7 Atypical Symptoms of Anxiety
If you’ve suffered from chronic anxiety for any certain length of time, you know by now the myriad ways in which it can rear its ugly head.
If you’re uncertain of whether or not you suffer from anxiety or have only recently been diagnosed, below you will find some atypical symptoms, which you may have experienced without knowing their cause.
A few years ago, shortly after my father passed away, my anxiety was at an all time high. Aside from my usual shakiness, tight chest, and constant feeling of impending doom, I began noticing how certain smells were affecting me in usual ways, as if my sense of smell had been dramatically heightened somehow.
My girlfriend at the time kept insisting this new sense of smell was all in my head (which it was, but I knew it was more than that).
It was getting to the point where certain everyday smells I once found normal had become absolutely repugnant, especially concerning my food and water. I would often feel sick to my stomach from these odors.
I couldn’t drink anything out of glass cups any longer; the scent from the dishwasher that lingered on the glass began smelling utterly foul. In my mind it was the smell of worms, like after it rains and all the worms come out of the ground, or petrichor as it’s also known (though it was anything but pleasant).
Additionally, I found myself unable to eat with certain utensils or dinnerware if they didn’t smell right to me.
I began smelling all of my dinnerware, silverware, and cups before eating or drinking anything out of them; if they “smelled weird” it would make me extremely nauseous, often times killing my appetite entirely.
I’ve developed OCD, I thought.
I knew I was suffering from worsening anxiety and depression as I grieved the loss of my father, but now I had surely developed OCD on top of it all.
Much to my surprise, as I dug a little deeper, I stumbled upon some unusual symptoms of anxiety that I’d never heard about before: one of them being heightened sense of smell/phantom smell, aka phantosmia (read more below).
After consulting with my doctor, it became clear that my anxiety was spinning out of control— more so than I had even realized. Together, my doctor and I decided the best course of action was for me to go back on anti-anxiety medication. A few weeks after doing so, my phantosmia lessened greatly. The experience caused me to wonder, however, what other symptoms of anxiety I was possibly experiencing that perhaps I hadn’t realized were, in fact, manifestations of my anxiety.
Here’s a List of 7 Unusual Symptoms of Anxiety to Look Out For:
Phantosmia- An olfactory hallucination that can be caused by anxiety or stress. It can cause neutral smells to be perceived as unpleasant.
Indigestion- Excessive burping, passing gas, frequent bowel movements or diarrhea can all be signs that your anxiety is in overdrive.
Globus Pharyngeus– The feeling of a lump in the throat, restriction of the throat, or difficulty swallowing. (For me, personally, it occurs sometimes when I’m eating. I begin to feel as if I can’t swallow properly and I will end up choking on my food)
Cold Extremities- Decreased circulation caused by anxiety and stress can lead to cold hands and feet. My hands get cold quite often, seemingly for no reason, but I never realized it was because of my anxiety. It’s become a good indicator for me now as to when I’m feeling overly anxious and/or stressed.
Excessive Yawning- If you’re on the verge of an anxiety attack, your breathing can change as the tightness in your chest and the fear of impending doom set upon you. This change in breathing is known as hyperventilation, and can lead to yawning when your body feels it’s not getting enough oxygen.
Hearing Issues- Ringing, buzzing, humming, plugging, temporary loss of hearing, or increased sensitivity to sound can all be symptoms of stress and anxiety. I personally experience ringing and increased sensitivity to sound when my anxiety is heightened.
Forgetfulness- During anxiety attacks or periods of increased anxiety, it is not uncommon to find yourself drawing a total blank: forgetting why you walked into a room, losing your train of thought, not being able to come up with the word you’re searching for, etc.
**Please consult your physician if you believe you are suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, or any other mental health issue with which you feel you may need medical assistance.**
For more information on non-medical ways to cope with your anxiety or depression, head over the Mental Health tab above.
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