We recently discussed several effective ways of coping with stress (caused by known forces and pressures in life) and anxiety (source unknown) throughout the pandemic.

It is important also to know that stress and anxiety can manifest in a number of surprising ways.

While the hallmarks are relatively common – heart palpitations, headaches, restlessness – there exist a slew of symptoms easily triggered by stress that often have sufferers wondering if they have some different disease or disorder. And that uncertainty? That’s right. It just causes more stress and anxiety.

Once you realize the way you have been feeling is likely stress-related, you can address the source of the problem, which should ultimately relieve the symptoms.

Here are just five lesser known signs of anxiety.

  1. Nausea: Anxiety triggers a person’s flight-or-fight response. When the body believes you should be working overtime to escape a situation, it is not tending to your digestive needs, and that can ultimately lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and more. If your stomach issues do not pass in a matter of days, and instead persist – stress and anxiety may be the culprit.
  2. Cold feet (and hands): The groom who goes AWOL at his own wedding is said to have “cold feet.” The saying is so fitting – even if it doesn’t originate here – because believe it or not, anxiety can cause these extremities to suffer from a deep freeze even if you are in a warm room. And flight-or-fight is to blame, once again. The brain redirects blood flow away from your limbs to your vital organs so you can get the heck out of there (wherever “there” may be).
  3. Fatigue: Feeling exhausted after a good night’s sleep does not necessarily mean you are narcoleptic. Constant worry and waiting for that other shoe to fall can simply wear a person out.
  4. Indecisiveness and confusion: People suffering from consistent stress can often struggle to make what others perceive as simple decisions. Believing that making the wrong choice could potentially derail one’s life causes a number of people to either seize up or avoid the situation altogether. Additionally, brain fog can also be a sign of anxiety, as a lack or break in focus can be attributed to a mind that is constantly on the move, pondering decisions already made, or worrying about an imaginary fallout in the future.
  5. A short fuse: For many individuals with anxiety, minor frustrations and small inconveniences can – for lack of a better term – be the proverbial straw that obliterates the camel. Situations beyond an anxiety-sufferer’s control become almost too much to bear, and the people that are within earshot often take the blame and the brunt of an angry outburst.

Of course, other symptoms abound. And given the events of the last several months, and the ongoing efforts to return to a sense of normal in the midst of a pandemic, it is possible that many of these mystery symptoms may be coming to a head for those who suffer from stress and anxiety.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have been feeling “off” recently, though there seem to be no immediate causes, don’t suffer in silence. Call Quality First Urgent Care at 301-421-1214 or  one of our physicians who can help you rule out other causes and help you find relief.