Symptoms can be roughly divided into two categories: 1) personal behavior/thought patterns that lead to increased anxiety, and 2) the physical, mental, and emotional sensations that result from those increases. Obviously, the first is more of a "cause" than a "symptom", but since anxiety symptoms often leads to increases in the very behaviors/thoughts causing them, the line between cause and symptom can become quite blurry.
On the homepage, I already mentioned some of the most common anxiety and panic attack symptoms...
Here are some others that you might be experiencing:
Do you sometimes feel like you or your environment are unreal? Or that there is a disconnect between the two? This dreamlike sensation can be rather disturbing, especially if you interpret it to be the onset of serious mental illness. However, it is MUCH more likely that what you're experiencing is the common anxiety sensation of unreality, often referred to as depersonalization or derealization.
HOW IT HAPPENS
In most cases, sensations of depersonalization result from the introversion that anxiety and panic disorder cultivates. Anxious people tend to become so preoccupied with worrisome thoughts, body sensations, and adverse emotions, that their awareness becomes increasingly directed within themselves, rather than on the outside world. And this inner focus increases as inner turmoil grows. With time, you may become so consumed by your inner mental/emotional world that the outer world begins to take on an air of unreality.
When this sensation of unreality is encountered, a typical anxious response is to become fearful that you're going crazy or losing your mind. And unfortunately, that increased anxiety just fuels the introversion causing the sensation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
First, know that there is a vast difference between the simple sensation of unreality, and true insanity. When you encounter this sensation, remind yourself that it's a common anxiety symptom that will disappear once you resolve your anxiety issues (see homepage).
If using my self therapy for panic attacks, simply apply the method to these sensations of unreality to quickly dissolve them.
Forget the dictionary definition of agoraphobia ("fear of open spaces"). Agoraphobia, in a more practical sense, is really fear of your anxiety symptoms and sensations themselves. When living with anxiety and panic attacks for an extended period, as you start to associate more activities with uncomfortable anxiety sensations, the number of places or people in your life that feel comfortable will logically become more limited. This results in avoidance of many places and activities because of the uncomfortable feelings associated with them.
For example, do you avoid interacting with people or attending events because of your nervousness? Dread work or school because of the symptoms you experience there? These are, in a broad sense, types of agoraphobia. Now you don't have to label yourself an "agoraphobic". This is one of the most common phobias there is, and anyone who tries to avoid discomfort, which is probably everyone, could be said to have a bit of agoraphobia. But if you've sought out a website like this one, you've probably reached a point where your body sensations are so uncomfortable or frightening, that your whole day is filled with activities that you either avoid, or would like to avoid and feel uneasy performing. Since there are so many tasks and interactions that cause discomfort, anxious people have a tendency to eventually start avoiding more and more everyday activities, and some sufferers may have a hard time even leaving their homes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you continue to be driven by anxiety, the natural tendency will be to try to avoid or eliminate as many of the situations that inspire anxiety for you as possible. But sooner or later more will come along to take their place, and you'll eventually find your life confined to a very limited number of safe places and safe people.
If these symptoms sound familiar, realize that agoraphobia is simply a fear of the body sensations that you experience while away from your "safety zones". Learning to transform those body sensations is the key to moving beyond agoraphobia. And that is exactly what my self therapy technique aims to help you do.
Anxiety and panic attack sufferers, with their tendency to imagine the worst case scenario, can easily become hypochondriacal with just about any unusual body sensations, even anxiety sensations themselves. There's a tendency to start believing that such feelings may be indicators of serious medical conditions. For example, the rapid heartbeat may be interpreted as the onset of a heart attack; dizziness as a sign of stroke or brain tumor; and so on. Such fear of seemingly catastrophic health issues often leads to an increased awareness of body sensations, or even self-generation of symptoms. So for a person who has anxiety and a tendency to imagine the worst, it's usually no problem to find physical symptoms supporting their medical concerns.
Hypochondria is, in fact, nothing more than imagining the possibility of some terrible health condition, and fearing it. And you fear it because you don't think that you'd be able to handle it.
Of course, it's impossible for any person to fully understand what another is going through, but in many ways the hardest part about any illness, real or imagined, is the mental and emotional one. However, whether you're really ill or just worried about the possibility, keeping a healthy state of mind makes sense. So try using my anxiety and panic self help method with your current body sensations - it will do wonders for getting your anxiety and panic attacks under control. And even if you are in fact sick, it's hard to imagine anything more likely to stimulate your body's immune system, and promote healing, than this practice. The human body has been evolving for millions of years, and when allowed to function freely, without the interference of mental or emotional stress, the body's ability to self-heal is tremendous.
Of course, if you really think that you're developing a health issue, by all means see a doctor and get a physical exam - sometimes that's the quickest way to ease a worried mind. But in the meantime, working with the Self Therapy technique will free up your body's own self-healing forces, and free you up to continue living in the present moment.
Yes, it's a long list... This is a start:
"acidic stomach", "argumentative thoughts", "arm pain", "avoid going outside", "avoid interacting with people", "back pain", "body tension", "butterflies in stomach", "chest pain", "chest tightness", "chills", "cold feet", "cold hands", "compulsions", "confusion", "constant fatigue", "desire to escape", "diarrhea", "difficulty breathing", "difficulty concentrating", "difficulty relaxing", "difficulty sleeping", "difficulty walking", "disturbing thoughts", "dizziness", "dreaminess", "dry mouth", "easily startled", "easily tired", "emotional withdrawal", "excessive sweating", "fatigue", "fear of dying", "fear of public speaking", "fear of going crazy", "feeling alone", "feeling cold / clammy", "feeling nervous", "feeling on edge", "feeling out of control", "feeling insecure", "feeling self-conscious", "feeling shaky", "feeling apprehensive", "feelings of depersonalization / derealization", "feelings of doom", "feelings of dread", "feelings of embarrassment", "feelings of unreality", "frequent indigestion", "frequent thoughts of danger", "frequent worrying", "general fearfulness", "grinding teeth", "headaches", "heart palpitations", "heart pounding", "heartburn", "hot flashes", "impatience", "increased awareness of heart beat", "insomnia / sleeplessness", "intense fear", "introversion", "irregular heart beat", "irritability", "irritable bowel syndrome", "irritation with others", "isolation", "jaw pain", "jumpiness", "leg pain", "lightheadedness", "loss of humor", "low self-esteem", "lower back pain", "memory problems", "migraine headaches", "mitral valve prolapse", "mood swings", "moodiness", "muscle aches", "muscle soreness", "muscle tension", "nausea", "neck pain", "nervousness", "numbness in hands", "obsessions", "obsessive thoughts", "overly analytical", "overreactions", "overwhelming worry", "panic", "paranoia", "rapid heart beat", "restlessness", "rigid body movement", "rubbery legs", "shakiness", "shortness of breath", "shoulder pain", "shyness", "skin problems / acne", "sleep disturbance", "sleep too much", "social avoidance", "stomach cramps", "stomach problems", "stress sensations", "sweaty palms", "tense feelings", "tension headaches", "tingling in fingers", "tingling in hands", "tingling in toes", "trembling", "trouble falling asleep", "trouble staying asleep", "trouble thinking clearly", "uneasiness", "upset stomach", "various phobias", "wheezing", "worries about death", "worries about illness", "worries about the future"
While all of the symptoms listed on this website can be fully attributed to anxiety and panic disorder, the same symptoms could also be caused by other illnesses. Therefore, it's a good idea to get a physical examination from a medical professional to confirm that your symptoms are not indicative of a more serious condition.
Knowing that what you're feeling is a normal result of anxiety/panic can also be a great relief. It's for this reason that many anxiety books and programs spend an enormous amount of time talking about symptoms. A lot of comfort can be gained in knowing that what you're experiencing is not unusual. Therefore, if you think that you'd benefit from additional confirmation about your particular symptoms, you might want to perform additional research, or consult with your doctor. You may have some of the symptoms listed here, most of them, or perhaps others that aren't listed. There are many more, and you could literally fill hundreds of pages with a discussion of all the ways in which anxiety manifests in various sensations and behaviors.
However, it's not really necessary to figure out all the mind-body connections before working on anxiety. So even if you do take additional steps to satisfy your concerns, also start moving forward with the self therapy. The stress that you're adding to the symptoms you're worried about is probably not doing anything to help them anyway - more likely it's just exacerbating the condition. You may find that as you start learning how to cope with anxiety, whatever the symptom is that's bothering you might just disappear.
Also, while it's helpful to confirm that your symptoms are being caused by your mental stress, without managing that anxiety itself you'll eventually probably just find other sensations to worry about.