by Kimberly Blaker
Imagine, out of the blue you feel your brain spin 180 degrees at lightning speed as if fueled by an electrical current. This bizarre feeling isn’t lightheadedness, dizziness, or anything you’ve ever experienced. You panic and wonder, ‘Am I going crazy?’ Or worse, ‘Am I going to die?’ You try to brush it off when suddenly, it happens again.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five Americans will experience an anxiety disorder in a given year. There are over 100 possible symptoms, many of which you’d never expect to be caused by anxiety. For that reason, when they occur, they often exacerbate anxiety because of the worry the symptoms cause.
The following are some of the more bizarre symptoms of anxiety, though most are not uncommon. If you experience symptoms that persist, seek medical attention to rule out a medical cause since all the symptoms of anxiety can also be associated with various medical conditions.
Anxiety can cause temporary or even chronic indigestion. Burping, passing gas, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be symptoms of anxiety.
Tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears, can be a sign of stress or anxiety and can be experienced in several ways. According to anxietycentre.com, you may hear buzzing, ringing, humming, whizzing, chirping, roaring, swooshing, or any number of other sounds.
This unusual anxiety symptom can be felt on your skin, lips, tongue, and even in your eyes. It can feel like a sunburn despite no sunburn being present, a prickling sensation, or even shooting sparks.
“There are over 100 possible symptoms, many of which you’d never expect to be caused by anxiety.”
Skipped heartbeats, palpitations, or a racing heart can all be symptoms of anxiety. What’s so troublesome is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between heart irregularities caused by anxiety versus a heart attack. When in doubt, seek medical treatment right away.
Numbness or Tingling
These feelings can occur in your hands, feet, arms, legs, or face. It can also be felt as physical weakness.
During anxiety attacks, hyperventilation is a common response leading your body to feel it isn’t getting enough oxygen. As a result, you might experience frequent yawning.
Phantosmia, which is an olfactory hallucination, sometimes occurs with anxiety. It can cause you to smell something that isn’t there, or rather, a neutral smell becomes unpleasant.
Most often, this bizarre sensation is caused by antidepressants or withdrawal from them. However, sometimes it’s associated with anxiety. Brain shivers can range from mild to severe and feel different from person-to-person, though they usually last only a brief time. “Brain shivers or zaps,” explains anxietycentre.com, “can feel like an electrical jolt or a shaking, vibration or tremor in the brain.”
If you’ve ever felt your phone vibrate, only to discover it didn’t, it could be caused by attachment anxiety. This is a very real phenomenon, according to a study reported by the University of Michigan in 2016.
Numerous types of tremors can be caused by anxiety. In addition to shaking or trembling, other typical forms, according to calmclinic.com, include arm or leg spasms, cramping, or longer or slower shaking than usual.
This is a feeling of not being in reality. Anxietybc.com says this can be experienced in several ways. You may feel disconnected from the world and people around you, sort of like being in a dream state. Your perception of space, time, and the size of things may be distorted. Everything might feel foggy or fuzzy or that you’re very ill or going crazy.
With this anxiety symptom, it feels like a lump in your throat, or you might have difficulty swallowing. Some people also feel a tightness in their throat.
“During periods of high stress, get plenty of rest. This will help keep anxiety under control and result in fewer or less severe symptoms.”
Blurred vision, dilated pupils, watery eyes, and shapes that float in front of the eyes can all be a result of anxiety.
Stress can cause hives, itching, and rashes. If you already have rosacea or psoriasis, it can be aggravated by anxiety and stress.
These can be experienced in several areas of your body including your face, abdomen, arms, and chest during episodes of anxiety.
Freezing Hands and Feet
Stress and anxiety can decrease your circulation. As a result, your hands and feet may feel icy.
Depending on whether you have an actual anxiety disorder or the severity of the symptoms, an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication may be the solution. But there are other things you can do as well to reduce anxiety and alleviate symptoms.
During periods of high stress, get plenty of rest. This will help keep anxiety under control and result in fewer or less severe symptoms.
Also, practice slow breathing. Alice Boyes Ph.D. in her article, “Breathing Techniques for Anxiety,” says the key is to focus only on breathing out. While concentrating on slowly, steadily, and gently breathing out, allow the tension to flow out of your body and relaxation to flow in.
Mindfulness meditation is another useful technique for reducing anxiety according to a growing body of research. You can start by meditating for just a few minutes each day and gradually increase it to longer periods.
Get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy, hardcore workout. Even a 10-minute brisk walk can provide several hours of anxiety relief according to psychologists, says the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Finally, if your doctor has told you your symptoms are anxiety related, remind yourself of this when symptoms strike. Try not to worry about the symptoms, which only serves to exacerbate anxiety and cause the symptoms to persist.