Lesser-Known Important Signs of Anxiety

Lesser-Known Signs of Anxiety

Do you have an anxiety disorder? A general feeling of nervousness, panic, or doom coupled with a high heart rate and rapid breathing are often anxiety red flags.

But these are not the only possible symptoms.
Take a look at these lesser-known, but equally as important, signs of anxiety.

Difficulty Concentrating

While difficulty concentrating does not always equal an anxiety disorder, it is a subtle sign some people can miss.

You may notice this symptom in different ways and at different times. Anxiety can turn your thoughts from whatever you were doing to concern, worry, or almost anything else (other than what you should concentrate on). Difficulty concentrating (as a symptom of anxiety) may include:

Problems at school.

Do you not pay attention during a lecture? Do you struggle to complete assignments, read for long periods, or write a paper? Anxiety can make it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork. This can lead to missed assignments, failed assignments, or complete class failures.

Problems at work.

Like school, anxiety may interfere with your ability to concentrate at school. Constant worrying, increased stress, and fatigue from a heightened state of anxiety can make it difficult to focus your attention on daily tasks, meetings, or other job-related activities.

Problems in relationships.

Lack of concentration does not only affect your school or work life. It (and anxiety) can also impact your personal relationships. You may not focus on a loved one, drift off during dates, or lack the ability to concentrate during conversations.
Even though anxiety can lead to concentration problems, it is not the only possible cause. If you do not have other symptoms of an anxiety disorder, you may need to explore other medical or mental health issues. Some health-related conditions, medications, and mental health disorders (such as depression) can also cause this common problem.

Sleep Problems

Do you lie awake at night worrying about your day, have trouble falling asleep, or wake up often?

Like lack of concentration, sleep problems can have several possible medical or mental health causes – including anxiety. Before you treat sleep disruptions or insomnia, consult a medical provider and mental health professional.

The Need to Control Everything

People with anxiety or panic disorders may feel out of control. This feeling can lead them to overcompensate in other areas.

Anxiety can also create a seemingly endless loop of obsessive thoughts. This can add to the need for excessive control. Anxiety may increase the need to control:

The people around you.

These people could include family, friends, romantic partners, or co-workers. You could get stuck in a cycle of micromanaging everyday tasks or obsessing over other people’s actions to ease some of your own anxiety.

Anything that makes you feel anxious.

This can lead to over-planning or increased stress. Whether you feel anxious about an upcoming vacation, social event, or school exam, anxiety could push you into hyper-focusing (and hyper-controlling) each detail.


The loss of control is an uncomfortable (and scary) feeling. If you can’t control your anxiety or thoughts, you may try to over-control other areas of your life. This can lead to an additional mental health issue, such as an eating disorder.
While over-controlling everything and everyone around you may temporarily ease some of your anxiety, it is not an answer to this problem. Some controlling behaviors can lead to other issues that you will also need to address. If you feel out of control or are over-controlling, a therapist can help you to learn more about anxiety and find the right type of treatment.

Are you ready to get help for an anxiety disorder?

Contact the Anxiety Institute for more information.

About the Author

Daniel Villiers, PhD


Dr. Dan brings over ten years of experience working with children, adolescents, young adults and families in a range of clinical and educational settings.

“My personal knowledge and experience of anxiety and fear, as a victim and as a conqueror, has gifted me the valuable asset of emotional intelligence. Knowledge and experience that will give me the empathy to connect with others and the grit to overcome adversity.”

Dr. Daniel Villiers

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