Anxiety: What Are The Physical Signs?

Desperate woman with head in hands, she is having an headache, anxiety and depression concept

Anxiety on its own is stressful enough. However, the side effects of this disorder can often lead to even more panic because they share so many symptoms with other ailments. Anxiety and panic disorders can cause numerous physical reactions. Many people are unaware that their symptoms are not caused by an underlying condition. This can worsen the situation by making them more fearful. Learning about anxiety and recognizing the bodily symptoms can help break the cycle. These are some of the common physical signs.


Fatigue is a common symptom of anxiety, panic attacks, chronic stress, depression, and other mental illnesses. Anxiety keeps the body and mind tense and alert. Anxiety and stress arise from the mind constantly searching the external and internal environment for danger. Mental and physical tiredness result from persistent high attentiveness.

High Heart Rate

Anxiety is a natural human reaction to danger. Anxiety causes physiological changes in the body to prepare for danger, often known as the fight or flight reaction. However, if you suffer from persistent anxiety, your body and mind may be unable to distinguish between genuine and imagined threats, triggering the fight or flight reaction, which causes an increase in heart rate.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is another troubling sensation that causes many people to fear a heart attack, choking, or lung difficulties. Hyperventilation causes shortness of breath by inhaling too much oxygen and releasing too much carbon dioxide. Hyperventilation is harmless, although you may feel suffocating, have a lump in your throat, or believe that you are unable to breathe.


Dizziness, faintness, or unsteadiness can be caused by hyperventilation or other anxiety-related disorders, such as neck and shoulder muscle tightness. During a panic episode, many people feel dizzy and fear passing out, but some people with anxiety disorders have chronic dizziness and balance issues.

Weak Muscles

Muscle weakness is another common symptom most commonly in the legs and arms. The body prepares for the fight or flight reaction by redirecting blood flow to critical areas, such as the legs, which are needed to sprint away from danger. Legs with increased blood flow can feel weak, or have a tingling sensation.


Tension in the neck and shoulders causes headaches and migraines, as well  as grinding teeth, tension, poor posture, and hyperventilation. Anxiety can also cause sharp pain, dull aching, or pressure around the head and eyes. Excessive worry can disrupt hormone balance. Some women experience migraines due to these imbalances.

Stomach Discomfort

Stress and worry can induce bloating, stomach cramps, acid reflux, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been related to chronic stress and mental health issues. Anxiety can exacerbate symptoms of food intolerance and allergies.

Pins and Needles

Pins and needles, tingling, and numbness are frequent symptoms that can occur anywhere in the body. Lips, cheeks, and arm tingling are common symptoms of anxiety, but many worry that they are having a stroke. Body tingling and numbness are mainly caused by hyperventilation, but can also be caused by physical tension.

Worry can create a variety of unpleasant bodily sensations, but accepting that these are only transitory and harmless can help reduce anxiety. In addition to weariness and dizziness, worry causes digestive issues and tingling sensations.

Contact Me

If you are struggling with anxiety and live near Chandler, AZ, please do not hesitate to contact me today. We can schedule a consultation and create a treatment plan that works for you!