Why Do My Anxiety Symptoms Feel Different Than Other Descriptions?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated May 2, 2022

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Video Transcript

Why do my anxiety symptoms feel different than other people’s descriptions of them? Because my symptoms feel different, does that mean they might be caused by a medical problem rather than anxiety?

There are many reasons why your anxiety symptoms can feel and sound different than someone else’s anxiety symptoms. For instance:

  • Each body is somewhat physically and chemically unique.
  • Stress can affect each body uniquely.
  • Each of our system of beliefs is different. So, the way we interpret information, interpret bodily sensations, and relate to the world is unique.
  • A great many anxiety symptoms are sensory (relating to sensation and the sense organs), so we describe them based on our opinion of them and how we believe they feel rather than on established medical descriptions. Therefore, our interpretation and description of anxiety symptoms are subjective.

Because of the many variables from person to person, stress symptoms can present in unique ways, which we can interpret and describe in unique ways.

For example, one person might have a skin sensation and describe it as a “crawling” sensation, whereas another person might have the same sensation but describe it as a “prickly” or “wavy under the skin” feeling.

Just because it is described differently doesn’t mean it’s a different symptom or caused by a medical problem. It’s just that the subjective interpretation and description of how that symptom “feels” have varied.

Moreover, one person might get a diverse range of symptoms that occur randomly throughout the entire body, while another might have only a few symptoms in one part of the body. All variations and manifestations of symptoms are common.

Therefore, just because your symptoms present themselves uniquely or “feel” different from what someone else has described doesn’t mean you have a different condition. It means you are experiencing your symptoms and describing them uniquely, thusly different than someone else.

We see this a lot when people describe their symptoms. Nevertheless, while the descriptions might be somewhat different, they are generally the same symptoms and are caused by the same reasons: acute and chronic stress.

That said, since some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms, it’s wise to discuss all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms with your doctor.

If your doctor attributes your symptoms to stress, including anxiety-caused stress, you can feel confident there isn’t a medical or medication cause.

Faithfully practicing your recovery strategies, including identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors of your anxiety, can reduce and eliminate anxiety symptoms.

All anxiety symptoms subside when acute or chronic stress is eliminated.

Keep in mind that you will most likely have to identify and successfully address your underlying factors so that your body CAN eliminate its unhealthy level of stress since unidentified and unaddressed underlying factors are one of the most common causes of persistent symptoms.

Doing the right work will give the body what it needs to recover and become anxiety symptom-free.

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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.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including this Frequently Asked Anxiety Question.