Anxiety Signs & Symptoms

Rolling Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with anxiety build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Ada, near Oklahoma City, Rolling Hills Hospital is the premier provider of mental health & addiction treatment for adolescents, adults & seniors.

Understanding Anxiety

Learn about anxiety

When a child, adolescent, adult, or senior adult struggles with pervasive feelings of apprehension, worry, and/or fear, an anxiety disorder is the likely cause. Mental health conditions that can hinder functioning and cause insurmountable destruction to a person’s life, anxiety disorders can involve intrusive thoughts that can be emotionally crippling. Examples of such disorders that can include these emotional disturbances are generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.

Should an individual present with symptoms of anxiety without seeking care, there are a number of effects that can occur and cause damage to a person’s mental and physical health. However, what is important to know is that there are viable treatment options in existence that can alleviate the distressing symptoms of these disorders and allow sufferers to resume their lives without the debilitating obstacles that come with ongoing anxiety.


Anxiety statistics

Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that affect people of all ages. In fact, research has found that almost two million children and adolescents and forty million adults struggle with symptoms of anxiety disorders. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has reported that anxiety disorders are also among the most common mental illness diagnosed in people worldwide.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for anxiety

There are a number of variables that can influence the onset of an anxiety disorder. Experts in the field of mental health agree that these variables include a person’s genetics, physiological composition, and environmental contributors, as well as other risk factors. Below are explanations for the causes and risk factors for anxiety disorders, which include these widely-accepted variables:

Genetic: Research has found that anxiety disorders are prevalent among people who share similar genes. Because of this finding, it had been concluded that anxiety disorders can, in fact, be inherited through genes.

Physical: Individuals with a genetic predisposition for anxiety or those who are exposed to anxiety-provoking circumstances or environments can ultimately have altered brain chemistry that can lead to an anxiety disorder diagnosis. Altered brain chemistry, specifically the imbalance of emotion-regulating chemicals, can cause a person to respond inappropriately to stimuli. Additionally, because of these chemical imbalances, these individuals may find it difficult to effectively cope in situations that are stressful.

Environmental: For some people, environmental influences can trigger the onset of anxiety symptoms. Especially for those who lack sufficient support and appropriate skills for coping, exposure to trauma, abuse, neglect, violence, and chaos can make a person exceedingly anxious and develop an anxiety disorder. Additionally, exposure to chronic stress can heighten a person’s startle response and lead to the manifestation of anxiety symptoms.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of anxiety or other mental illnesses
  • Inefficient coping mechanisms
  • Poor strong support system
  • Abrupt life changes
  • Exposure to chronic stress, violence, or trauma
  • Low socioeconomic status  

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

The signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder can differ depending on a number of variables. The type of disorder present, the severity of symptoms occurring, and the age of the individual who is suffering from anxiety can affect how symptoms present. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from an anxiety disorder, consider the presence of the following symptoms as indicators that an anxiety disorder is present:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Repetitive or ritualistic behaviors
  • Avoidance of people, places, or situations
  • Cyclical thinking
  • Procrastination

Physical symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Frequent urination as a result of ongoing nervousness
  • High blood pressure
  • Labored breathing
  • Tension in muscles
  • Stomachaches
  • Profuse sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizzy feeling
  • Headaches
  • Appetite changes

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Ritualistic thinking
  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Fleeting ideas
  • Racing thoughts
  • Compulsions
  • Hindered memory

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Derealization
  • Feeling detached from surroundings
  • Unpredictable mood
  • Ongoing nervousness
  • Feelings of guilt

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

Should a person struggle with anxiety symptoms over a long period of time without seeking treatment, it is likely that a number of devastating consequences will take place. The following effects are known to occur if the symptoms of an anxiety disorder persist:

  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Academic failure
  • Inability to maintain work performance
  • Loss of employment
  • Decline in quality and quantity of interpersonal relationships
  • Divorce
  • Substance use / abuse / addiction / dependence
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Attempts at suicide

Co-occurring Disorders

Anxiety and co-occurring disorders

Ongoing anxiety can ultimately lead to the development of another mental illness. Because the symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be brought on by another mental health condition or trigger the onset of a mental illness or illnesses, it is not uncommon for the following disorders to be diagnosed and occur alongside an anxiety disorder:

  • Other anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Specific phobias
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia

So thankful to have made some great friends at Rolling Hills who could understand what I was going through.

– Former Patient