Anxiety is the number one mental health issue in the UAE, above depression, and substance abuse.

Being an extremely serious mental health condition in the UAE and all over the world, awareness for anxiety and mental health has been growing sharply over the last couple of years. This is because more and more people are suffering from mental health as awareness continues to grow.

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Anxiety can lead to multiple physical and mental health concerns, which is why early intervention and treatment is crucial. Although anxiety can be easily masked, it still can be identified by physical symptoms. 

Why do People Get Anxiety?

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

There are many reasons as to why one may develop anxiety, but common factors and causes are:

  • Environmental – Anxiety and mental wellbeing issues are often caused by difficult relationships, conflicts, and confrontations from work, school, financial burdens or home life. Research has also shown that low oxygen levels in high-altitude areas can contribute to anxiety.
  • Genetics – People who have a family history or relatives with mental health disorders, and anxiety, in particular, are more likely to have anxiety themselves. 
  • Medical factors – Certain medications or treatments may have side effects that can contribute to anxiety or other mental health complications. This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor before using any type of medication.
  • Brain chemistry – Environmental and genetic factors that may cause stress or trauma can alter brain structure and trigger emotions of stress and anxiety fairly quicker than usual. Psychologists and neurologists state that brain chemistry is the cause of anxiety and disruptions to hormones and electrical signals in the brain are the main causes.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

1. Stomach ache and nausea 

One of the first physical symptoms that can be felt from anxiety attacks may come from your gut. If you feel butterflies, stomach aches, abdominal cramping or even nausea, it may be anxiety or a panic attack.

2. Shortness of breath

People suffering from anxiety may noticeably find it hard to catch a breath or may all of a sudden breath very quickly and heavily. This irregular breathing pattern may be a sign of a panic attack running its course. The rapid heartbeat may also be experienced when this happens.

3. Headaches

Feeling light-headed, dizzy, confused or having severe headaches can be a symptom of overwhelming stress or anxiety. These can be experienced randomly, when you’re overly emotional or whenever you delve into feelings of stress or anxiety.

4. Weakness

Feeling weak in your body and becoming tired very easily is a common symptom of people with anxiety as well as depression. Not only do you feel less motivated to move around, but you feel physically drained without any obvious or identifiable reason. 

5. Insomnia or poor sleeping habits

People with anxiety or severe mental health issues may have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. Insomnia and poor sleeping habits, including waking up in the middle of the night or not being able to feel comfortable in bed are usually signs of anxiety. 

6. Sweating

Along with shortness of breath or heavy breathing, sweating and hot flushes often happen during anxiety or panic attacks. Cold sweats caused by anxiety are relatively obvious as they can happen suddenly and without any physical activity.

7. Muscle tension or pain

Shooting pain in your muscles and joints and sudden pains can be caused by anxiety or other mental health issues. It’s obvious that it may be the result of anxiety as these pains can occur without any physical activity, which is the usual culprit for sore or pain in muscles.

8. Trembling or shaking

Along with the above physical symptoms, trembling and shaking is one of the most obvious physical symptoms of anxiety. It is also an indicator of someone suffering from severe anxiety or panic attack. When someone reaches this stage, it may mean that its time to seek professional help. 

What to do If You or Someone You Know Has Anxiety

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

If you suspect anxiety or mental health symptoms in yourself, or in someone that you know, there are many things you can do to help it. With mental health awareness, especially on anxiety and depression becoming more prominent, there are multiple support networks you can seek out.

If it is someone you know that may have the mental health issue, be supportive and seek help immediately if their behaviour becomes erratic or even violent. If it is you that may have mental health concerns, speaking with your doctor can also help as they will be able to point you in the right direction and advise you on the best course of action you should take. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.