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Uncommon Anxiety Symptoms: What You Might Be Experiencing Without Realizing It

Updated: May 1

Boundaries for Relationships | Los Angeles Therapist Elevate Mental Health in Ventura County California

Do you ever find yourself experiencing physical sensations or emotions that seem inexplicable or out of the ordinary? You might be surprised to learn that these could be symptoms of anxiety, even if they don't fit the stereotypical image of anxiety attacks. As mental health professionals, we recognize that anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, and understanding these uncommon symptoms is crucial for recognizing and addressing anxiety effectively.

Here are some uncommon anxiety symptoms you might be experiencing without realizing it:

1. Digestive Issues

Have you ever noticed that your stomach feels uneasy or queasy during stressful situations?

Anxiety can often manifest as gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. These physical sensations are the result of the body's stress response, which can disrupt digestion and cause discomfort (Ballou et al., 2019).

2. Muscle Tension and Pain

Do you frequently experience muscle tension, stiffness, or pain, especially in your neck, shoulders, or back?

Anxiety can cause the body to tense up as a protective response to perceived threats. Chronic muscle tension can lead to headaches, jaw pain (TMJ), and overall physical discomfort (Huang et al., 2021).

3. Memory and Concentration Problems

Are you finding it difficult to concentrate or remember things lately?

Anxiety can impair cognitive function, making it harder to focus, retain information, or make decisions. This "brain fog" can be frustrating and impact daily functioning, leading to feelings of inadequacy or incompetence (Shields et al., 2016).

4. Skin Conditions

Have you noticed changes in your skin, such as increased sensitivity, rashes, or flare-ups of existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis?

Stress and anxiety can trigger inflammatory responses in the body, exacerbating skin conditions and affecting overall skin health (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2019).

5. Sleep Disturbances

Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night?

Anxiety can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia, restless sleep, or frequent awakenings throughout the night. Poor sleep quality can worsen anxiety symptoms and contribute to a vicious cycle of stress and sleeplessness (Alvaro et al., 2013).

If you recognize any of these uncommon anxiety symptoms in yourself, know that you're not alone, and help is available. Therapy can provide professional guidance and support in your healing journey, helping you understand the root causes of your symptoms and develop effective coping strategies to manage anxiety.

A licensed therapist can work with you to identify triggers for anxiety, explore underlying emotions and thought patterns, and teach you practical skills for relaxation, stress management, and emotional regulation. Therapy offers a safe and nonjudgmental space where you can express your concerns, learn new coping techniques, and gain insights into your mental and emotional well-being.

Don't let anxiety symptoms go unnoticed or untreated. Reach out to a mental health professional today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.


- Ballou, S., et al. (2019). Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: examining the role of subclinical inflammation, gender, and negative affect. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 26(2), 195-203.

- Huang, W. L., et al. (2021). Muscle tension and sleep quality in anxiety patients: A preliminary observational study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 621897.

- Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., et al. (2019). Stress-induced inflammation and skin aging: the role of inflammatory skin diseases. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 81(1), 237-244.

- Shields, G. S., et al. (2016). The effects of acute stress on attentional biases to threat and negative information in women at risk for eating disorders. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 40(4), 510-522.

- Alvaro, P. K., et al. (2013). Sleep patterns and predictors of disturbed sleep in a large population of college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(2), 116-122.

If you're in the Los Angeles, Ventura County, Santa Barbara or surrounding areas, we would be happy to get you connected with one of our licensed therapists. If you are outside of California then consider searching "therapist near me" to guide you to an experienced therapist experience in trauma work.

Your Team at Elevate Mental Health


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