What to Look For

In this section, you can learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms associated with anxiety. The symptoms listed are ones that emerge early on and there may be other symptoms that emerge later.

Click on the boxes in the image below to learn more about the symptoms of anxiety.

Behaviours: Have some very rigid routines or repetitive rituals that you feel driven to do (items must be arranged in a precise order; keep checking if door is locked, etc.). Limit your activities to avoid an object or situation that you fear.
Feelings: Feel intense fear or terror without warning and for no cause. Get angry easily; even little things irritate you. Have intense and ongoing fear of an object or situation (heights, spiders, small spaces, etc.).
Physical Signs: Get tired easily. Have nightmares. Have problems sleeping. Feel restless. Are tense much of the time or startle easily. Feel dizzy, trembling, heart pounding, short of breath and light-headed for no reason. Feel 'exhausted' and 'drained'.
Thoughts: Constantly worry about everyday events. Have distressing thoughts that keep returning and cannot be stopped. Find it very hard to concentrate - thoughts keep running through your head. Have intense flashbacks of past traumatic experiences. Always imagine something bad is going to happen.

Symptoms can range in

  • intensity from mild to severe
  • how long they’ve been going on
  • how much they interfere in daily life

Not everyone experiences the same set of symptoms or to the same level. A person may be diagnosed with a mental health disorder when symptoms persist, are very distressing and interfere in a person’s life.

Being able to spot these symptoms and taking action can prevent problems from getting worse.

Concerned About a Friend?

Often friends notice changes that may signal an emerging mental health challenge. For information on how to support a friend, visit Supporting your friend through tough times.