naturally, from what I understand. I’ve not changed any of my habits and still meditate and yoga flow almost daily.

    While I’m saddened I don’t have such an intense pleasurable feeling from the Adderall any longer, I’m pleased I don’t have an addictive personality that would lead me to abuse it. Curious what Bupropion will bring… Oh, and if anyone has that weird skin thing happen to them.

  • K January 7, 2017, 6:26 pm

    This forum certainly helps me to affirm what is happening with me! As a very dynamic extrovert with a high profile, high pressured job and with the stigma around stress in the workplace I haven’t been able to accept. My symptoms are cramping in arms and hands, aches and pains in legs, numbness in face, some head pain, hot flashes in neck whilst hands freezing cold, tremors and the worst for me is a mix of blurred and tunnel vision, nausea and dizziness.

    Doctor diagnosed migraine but the tablets prescribed when take increased the feeling of impending doom. A couple of weeks later the strength of my symptoms forced me to seek medical attention. I thought stroke initially but bloods, CT and ECG shows everything to be fine. I knew from that point it had to be a mental issue, but did not want anything else prescribed however a few things have helped me in the last week.

    St Johns Wort herbal medicine, rescue remedy at times of high symptoms, sucking on a strong cold mint and keeping a daily diary. I have just returned from a massage session preformed by a trained acupuncturist. OMG whilst on the table and following a week of betterment the symptoms hit me like a bullet train.

    He identified a spot of tension in my lower shoulders that released this. I don’t think we managed to work it all out but hopefully enough to show an improvement over the next week. If so likely to go and try it again. Thanks to everyone who has posted as I feel better knowing I’m not losing my marbles!

  • Anna Elizabeth November 18, 2016, 5:16 am

    I’ve been on the verge of a mental breakdown, I swear. Lately with all the stress in my life (Mom has cancer, Dad died of cancer 2 years ago, my pap passed in June of this year, a sister with a hoarding and OCD problem and her own intense anxiety, feeling lost, stuck, like I’m not living up to my potential, not getting any help around the house from the boyfriend, worried about my family, about me, etc.). All of that has apparently taken a toll on me because I had panic attacks as a teen but they went away for years.

    I’ll be 30 this December and they’re back with a vengeance. Lately I’ve been unable to take in a deep breath, I always feel like I’m dying, my heart has been skipping beats and racing on and off, I’ll have these weird head rushes/brain zaps that feel like a sinking feeling in my chest combined with the head rush and an inability to remember to breathe combined with muscle twitches when I lay down to go to sleep that keep me up for hours before I can finally calm down enough to fall asleep. Or pass out from exhaustion.

    I take Seroquel but only 50mg. Ativan 0.5mg as needed for anxiety, but they aren’t helping at this point. My anxiety is too bad. I always feel like I’m dying of some rare disease or illness or there’s something wrong with me that no doctor can figure out. I even twitch when I’m awake and sitting at the computer. And sometimes I’ll get this weird helium head feeling like I’m not in my right sense or like I’m not engaged with the world.

    It’s around me, I see it, I know it’s there, but I feel so isolated in my mind and like I’m going crazy or going to die. It’s TERRIBLE. I wouldn’t wish anxiety or panic or depression on my worst enemy. The thing with me, is I’ve always been a worrier and a stressed out type of person. I’m also the type that takes in the emotions of people around me, and I’m super good at reading people when something is wrong or off.

    That’s why I trust my gut when I say I feel like something is off. I’ve been accepting stressful situations and random bad luck scenarios for so long that I’ve come to not even notice it until its too late and then my mind and body are in a major fight against me and know it’s had too much excitement and stress for a thousand lifetimes. I don’t feel suicidal, I don’t feel like crying or hiding out.

    However, I feel angry and raging. I feel anxious and nervous and paranoid, and like my body is falling apart. That’s why I don’t socialize as much as I should. I want to go out and do something and find tranquility in nature or around people with good vibes but I’m hesitant because one little thing will set me off or have me raging angry or shaking. That’s about how I’d describe mine. :(

    I do hope I can learn some meditation or breathing exercise that actually works and helps me out. Loooong baths are my only ritual to get me the least bit relaxed I can. Any suggestions? I’m always open to some. And trust me, I feel everyone of you, even though each person is unique in the way they respond to it.. It’s a terrible thing to suffer with. I still have the want and the will to live and live well, to see the world and get out there, I just don’t know where to begin.

  • Judy Coleman September 6, 2016, 4:14 pm

    Just an idea for some of you suffering from the anxiety attacks. Have any of you been checked out for Lyme Disease? Do you have other physical symptoms besides the anxiety attacks? I have worked with a lot of people with Lyme disease and some of them have anxiety attacks, which actually go away after they have been successfully treated with antibiotics.

    You could read up on it. And a word of advice, if you want checked out for Lyme, go to a Lyme literate doc. Many Lyme tests are falsely negative and you doc will not even consider Lyme in this instance. Get on the internet and find docs that really diagnose and treat Lyme for a true answer. Good luck to all of you. Your attacks sound terrible.

    I am on here because 4 years ago I had some very traumatic things happen in my life. At the time, I mean, instantly, that day, I started with waves down my legs. I don’t know how to explain it. Not pain, just these waves continually. During the last 4 years, if I think about that trauma I would get those waves. Now, however, with any worry, or bad thought, or even watching a tv show where there is any kind of controversy, I get these waves. Often.

    Even in the middle of the night. I have also recently started responding very angrily to stupid things, like dropping something, etc. I just want to scream. I do have Lyme disease, but it is being treated, and I do know what started all this in the beginning, so I don’t attribute mine to Lyme. Just saying, it’s a thought for some of you, especially those of you with severe physical symptoms. Good luck.

  • Elisha September 5, 2016, 2:16 am

    Thank you for writing on this! It is very helpful! I feel like I finally understand myself. Blessings!

  • Amanda S August 28, 2016, 3:13 am

    Hi, I don’t know how late I am but I’ve been suffering from anxiety for the past 3 months. I must say tho, that marijuana has caused this. I started smoking pot at the age of 16 for 7months. I am 17 now. Since that experience of getting a panic attack after hitting a joint, I have quit pot. Since then I suffer daily anxiety :(.

    My symptoms are, heaviness in my arm (left mostly), pain in my chest, pain in my face, slight tingling in my throat, I barely get heart palpitations but when I do it lasts for a short period of time, burning sensation on skin and the worst feeling of being unable to breathe:( Can someone help me please? Has anyone experienced this?

    I have visited the doctor and he said there was nothing wrong with me? But said it’s anxiety and prescribed Paxil. I am not on the medication cause the price is really expensive in my country ($540) and I were afraid of the side effects of the medication or not working for me.

    • Vic October 2, 2016, 10:24 pm

      Hey Amanda, I too have gotten anxiety from smoking marijuana early, around 16. I had one episode where I for sure thought I was going to die, I could even walk up stows or get out of bed without t passing out, since then I was put on SSRIs (antidepressants) got completely better. Through out the years the SSRIs did more damage then anything else, in the long run you lose the function for you serotonin to be released so it feels like you’ll never feel as happy as you remember, it’s sucks.

      I would advise trying a complete different healthy diet, a lot of fruits, veggies, fish, avoid heavy carbs like white bread, pasta etc. Start taking MAGNESIUM, I hear nothing but good things about it and if you can exorcise do it. Cardio helps a ton with adrenaline and anxiety, start with walking also practice with your self thinking, the more negative thoughts you have the worse it will get physically and mentally, it will drain you and debilitate you later on. Good luck!! Oh yea and take probiotics (a good brand) your stomach is linked to 80% of your serotonin production.

  • Amy August 19, 2016, 7:21 pm

    I too have struggled with horrible symptoms for the last 4 yrs. Now it is getting worse with left side chest pains, shaking, arms burning thinking I am having a heart attack. After 2 trips to the ER and an EKG telling me its anxiety then DRS trying to push meds on me its a relief to know I am not alone!

    Learned a lot that magnesium can help so going to try that so awful to have sharp chest pains in a normal day and can just be doing normal stuff like working then they hit and lad 10 to 20 second and then go away and come back ugh. I am so glad I found this site. To think 1 it’s not in my head and 2 I am NOT having a heart attack!!!

  • Melanie Pote July 18, 2016, 3:03 am

    This is the best thing I’ve read on anxiety and the physical effects. I struggle with this everyday of my life. Thank you for explaining this so well. I know if I can just get my “head right” my anxiety wouldn’t cause such problems for me. I have started doing transcendental meditation (TM) and it helps a lot. But when I’m having a full blown attack, the only thing that helps is medication. Many of my close friends and family don’t understand. I will definitely show them this blog! Thank you!

  • Jeff May 10, 2016, 5:07 pm

    I used to have anxiety with the occasional panic attack. (As a side note, I would like to point out that vomiting is usually not accompanied by nausea. It’s less of a physical feeling and more of an awareness that you’re about to vomit.) My anxiety stopped dead in its tracks the day after I started taking magnesium.

    But since the big pharmaceuticals don’t make anything on magnesium, and medical professionals get no kickback from it, don’t expect to hear much about it. They’d rather put you on some meds that mask the problem without solving it, so you’re a paying customer for life.

    • GB August 2, 2016, 2:10 pm

      How much magnesium should I take?

  • Jarred May 2, 2016, 1:59 pm

    Pleasant one to all! I have had surgery on my pituitary gland (transsphenoidal surgery) 2 years ago in 2014! I am now 24 years and have been experiencing anxiety symptoms since a while before I did surgery! I have looked all over the internet for people who may have symptoms like mine and none so far! I saw a therapist who has placed me on zoloft!

    My symptoms are when I get scared or overthink simple things too much I get the cramping pain in my head its truly painful and lasts for about 1 minute all on the right side of my head! My right eye begins to tear up during it! The pain is 12/10 factor! I have had several MRI tests done because of my pituitary tumor and they are all find aside from having residual tumor!

    It has stopped me from performing as I am the lead vocalist in a band and causes me to have these attacks really easy as of lately like for example: got pulled over by police because my vehicle needed a tune up so there was a bit of black smoke! And it happened! I am currently not driving because of the severity of the attacks because the pain is so intense I basically cant do anything while experiencing it!

    I try to keep positive but as of lately my fear is actually getting the attacks as well so i am afraid of the attacks! I hope someone can respond and share some kind of light! Still fighting the fight, Jarred!

  • g April 12, 2016, 3:49 pm

    Hi all fellow experiencers (I use this word instead of victims / sufferers etc cause we are NOT victims and aren’t weak). After being at war with generalized anxiety disorder and having random panic attacks sometimes once a month to sometimes every day in a month for nearly 2 years, I have found the way out. I recommend Dr. Claire’s books but if you can’t get them then this is what you must do.

    Get rid of your “what if” thought pattern. Accept that adrenaline is a friend, it’s a tool to work out. You haven’t had a cardiac event, cancer, m.s. stroke, angina etc till now for every time you had strife with panic and thought the worst possible outcome, so why should it happen now? Chances of having your worst fear come true are zero.

    CBT helps but if you’re like me and without access to a good therapist then you got to challenge your fear. Death is inevitable it is the fear of becoming a vegetable and being dependent is what worries us all the most. Whatever is written in fate will run its course when the time comes and trust me when the time comes, no one will feel the symptoms of anxiety attacks.

    Things just happen. Sooner you accept this fact the faster you will overcome anxiety. As for adrenaline rush, once you’ve learned to identify adrenaline symptoms you can get great relief by burning the adrenaline off. Adrenaline if channelized the right way will give you a better body and higher performance. You can rest assured that working out during anxiety attack will not kill you.

    It will burn off the adrenaline, save you from muscle aches, give you a better shape and release endorphins – the recipe for a healthy physique and better quality of life. Accept your symptoms, make peace with them. Once your panic disorder has run its course, it will end. Its not easy. Easy for me to say all this but when it comes down to it I feel violated from inside every time I have a panic attack but hey we’re strong aren’t we?

    Good luck to all. Trust me anxiety is a friend. And no you will not die of a heart issue or a stroke or paralysis or ms or tumor or p.a.d. or COPD or of your nightmares. Stop googling symptoms and start living it up. Like a king or a queen based upon your preferences ;)

    • Brittany Snyder May 30, 2016, 5:03 pm

      I really did love reading your comment, I just had an anxiety attack (the worst one I’ve ever had) yesterday. My anxiety manifests as tingling in my limbs and muscle contractions in my hands if it gets severe enough. Yesterday my whole body was tingling and my chest was tight and for a sec I really did think would die. But then I just said, “well f*ck, if I’m going to die, just take me.”

      And it did start to subside. Today I am exhausted and still a little tingly in my fingers and feet. I am not sure what will happen in the future, but your comment really did give me a new outlook on the joys of have full blown anxiety attacks. Thanks!!

    • Caryn B June 1, 2016, 11:58 am

      Your words are helpful. I have many of the same symptoms as people posting on this site and know that if I had more people to interact with on the topic, I would not feel so isolated. Does anyone know of an online support group, other than finding people who comment on articles like this one?

      • Jay H July 4, 2016, 1:58 pm

        Love your comment. I’ve suffered for four years, quite severely, but, have learned to live with it. I go to the gym five times a week and eat healthily, I get tricked into thinking I’m better then it comes back full force and punches me down. Laughter really is a medicine.

        Your comment made me laugh in its honesty and it sums up many of our fears. It really is important to lighten up. Once you have been poked, prodded and tested and it IS down to anxiety, please, do things to make you laugh. It does help.

  • Jim January 21, 2016, 7:26 pm

    I developed this permanent adrenaline rush after a bout with a virus 3 weeks ago. After having heart palpitations, I went to emergency only to discover my heart and blood pressure were excellent. (I run). What helps me is CARDIO. After running, I feel so much better.

    If you can’t run, then walk. Cut out caffeine and nicotine entirely. The cardio is all that helps me. Take some Melatonin early in the evening to help sleep if needed. I am not at all mentally anxious, or nervous. These symptoms are entirely physical in nature, without corresponding mental anxiety.

    • K May 26, 2018, 8:38 pm

      Hi Jim, Not sure if you are still monitoring this thread or not. I had a bout with virus about 3 months ago and that is when my symptoms started as well. First it was the heart palps which sent me to the doctor for a clean bill of health just like everyone else.

      Now it’s the continued adrenaline rush that wakes me up at night and just makes me feel wired all day long. Ironically my pulse stays at a resting rate even though it feels like I should be in tachycardia.

      Exercise does help in the short term, but it always seems comes back after a few hours. Anything new on your end? Are you still dealing with these symptoms? Thanks for your advice… I will try and turn this into something positive by focusing the effects on my fitness.

  • Anne December 31, 2015, 2:53 am

    About 18 months ago I started have these surges that went through my entire body. Eventually I started falling 10-12 times a day. I would feel the surges and within two seconds I would fall to the floor. Each limb was like water. I was using a walker at the start, but it got so bad that my arms along with the rest of my body would fall in a heap like I had no bones.

    My arms were useless as they would collapse causing me to turn the walker over when I fell. Then the shaking started. I looked like I was attached to an electrical wire. I had no control of my body. They ran every test possible. Parkinson’s, ALS, MS and a host of others. Everything came back clear. My GP started looking at my meds and took me off Elavil. I didn’t really believe Elavil was the “real” problem. But it suddenly stopped.

    Now, it’s starting all over again. I haven’t started falling yet, but that’s just around the corner. I’m embarrassed to go back to the dr. I feel like they think I’m a hypochondriac, and that nothing is really wrong. Is this stress? Can stress manifest itself to mimic other ailments or disease? I’m getting very depressed to think I’ve got months of this horrible thing again. Any thoughts or advice?

    • Judy March 5, 2017, 10:52 pm

      Ann, I hope you’ve already found your solution, but have you considered a magnesium deficiency? My Dr says it is epidemic because our diets are deficient. It causes anxiety, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, etc. There are also other physical conditions that can cause this. Be well :)

  • Linah November 21, 2015, 7:03 pm

    I have developed very painful rashes on my right breast and also a very deep pain in my chest. Rashes look like a new burn wound. The Dr said they are the signs of stress. Can somebody help me on how to cure this? It’s been two weeks now with this pain… “very painful.”

    • Elisha September 5, 2016, 2:05 am

      This may be too late but it could be shingles. I thought only old people got it but I got it at 35 after my first bad episode of anxiety.

  • G October 23, 2015, 4:26 am

    I have the same problem… I’ve dealing with it for a year now. Don’t give up!!!! I know is a constant battle, take a day at a time… What helps me is massaging my neck, face and joints. Squeezing all the adrenaline out or whatever chemical is in the nerves that primes the muscles helps relaxing my body and mind. Think positive, make it a habit to be grateful and keep your mind occupied on tasks that don’t stress you like reading a book or playing an instrument. I wish you the best! We will get better!!!

  • rick September 10, 2015, 11:34 am

    I’ve had anxiety severely for 3 years now. I’m 26 in otherwise good health. I get stereotypical stroke symptoms (always on left side) cold feet, numb heavy leg, numb heavy arm, light headed, see floaters in vision, chest pain. This is daily!!! I’ve had multiple ECG tests CT scan stress tests but everything seems to come back normal. I would give anything to feel “normal” and do my daily life without this constant cloud. Does anyone else get it this bad?

    • Savanna September 29, 2015, 8:18 pm

      Rick, I get it that bad. It’s awful and what’s worse is the doctors tell me it’s all in my head and I need to push past it. I’ve been on antidepressants for 15 years and never an anxiety med. I never truly needed one until now and it seems like nobody believes me. Battling with doctors only makes it worse so I gave up. I hope things get better for you. Good luck!

    • Al January 12, 2017, 5:53 pm

      Hello, I’m 25 and also get the “stroke symptoms” on my right side. Sometimes so bad it seems my walking is impeded. (It isn’t). I also have had a full exercise ECG and heart scope (don’t remember the name). So no, you’re not alone.

    • Nick December 4, 2017, 12:05 am

      Yeah man, I see the floaters too, get the numbness and tingles throughout my body and constant dizziness. I keep telling myself I have MS or something.
      I’m 25 and perfectly healthy but it’s 24/7.

    • Pete m December 20, 2017, 5:34 pm

      I do. It’s bad that sometimes when I don’t move my hands long enough. I get scared that I’m unable to move it… and I have trouble coordinating my finger movements at time. It’s not too bad when I’m concentrating on work in the mornings. But it starts to hit after lunch. I have the sensation like my left side is weaker but sometimes it’s another area.

      I had cardiomyopathy three years ago and have recovered. I do monthly checkups and blood tests – everything is ok. But there’s this very bad paranoia I’m getting a heart attack or stroke even though I had an angiogram in August and everything checks out.

  • Georgie August 27, 2015, 7:26 pm

    I hate the adrenaline rush. I get super sensitive, alert and angry. That flight or fight response? I get the take evasive maneuver then fight response. I respond the exact same way every time too, whether I was avoiding fireworks, dealing with a prison riot, avoiding being shot at by Iraqis or avoiding clowns on the freeway who decide they need to cut across 6 lanes to exit in 50 feet.

    My heart rushes, tunnel vision, tremors, and rage. It takes me a half hour to come off of it too. I make good decisions during the event but I don’t like the situation at all. I’m just getting over PTSD, so it’s been a struggle. I don’t understand why some think that losing control is so exciting. I actually get the attitude of hoping that one who created the situation gets what they deserve, and it’s not pretty.

    Shills I think this way? Nope, but I get a I don’t give a f*ck attitude really quick after that. I think adrenaline rushes are meant to protect us and if you don’t have that reflex, at what point will you respond to where you’re first reaction is to protect yourself rather than taking the risk? I certainly don’t need any additional drama in my life.

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