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Anxiety Explained – A Comprehensive Breakdown of the Disorder

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Last updated on November 29, 2019

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Do you or someone close to you suffer from Anxiety?
Ever needed Anxiety explained to you in simple laymen terms?
Look no further.
AnxietyPanda is going to break the physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms and manifestations down for you in simple terms in the hopes of reaching as many people as possible in order to make the world an easier place for anxiety sufferers to be a part of.
Acceptance comes with understanding.

So basically, Anxiety is like a never-ending worry.
You worry, fret and overthink pretty much everything – non-stop.
Your mind is always busy and sometimes your thoughts overpower you and words come out of your mouth wrong because of it.
For some, the experience is mild and for others more severe.
It’s important to understand that the manifestations are different for everyone.

Here are some of the symptoms and possible causes of anxiety.

Physical Symptoms and Manifestations – Anxiety Explained

Abdominal Problems


Do you know the feeling you sometimes get in your stomach when you feel nervous about something?
Some refer to it as “butterflies in the stomach”?
For anxiety sufferers, it is almost always a given that this will be a feeling they have to walk around with every day for pretty much the whole day.

The feeling is caused by the body’s “flight or fight” response – this is when the body decreases circulation to non-vital body processes, like digestion, in order to allow your body to be on full alert and be able to run or fight in times when you are in perceived danger or have an emergency.
This is a good thing for survival, however, when the body experiences this on a constant basis, your digestive organs may become worn out and start to malfunction.

Imagine the stress of feeling like you’re being hunted by a pack of lions or wolves EVERY DAY.
This surely can’t be good for the body or the heart.

Anxiety can also cause you to feel nauseous a lot or you may sometimes vomit from the nerves or even have diarrhea or constipation.

Muscle Tension

Because you are constantly in “fight or flight” mode, your muscles are going to be full of pent-up tension and unreleased negativity.
You may experience pain throughout the body.

Neck and back pain is not uncommon and it doesn’t subside once a perceived threat is over, oh no, it remains tense and painful until you consciously apply breathing or relaxation techniques or as a last resort, get treated with medication.
You may also experience jaw or teeth clenching.

Probably the most frightening of these tensions may be when your chest tightens up during a panic attack, which is also a symptom of anxiety.
The muscle spasms will make it feel like you’re chocking or having a heart attack, which in itself increases the feelings of fear and anxiety you are already experiencing.
It starts a terrible cycle and it’s best to learn some calming and breathing techniques for the times when you feel a panic attack coming on.


Anxiety can also show its face in the form of phobias.
Phobias are irrational fears of certain things or conditions, for example, a fear of heights, spiders, eating in front of authority or traveling long distances in confined spaces.
These are just a few of many more common phobias.
For someone not suffering from this condition, these fears may seem ridiculous but to the anxiety sufferer, the fear is very, very real.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

When you feel the need to enact some sort of ritual in order to relieve your anxious feelings, it is referred to as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly – OCD.

You might feel the need to check and recheck that your doors are locked, even though you just locked them, or you may feel the need to obsessively clean your surroundings or yourself.

The disorder can also manifest in the form of obsessive negative thought patterns – be very careful of these and address them before they become a routine part of your day.


If the muscles in your body are constantly tensed up and you’re constantly in a state of fear, headaches are inevitable.
Besides, on top of the physical manifestations, as an anxiety sufferer, you are probably also dealing with a brain that feels like exploding and is extremely exhausted due to all the thoughts that are constantly running marathons in your mind.

Heart Palpitations

Just like “butterflies in the stomach”, heart palpitations form part of the “fight or flight” response.
It’s quite scary when you don’t know what’s happening and will contribute to intensifying your feelings of anxiety.

Heart palpitations feel like your heart is fluttering or beating rapidly and irregularly.
Many anxiety symptoms are the same as that of a heart attack and it can be quite scary to experience any of it.
Please immediately call your doctor when you experience a heightened sense of panic.
Rather be safe than sorry, please.

Restlessness or Insomnia

Anxiety sufferers often struggle with sleeping routines and falling asleep.
Mostly, this is attributed to the constant racing thoughts of worry about every little thing imaginable. Your brain just doesn’t want to switch off and allow you to relax!
During the day, you may fidget a lot or be unable to sit still for long periods of time.

Psychological Symptoms and Manifestations – Anxiety Explained


This is a tendency often exhibited by people suffering from Anxiety and sometimes lead on to Agoraphobia.
You will avoid any possible situation that you feel might cause you angst and fear, even if irrational.
This can lead to a rather isolated and/or lonely life.
It is not uncommon for an anxiety sufferer to always decline party invitations or avoid phone calls or other forms of attempted communication from others.

Working Too Hard

In order to try to compensate for their anxiety, people with this condition often work way too hard as the fear of underperformance or being judged for being lazy, incompetent or stupid is so very strong inside of them.
This could lead to exhaustion and burn-out much quicker for them than for others.
It is recommended that anxiety sufferers try to take a mental break from work on a regular basis.

Irritability or Over-Emotional

Everything is intensified when you experience anxiety, and the same goes for your emotional reactions. Being frequently irritated or having explosions of anger or crying is quite normal for the anxiety sufferer.
They usually experience intense guilt after such an outburst which only adds to the anxiety of being judged by others.

Reassurance Seeking

Anxiety can sometimes make you feel unworthy or incompetent and you might feel the constant need to seek reassurance and approval from others, especially from your significant other, your manager and your closest friends.


One of the hardest things is that an anxiety sufferer will often think that they are not good enough or capable of doing big and important things.
They may doubt their ability to cope with perceived negative situations or threats or they may doubt their ability to lead and complete a job successfully.
This type of thinking ultimately induce failure which will only validate their thoughts and will snowball into a black hole of insecurity and self-doubt.

Causes of Anxiety


There is a possibility of developing anxiety due to genetics and evidence suggests that it can be inherited.
Your upbringing and other environmental factors will also contribute greatly to triggering this genetic inheritance.

Traumatic Events

For anyone, suffering a traumatic event is, well, traumatic.
Some are able to deal with it and move on, however, sometimes there are people whose brains just can’t seem to move on from the event.
Replaying the event in their minds over and over again and ultimately creating patterns of anxious thoughts which then also lead to other physical symptoms as mentioned in this article.
A traumatic event can be anything from being in a car crash to being sexually abused or having your life threatened in any way, there are so many examples.

Brain Chemicals

Probably the most common cause of this condition, people who suffer from anxiety often have abnormal levels of neurotransmitters in their brain meaning that their brains struggle to transmit information on a cellular level.

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  1. Andrea Andrea

    I am someone who is fighting with anxiety and all of this is true. It took me personally some time to connect my workaholic tendencies to my anxiety so I can try to work with it. Hear palpitations are an everyday problem most of us in anxious situations.
    Thank you for this high-quality article full of information
    Best regards

    • AnxietyPanda AnxietyPanda

      Great to hear from you, Andy! Remember – anxiety is usually just a thought about something that you have no proof of happening – it’s not really real, so don’t give it the power 😉 

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