When you talk about anxiety, you usually think of it as accelerated behavior on the part of people, but in reality the acceleration is in the person’s thoughts, not necessarily in their behavior.

The thought of the anxious subject is always ahead of reality, anticipating the facts in a negative way. The subject thinks that things will go wrong even before he starts doing them.

In this article we will talk about the physical symptoms of anxiety , that is, we will see what are the main complications that this behavior can bring to our body, and we will review some of the most effective treatments for these cases.

What are the main physical symptoms of anxiety?

As we have already mentioned, anxiety can cause certain complications on a physical level in those who suffer from it. Let’s see what these symptoms are.

1. Tremors

These are of an involuntary nature, and usually occur when the subject is about to start an activity that increases his or her stress level .

A good example is when the person must speak in public or with someone who has a particular interest in him or her.

2. Excessive sweating

When anxiety reaches high levels, the Central Nervous System (CNS) begins to function in an exacerbated manner in the body, generating a series of reactions that are beyond voluntary control. One of these reactions is excessive sweating, especially in the hands, feet, forehead and armpits.

3. Cardiac arrhythmias

The most common heart arrhythmia that occurs during physical symptoms of anxiety is tachycardia. The heartbeat tends to accelerate in an irregular manner when the individual is exposed to a situation that triggers the anxious state.

4. Rapid breathing

Another characteristic symptom in these cases is an increased breathing rate (tachypnea). When this occurs the person may start to take large breaths through the mouth in an agitated manner .

5. Muscle tension

When the anxiety is persistent and intense, the muscles are charged with tension, and it is when discomfort occurs in a specific muscle region of the body .

This discomfort usually occurs in the back, neck and shoulders.

6. Headaches

Headaches are a very characteristic symptom of anxiety, especially the so-called tension headaches. These are caused, among other things, by excessive muscle tension in the neck area.

7. Dry mouth

Sometimes, while the person is doing some activity in which he or she does not feel comfortable or is not sufficiently prepared, the glands in charge of salivation contract , causing a temporary dryness of the mouth.

8. Dizziness

These occur mainly when the anxiety is intense, at the moment when the person feels that he or she can no longer tolerate the activity that is causing the discomfort. Then dizziness appears, which may be accompanied by other physical symptoms of anxiety.

9. Frequent urination

It is nothing more than the frequent need to urinate, caused by anxiety and muscle tension . For example, high as common as waiting for the results of a test could trigger this symptom in the subject.

10. Abdominal discomfort

Discomfort in the abdominal area is a classic feature of anxious people, especially pain in this region occurs in children when they are under a lot of emotional pressure.

Anxiety in children is more common than you might think, especially because in the early stages of development it becomes difficult to explain emotions clearly. But also in adults this is one of the physical symptoms of anxiety, associated with difficulties in digesting food in this state of activation .


To combat the physical repercussions of anxiety, keep these fundamental ideas in mind.

1. Breathing techniques

Inhaling and exhaling in a controlled manner is very useful. We take the air through the nose and into our lungs, leave it there for about 15 seconds, and then let it out through the mouth gently.

2. Practice activities that encourage our concentration

Placing an object on the television while it is on and fixing our attention on that object for as long as possible, avoiding being distracted by the programming is an exercise to reinforce our level of concentration.

We can also make wordsearch puzzles, or learn to play chess. But it is important that while doing these activities we do not think that we should do them well, the idea is to focus more on the process than the result .

3. Attending therapy

In case our anxiety level does not decrease in spite of having implemented the recommended techniques, the ideal is to attend psychological therapy sessions so that the psychologist can make the necessary evaluation and intervention .

In cases where medication is required, the patient is referred to the psychiatrist who prescribes the medication and indicates the respective doses. The follow-up of the case will be done jointly, the psychologist will take care of the emotional part of the subject, while the psychiatrist will treat the clearly organic part.

Bibliographic references:

  • Testa A., Giannuzzi R., Sollazzo, F., Petrongolo, L., Bernardini, L., Daini, S. (2013). Psychiatric emergencies (part I): psychiatric disorders causing organic symptoms. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 17 Suppl 1: 55-64.
  • Thomas, B., Hardy, S., Cutting, P., eds. (1997). Mental Health Nursing: Principles and Practice. London: Mosby.