Symptoms of anxiety

The most common anxiety symptoms

Often the symptoms of anxiety, as mentioned in my article on symptoms of depression , occur concurrently, “go hand in hand” in short.

Along with depression, anxiety is the most experienced and communicated condition by patients in my clinical experience.

Let’s find out how to recognize it, through common anxiety symptoms, and how to contain it or use it in our favor.

First of all it is necessary to keep in mind that anxiety is a physiological response of the human being to a stressful external event, that is, it creates a change and needs an adaptation on our part.

Just as depression is described as “worry about the past,” anxiety can be viewed as excessive worry about the future.

Sometimes, therefore, this state of mind can become dysfunctional, maladaptive, that is, it puts a spanner in the works instead of carrying out its normal role of reaction to danger.

In this case, the symptoms of anxiety can come in the form of various combinations:

  • Excessive fear or even terror, panic towards situations / events that usually would not have worried us or that are not worrying in themselves, apprehension;
  • Feeling of mental emptiness
  • Repetitive or obsessive thoughts, usually negative, which can translate into compulsive behaviors;
  • Inappropriate psycho-physical discomfort, or not justified by external conditions;
  • State of constant alertness, agitation, hypervigilance, which can translate into symptoms, including physical ones, such as contracture or tension of the muscles, tremors, twinges, spasms, tingling of the limbs or alteration of breathing and / or heartbeat;
  • Inability to start or continue simple daily activities, decreased attention and concentration, indecision, memory impairment;
  • Dysfunctions of the immune and digestive system, symptoms due to which you can get sick more easily and sometimes you feel pain in the stomach and intestines;
  • Irritability, social withdrawal, feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, confusion, unpredictability;
  • Nausea, chills, dizziness, excessive sweating, dry mouth or throat
  • Changes in sleep and eating routines
  • Sense of effort, weakness, breathlessness, feeling of instability.

Concomitant factors of anxiety

As with any other disorder, it is essential to take into account the differential diagnosis, and therefore to exclude any other condition through medical examinations, especially when physical symptoms are encountered.

We also need to distinguish anxiety from panic attacks, which is why I wrote a dedicated article.

The anxiety disorders recognized by the DSM-5 and ICD-10 are the following:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder;
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia, specific phobia;
  • Social anxiety disorder;
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder.

As with depression, it is important to know when any of the above anxiety symptoms are actually a personality trait of the individual. This too can be addressed in a psychological accompaniment.

The psychodynamic technique is useful on two fronts: controlling the symptoms from a practical point of view to then take back one’s life in the present moment, as well as investing in greater awareness and knowledge of oneself, in order to be able to use one’s own resources in inevitable future events.

Very often I talk to patients about how important it is to learn to distinguish situations that are beyond our control from those that we can control.

In this way, new resources can be developed in the therapeutic relationship to accept, welcome, face and solve some problems related to anxiety.

According to psychodynamic theory, most of the time, what lies behind these manifestations is a conflict between unfulfilled desires and defense mechanisms.

One of the typical defense mechanisms of anxiety is avoidance.

To find out more about psychodynamic theory and technique, you can read HERE .

I would like to remember that the therapeutic work is always done in two, by the therapist and by the patient.