A Few Anxiety Symptoms Or Many

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated April 19, 2022

Is My Anxiety Different Because I Have So Many Symptoms?

Is My Anxiety Different Because I Have So Many Symptoms?

 

Complete Question:

I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time. I have a lot of the symptoms you list at your website. Many of my friends have anxiety, too, but they only have one or two symptoms. Is my anxiety different because I have so many symptoms, or do some people just get some symptoms whereas others get many? In other words, is it common for anxiety sufferers to get many symptoms or just one or two?

---------- Advertisement - Article Continues Below ----------


---------- Advertisement Ends ----------

Answer

Anxious behavior, such as worry, activates the stress response, causing many body-wide changes that prepare the body for emergency action – to either fight or flee.[1][2]

Visit our “Stress Response” article for more information about the stress response’s many physiological, psychological, and emotional changes.

Since stress responses push the body beyond its internal balance (homeostasis), stress responses stress the body. As such, anxiety stresses the body.

Consequently, anxiety symptoms are symptoms of stress. They are called anxiety symptoms because anxious behavior is the main source of stress that stresses the body, and a body under stress can exhibit symptoms of stress.

Since each body is somewhat physically and chemically unique, it can react to stress in unique ways.

For example, some people get only one or two anxiety symptoms, while others get many or all the symptoms we mention in the Anxiety Symptoms section of our website.

Again, your symptoms will depend on how your body reacts to stress.

Moreover, the level of stress can also make a difference. Acute mild stress can produce only a few mild symptoms, whereas chronic higher degrees of stress, such as hyperstimulation (chronic stress), can produce many symptoms.[3][4]

As the severity of stress increases, the type, number, severity, duration, and frequency of anxiety symptoms can increase.

The more anxious you are, the greater the likelihood your symptoms will increase.

The uniqueness of how each body reacts to stress and the severity of anxiety-caused stress can play a role in the number of symptoms you get.

As for your second question, it’s more common to get many anxiety symptoms than to have just one or two.

For example, in an online poll we conducted of those who experienced anxiety disorder:

  • 1.2 percent had no anxiety symptoms
  • 1.7 percent had only one anxiety symptom
  • 12 percent had only a few anxiety symptoms
  • 85.1 percent had many or all anxiety symptoms

As you can see, most people with anxiety disorder have many anxiety symptoms. The results of this poll echo those of our personal and professional experiences helping people overcome anxiety disorder.

Also, there is a big difference between people who are only anxious from time to time and those who have anxiety disorder.

While being anxious from time to time could produce only a few anxiety symptoms, anxiety disorder most often produces many symptoms.

---------- Advertisement - Article Continues Below ----------


---------- Advertisement Ends ----------

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequently Asked Questions page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the frequent question: Is My Anxiety Different Because I Have So Many Symptoms?

References

1. Berczi, Istvan. “Walter Cannon's ‘Fight or Flight Response’ - ‘Acute Stress Response.’” Walter Cannon's "Fight or Flight Response"  - "Acute Stress Response", 2017.

2. Godoy, Livea, et al. "A Comprehensive Overview on Stress Neurobiology: Basic Concepts and Clinical Implications." Frontiers In Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, July 2018.

3. Yaribeygi, Habib, et al. “The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review.” EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 2017.

4. Teixeira, Renata Roland, et al. “Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015.