Last night was consumed with bad dreams and disturbed sleep. More than once I jumped up in bed because I saw an imaginary figure in the corner of the room. And my paranoia landed a few wild punches in my partners direction.
This morning in medical outpatients more than once I stood up to leave, seeking strength from the quiet of the toilet. I had an appointment with a neurologist, to discuss my dissociative episodes. These are not epileptic seizures caused by unusual electrical activity in the brain, but a response to thoughts and emotions, more often relating to past and present events.
Ultimately anxiety is complex, with some surprising symptoms. Below are a few possible signs of anxiety that you may never have considered.
Burning Mouth Syndrome
This is the medical term for somebody who suffers with recurrent burning in the mouth with no cause. The sensation can resemble scalding and affect all areas of your mouth and lips. Other symptoms include: stinging, tingling numbness, increased thirst, loss of taste, or a bitter metallic taste. Anxiety is just one of a number of causes for burning mouth syndrome, and it is important to seek medical advice from a dentist and doctor to determine possible causes and treatment.
Cold Hands and Feet
Anxiety can be the cause of cold hands and feet, leading to the phrase getting cold feet. The reason for this is the bodies physical response to impending danger.
- Small triangular shaped glands located on top of both kidneys secrete epinephrine (adrenaline). This dilates blood vessels to the heart, allowing it to pump more effectively. Getting a quicker supply of blood to the brain, organs and muscles prepares the body to fight or flee. However, as the heart pumps quicker, blood supply to the hands and feet is reduced causing them to feel cold.
- Sweating is how the body prevents itself from overheating. If stressed or anxious, sweating is increased in preparation to keep cool when running away or fighting.
- Anxiety increases focus on sensations within the body. For example aches, pains, cold hands and feet.
If experiencing anxiety, there are two possible reasons for excessive burping.
- An involuntary response to anxiety is to swallow larger amounts of air. The excess expels itself, up through the esophagus and out the mouth as a burp. Alternatively it will travel the entire digestive system, leaving the body at the other end.
- Acid reflux is caused by the lower esophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to escape into the esophagus, this causes a burning sensation known as heartburn. The connection between anxiety and acid reflux is complex, they feed off each other, causing a snake eating its own tail scenario. When stressed or anxious the brain increases the response of pain receptors, combined with a lower production of prostaglandins which protect the stomach lining, acid reflux symptoms will become increased.
Hyperventilating is a common symptom of anxiety. Increased erratic breathing alters the way our body takes in oxygen, and the body feels like it cannot get enough air. Yawning expands the ribcage, convincing the body it did indeed get enough air. Essentially yawning is a tool, telling the body to calm down.
Or simply a lump in your throat. It feels like something is stuck in your throat, restricting breathing and swallowing. This sensation is rarely due to a physical obstructive growth, but a psychological response to anxiety.
Symptoms of stress and anxiety are exhaustive which is why it is such a debilitating condition. Do not suffer alone. Whether experiencing a few or many symptoms of stress and anxiety, open up and talk about it, if necessary seek medical advice.
You are not alone.
It is possible to surf the wave of anxiety.