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11 Unusual Anxiety Symptoms You Might Not Know About

  • timeline Deepanwita Roy
  • 4 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Most of us are aware of common anxiety symptoms such as excessive sweating, palpitations, and breathing difficulties. And they are definitely very common signs and symptoms of anxiety that can easily be identified by the person experiencing it or even by the people around the person experiencing this. But anxiety can manifest in a number of ways, other than direct physical symptoms that might not instantly link to any anxiety disorder. It is really helpful to be aware of these symptoms so that you can recognize signs of anxiety in yourself and others, and seek/encourage others to seek, help and support. 

Hence, the following is a list of symptoms that are experienced by individuals which aren’t uncommon as a symptom but have connections with anxiety. 

(1) Stomach aches and Indigestion: If you are experiencing stomach aches with no apparent medical cause, they could actually be a sign of anxiety. This is because anxiety triggers the fight or flight response that interrupts proper digestion. This results in temporary or even chronic indigestion, nausea, stomach aches, burping, passing gas, heartburn, and diarrhea. 

Anxiety Symptoms - Stomach indigestion

(2) Phantom sensations such as,
– Phantom ringing: Tinnitus, a medical condition where there is a ringing in the ears, can be a sign of stress or anxiety and can be experienced in several ways. One might hear buzzing, ringing, humming, whizzing, chirping, roaring, swooshing, or any number of other sounds. ‍
– Phantom smell: Phantosmia, which is an olfactory hallucination, sometimes occurs with anxiety. One might smell something that isn’t there or, rather, a neutral smell becomes unpleasant.
– Phantom vibrations: Have you ever felt your phone vibrate, only to discover it didn’t, did you know that it could be caused by attachment anxiety? 

Anxiety Symptoms - Tinnitus

(3) Burning sensation/ physical numbness/ tingling sensation: These unusual anxiety symptoms can be felt on your skin, lips, tongue, and even in your eyes, where it feels like a sunburn despite no sunburn being present. A prickling sensation, sudden unidentified numbness, or tingling sensation in your hands, feet, arms, legs, or face can also be associated with anxiety. 

(4) Excessive yawning: During anxiety attacks, hyperventilation is a common response leading your body to feel it isn’t getting enough oxygen. As a result, you might experience frequent yawning.‍

Anxiety Symptoms - excessive yawning

(5) Globus hystericus: With this anxiety symptom, it feels like a lump in your throat, or you might have difficulty swallowing. Some people also feel a tightness in their throat.‍

(6) Eye problems: Blurred vision, dilated pupils, watery eyes, and shapes that float in front of the eyes can all be a result of anxiety. ‍

(7) Skin rashes: Stress can cause hives, itching, and rashes. If you already have rosacea or psoriasis, it can be aggravated by anxiety and stress.‍

(8) Cold hands and feet: As mentioned before, stress and anxiety can trigger your body’s fight or flight responses. When this happens, this decreases your blood circulation. As a result, your hands and feet may feel icy cold, even when there is no reason they should be. If you frequently have cold hands and feet, this can be a sign of anxiety. 

Anxiety Symptoms - cold hands and feet

(9) Bruxism: The clenching and grinding of teeth are called bruxism. Often when you are anxious, constant clenching and grinding of teeth can lead to morning headaches, toothaches, and a sore jaw. 

Anxiety Symptoms - Bruxism

(10) Cleaning spree/ perfectionism: Oftentimes it has been noticed that some people spend hours cleaning the house, reorganizing things at home when they are under a lot of stress. Perfectionism can be both a cause and a symptom of anxiety, it’s a vicious cycle! While it’s normal to strive for a certain level of perfection, or at least being conscientious, many people with anxiety feel like every aspect of their lives have to be perfect. This can lead to the desire to redo things over and over, or spend an unnecessary amount of time on a project to get it just right. 

Anxiety Symptoms

(11) Being Indecisive: Similarly, struggling to make decisions or believing that one small decision can drastically change things are signs of anxiety. People who are indecisive often feel overwhelmed by the choices and may even procrastinate on picking one or the other for fear of choosing the wrong one. 

Social anxiety symptoms or physical symptoms of anxiety can be a challenge to cope with. Severe anxiety symptoms can be dauting and even affect every day life. Knowing the signs of an anxiety attack – common and uncommon ones – is important because it can help you understand what you may be going through. It is also important to note that, if  you are experiencing any such symptoms, it is always advisable to stay away from self-diagnosis and self-medication. Both can do more harm than not. There will never be a replacement for medication or psychotherapy. In case of any concerns, it is always advisable to reach out to a mental health professional at the earliest. 

Watch this video by psychiatrist Dr. N Chandrashekhar to understand the difference between stress and anxiety.


  • timeline
  • Written by

    Deepanwita Roy

Registered Clinical Psychologist

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