Physical Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety

People often experience a general state of worry because anxiety is a natural reaction to life’s problems. It helps to cope with a difficult situation in the office, to study carefully for a test and to stay focused on making an important decision. But, when an anxiety interferes with daily activities and a person’s relationship and work, it is considered a disabling disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be categorized into five broad specific types.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is excessive and unrealistic worry and tension about nonspecific life events, goals, and situations.

2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors.

3. Panic attacks are characterized by repeated and unexpected attacks of intense fear.

4. Social anxiety disorder is the fear of social situations. People with social phobia are afraid of being observed and judged by others.

5. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after exposure to a traumatic event involving the threat of injury or death.


Symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include:

Heart palpitations, muscle tension, difficulty falling or staying asleep, being easily frightened, irritability, tremors, knots in the stomach, nausea, diarrhea, headache, back pain, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, hands and/or cold or sweaty feet, shortness of breath, fatigue.


Anxiety can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

Medications do not cure anxiety disorders, but they can control them while the person is receiving psychotherapy. Several types of medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers are used to treat anxiety disorder.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are two effective treatments for anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people change the thought patterns that are causing their anxiety.


In some cases, this anxiety is short-lived or the cause is identified and can be eliminated or avoided. There are several exercises and actions that are recommended to deal with this type of anxiety:

Exercise – Exercise is a natural stress reliever and anxiety reliever.

Talk to someone who supports you.

Relaxation techniques – relaxation can reduce anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.

Learn how to replace “negative self-talk” with “coping self-talk”.

Learn to manage the stress in your life.

Have a healthy diet. Avoid fatty, sugary and processed foods. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins in your diet.

Make sleep a priority. Do what you can to make sure you get enough quality sleep.

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