What does anxiety feel like?

Many people over the years have asked me what does anxiety feel like? It may be a client, support person or family member that asks that question. It is important to remember that each person’s experience with anxiety is different. It is very important to educate and explain the concept of anxiety. Why is it important to explain anxiety to a client? One reason is that sometimes, anxiety may mimic other conditions. Each year, millions of people go to the emergency room complaining of sweating, chest pounding and shortness of breathe. Once testing is complete, a large amount of people find out they were not having a heart attack and they have anxiety.

I try to include significant others and families members in treatment, when I feel it is appropriate. One of the reasons is so I can educate them to specifically how their loved one’s anxiety effect their life and relationships. I find that sometimes the support person has a limited understanding of anxiety. This may lead to minimizing the anxiety, leaving the client very frustrated and angry.

What does anxiety feel like for you? Write down your symptoms and then list an intervention for each symptom. For example, if one of your symptoms of anxiety is difficulty breathing, have an app ready on your phone to help you decrease the level of your symptoms.

Remember, the feelings associated with anxiety are devastating to the person who is experiencing them. Some common feelings people report are: restlessness, irritability, racing thoughts, nausea, insomnia and feelings of impending doom.

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