5 Ways to Tell You Have Anxiety

By: Stuart Porter, NP


Everyone experiences fear or feels nervous from time to time, but when that fear starts to interfere with your daily life and holds you back, you might be dealing with an anxiety disorder . In this blog, we will discuss 5 common symptoms of anxiety.  

1. Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a feeling of intense fear or discomfort that usually peaks within 10 minutes and is caused either by a panic disorder or an anxiety disorder. During a panic attack, a variety of symptoms can occur, including:

  • Chest pain 
  • Chills  
  • Choking  
  • Dizziness 
  • Feeling faint 
  • Lightheadedness  
  • Nausea 
  • Numbness or tingling (pins and needles) 
  • Shaking or trembling  
  • Shortness of breath   
  • Sweating 
  • Fear of dying 
  • Fear of losing control  
  • Feeling detached from your body and your surroundings — for example, feeling like you are watching yourself 

These are the symptoms of panic attacks outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM—5) . For an attack to be considered a panic attack, at least four of the above symptoms need to occur.  

Otherwise, the attack is considered an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks do not have outlined symptoms in the DSM-5, so they can be used to describe a variety of different situations, including the inability to concentrate due to overthinking about a certain fear or for instance, sweating and shortness of breath in an uncomfortable situation. Generally, the symptoms of an anxiety attack are less intense than those of a panic attack.  

Experiencing frequent panic attacks for no reason is a symptom of panic disorder. Frequent panic attacks or anxiety attacks that are induced by certain fears or anxieties indicate an anxiety disorder. If you experience either, make an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss your symptoms and treatment options to help you manage them. 

2. Difficulty with Focus and Concentration

Another symptom of anxiety is the inability to focus. In adults, difficulty focusing could cause slower work and lower productivity. In children, this symptom could cause them to take longer on tests and homework and can lead to lower grades and underperformance.  

Although not being able to focus or sit still is commonly attributed to ADHD, these symptoms can also be a sign of anxiety, which is why it is important to speak with a psychiatrist who can evaluate all your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis.  

3. Trouble Sleeping Through the Night

Do you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep? Then you may have an anxiety disorder. Tossing and turning, waking up multiple times during the night, and other sleep disturbances are all signs of anxiety. Not getting enough sleep can also intensify other symptoms of your mental condition, so talk to your doctor right away if you are having trouble sleeping.  

4. Explosive Outbursts of Anger

Anxiety can cause irritability and anger. If you notice that you are constantly on edge, snapping at people, and even having angry outbursts, then you might be experiencing a symptom of anxiety. Feeling irritated and angry can also negatively affect your relationships, which will, in turn, affect your mental health, so it’s important to see a doctor right away if you notice a serious shift in your moods like irritability and anger.  

5. A Sense of Impending Danger or Doom

People with anxiety may at times feel a general sense of dread and doom. If you often imagine the worst outcome of a situation or you’re always worried that something bad is going to happen, then you should talk to your doctor about your treatment options for anxiety.  

If your fears and worries are out of control and causing these symptoms as well as others, like G.I. issues and stiff muscles, then you should talk to a doctor who can help you find the right treatment plan to meet your needs. It is always better to seek help early to avoid a crisis episode.

Anxiety Treatment Options

People with anxiety have a lot of treatment options available to them when they work with their doctor to find a solution.  


One of the most common treatments for anxiety is medication. Doctors often prescribe antidepressants to treat anxiety. If you experience panic attacks, your doctor may also prescribe a benzodiazepine like Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium. Some types of anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines can be habit forming, so consult your doctor to consider your options carefully. 

The anxiety medication or medications that your doctor prescribes will depend on your symptoms and medical history. Often, finding the right medication for you can take some time, but with patience, it is possible to get relief from your symptoms with the right medication type and dosage.  


Another treatment option for anxiety is professional counseling. Counselors can teach you coping skills that help you effectively deal with intrusive thoughts and panic attacks. Counselors can also help you deal with any past traumas that are causing anxiety, and develop skills to change how they affect your daily life.  

Alternative Treatments for Anxiety

Medical research on Ketamine therapy is showing promising results as a therapeutic alternative for anxiety, particularly for those who have not responded well to traditional anxiety medications. Ketamine therapy for anxiety  is administered as IV infusions and has been reported to be generally well-tolerated with the potential for fast-acting relief within hours. Consult a psychiatrist  with expertise in treating anxiety with Ketamine to find out if this is a good option for you, especially if you have tried traditional anxiety medications in the past without success.

Drug-Free Anxiety Treatment

Other drug-free treatment options like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)  are being tested as a treatment for anxiety and have been used in Europe with great success. In the United States, TMS is being used as an off-label treatment for anxiety. If you’re interested in TMS for anxiety, schedule an appointment  at Serenity Mental Health Centers to see if you are a good candidate for this type of alternative anxiety treatment.

There are many options available to help you get control of your anxiety symptoms and make positive changes for a better quality of life sooner than you think. Anxiety is one of the most common medical conditions in the world, and there is no shame in asking for help. Call us at 480-531-1890 to get started and take back your life!

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.