What are the Physical Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
There are several different categories of physical GAD symptoms, including those that affect the muscles or digestive system.
Muscle Aches and Pains: People with GAD are very likely to experience muscular tension, or aches and pains, in various parts of the body. Most often, the shoulders, back, and neck are affected. This is the result of tension than causes the person to contract his or her muscles. Sometimes, clenching the jaw unconsciously, or grinding the teeth, might be another symptom.
Digestive System: Chronic anxiety and tension can also affect the digestive system. Diarrhea and constipation are common symptoms; most people will tend towards one or the other, but some might experience sporadic episodes of both conditions. Stomach pain and nausea are other common digestive symptoms related to GAD.
Nervous System: Not surprisingly, GAD can cause symptoms relating to the nervous system. People with GAD are sometimes jumpy and twitchy, and might over-react to stimuli such as loud noises. They are often restless and might feel on-edge much of the time. (These are a sort of physical counterpart to psychological symptoms such as irritability and the inability to concentrate.)
Fatigue and Sleep Disturbances: Feeling fatigued much of the time, or getting tired easily, are other features that are common to many people with GAD. Sleep disturbances are also common. These might take the form of an inability to get to sleep, or a tendency to wake up very early. Some people might have difficultly staying asleep, while others might tend to sleep for longer than is usual, and might have trouble waking up in the mornings.