Can Anxiety Symptoms Change?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated May 13, 2021

Can anxiety symptoms change?

Complete Question

Can Anxiety Symptoms Change? For instance, can you have the same symptoms for months, and then all of a sudden, you get new ones?


Yes, it is common for anxiety symptoms to change from one symptom or set of symptoms to another symptom or set of symptoms.

Anxious behavior activates the stress response. The stress response causes many body-wide changes that give the body an emergency “boost” when danger is perceived.

The stress response reaction is often called the fight or flight response and is a vital part of the body’s survival mechanism.

Visit our “Stress Response” article for more information about the many changes caused by the stress response.

Because of the many body-wide changes, stress responses stress the body. A body that’s under stress can exhibit symptoms of stress.

Therefore, anxiety symptoms are symptoms of stress. They are called anxiety symptoms because anxious behavior is the main source of the stress that stresses the body, which produces symptoms.

Furthermore, chronic activation of the stress response can cause the body to become chronically stressed, which we call stress-response hyperstimulated since stress hormones are stimulants. Chronic stress can cause chronic symptoms – symptoms that persist even though you might not feel anxious or stressed at that moment.

Visit our “Stress-Response Hyperstimulation” article for more information about how it can affect the body.

Hyperstimulation can cause the body to exhibit a wide range of symptoms that can change and shift over time.

While some people might not experience a change in symptoms, many do. It is a common anxiety disorder phenomenon.

Since anxiety symptoms, whether acute or chronic, are symptoms of stress, we don’t have to fear them or when they change. Symptoms are the body’s way of letting us know it needs attention.

We can reverse all of this by working on our anxious behaviors, reducing stress, and giving the body time to recover. As it recovers, it stops sending symptoms, including those that change.

If you are having difficulty with anxiety or hyperstimulation and its symptoms, I recommend connecting with one of our recommended therapists to help you gain the skills required to overcome anxiety disorder and its symptoms. Working with an experienced therapist is the most effective way to overcome issues with anxiety.

For more detailed information about why anxiety symptoms can change, Recovery Support members can read the article “Changing Symptoms” in the Recovery Support area.

The Recovery Support area also includes a great deal of information about anxiety disorder, hyperstimulation, their symptoms, and how to recover. If you are having difficulty overcoming anxiety disorder or its symptoms, this information could be very helpful to you.

Good self-help information and reassurance can also be an important part of recovery.

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 Frequent Questions archive. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Can Anxiety Symptoms Change?