Millions of people suffer from some degree of anxiety, though that can range from rational fears to more severe issues like panic disorder or agoraphobia. Though it’s a widespread problem that can vary in presentation from individual to individual, anxiety does have some specific symptoms that can help make it easy to identify.
Anxiety symptoms typically result from the release of adrenaline. This prompts the body to go into “fight or flight” mode, preparing it to respond to an imminent threat by increasing breathing and heart rate, boosting blood flow to muscles, and slowing digestion. Unfortunately, in situations like anxiety disorder, the threat is usually something harmless– having to be in a crowd of people, for example. In panic disorder, intense feelings of panic might arise without any provocation at all. While someone running away from a tiger might not notice the changes going on in their body, someone who suffers an anxiety attack while sitting and doing nothing may feel every unpleasant side-effect.
It’s normal to experience some anxiety before a stressful event, like a project deadline or surgery. Symptoms of this type of anxiety may include:
Sense of dread.
Loss of appetite.
Lack of pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyable.