Anxiety Series: Symptoms

I really haven’t done anything blog-wise recently, mainly because it’s getting to the end of three years at University! Deadlines are looming, and in the midst of all that, I’ve decided it seems a good a time as any to do a little 3-part mini-series about anxiety and everything that comes with it.
The first (this one) is going to be a basic list of symptoms for GAD and social anxiety, the second is going to go into detail about panic attacks, and the third is going to compile suggestions for anxiety-sufferers and those who want to help.

Although undiagnosed until pretty recently (the last few years) I think I’ve suffered from GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) and social anxiety for a really long time. I’ve had pretty severe symptoms and have also found that one of the worst things to try and do is explain how anxiety affects you to someone who doesn’t experience it or doesn’t understand. It’s really important, however, to spread awareness, and most of the people who are interested really just want to know what it is and how to help.

This post, for that reason, is going to list some pretty common (and some uncommon) symptoms of GAD and social anxiety. I haven’t experienced all of these (I’ll asterisk the ones that I have experience with) but I’m going to include them anyway. I’m going to expand a little bit on panic attacks as a symptom in the next post, as I think that’s one that really stumps people who have no experience of it.

It’s really important to note that most of these symptoms are pretty normal. Anxiety becomes an issue when it starts affecting your day-to-day life, changes your quality of life, mental health, etc. Always see a doctor if you have any concerns.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

  • Restlessness *
  • Sense of dread *
  • Feeling ‘on edge’ *
  • Inability to concentrate *
  • Irritability  *


  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness *
  • Heart palpitations *
  • Muscle ache
  • Shaking/Trembling *
  • Dry mouth *
  • Sweating *
  • Shortness of breath *
  • Stomach ache *
  • Nausea *
  • Headache
  • Pins and needles
  • Insomnia *
  • IBS


  • PERSISTENT worrying/anxiety that’s out of proportion to the event/situation *
  • Overthinking – worse-case scenarios *
  • Feeling threatened/scared by unthreatening situations *
  • Indecisiveness *
  • Inability to ignore/set aside worries and concerns *
  • Inability to relax *
  • Going ‘blank’. *


Social Anxiety

Social anxiety/social phobia will have a lot of really similar symptoms to GAD, as the physical and often mental reactions are the same. The focus on this is more specific – they arise from a long-lasting and often overwhelming fear of social situations. For this reason, the symptoms I’m including are more specific.

  • Dreading everyday activities (phone calls, working, meeting strangers, shopping) *
  • Avoiding social activities *
  • Worrying about social activities (social activities: meeting friends, going for meals in a group, group chats, parties, etc) *
  • Concerned about embarrassing yourself/Doing something you think will be embarrassing. (Like blushing, sweating, etc)
  • Struggle to do things when others are watching – Feeling judged. *
  • Fearing criticism *
  • Avoiding eye-contact
  • Low self-esteem *
  • Physical symptoms (as in GAD) *
  • Panic attacks *


It’s really important to note that anxiety is different in every single person. While these are really basic, generalised lists, it gives a basic overview as to what those with anxiety are suffering with, and what they may be experiencing. Some of these may offer an explanation as to why people do what they do, and why they avoid certain situations.


– Lauren


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