Pacific Neuro Center | Anxiety
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There are common symptoms of anxiety that people experience in terms of feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and physical sensations. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that anxiety is a highly subjective experience. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, nor will each person experience the same intensity of a symptom. Still, it is helpful to provide some examples of the common physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms of anxiety.

Physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • A feeling of restlessness
  • Shortness of breath, or a feeling of choking
  • Sweaty palms
  • A racing heart
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Muscle tension, trembling, feeling shaky
  • Nausea and/or diarrhea
  • “Butterflies” in the stomach
  • Dizziness, or feeling faint
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Numbness, or tingling sensations
  • An exaggerated startle response
  • Sleep disturbance and fatigue


Behavioral symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Avoidance behaviors such as avoiding anxiety-producing situations (e.g., avoiding social situations) or places (e.g., using the stairs instead of an elevator).
  • Escaping from an anxiety-producing situation (like a crowded lecture hall).
  • Engaging in unhealthy, risky, or self-destructive behaviors (such as excessive drinking or drug use to deal with the anxiety).
  • Feeling compelled to limit the amount and scope of one’s daily activities to reduce the overall level of anxiety (e.g., remaining in the safety of one’s home).
  • Becoming overly attached to a safety object or person (e.g., refusing to go out, away from home, to school, or to work in order to avoid separation).