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How do I tell if my physiological symptoms are simply heightened anxiety, or are the symptoms of an actual underlying medical issue that should be brought to the attention of a healthcare provider?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 03/20/2018 at 2:26pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
January 15th, 2015 12:35pm
I had a discussion with a Psychologist regarding this question awhile ago. She said that when there is a medical issue underlying, you don't feel anxious? However, personally, if I were to get a severe symptom, I would def get in touch with the ambulance just to be on the safe side!
May 1st, 2015 6:33am
Even if it did turn out to be "heightened anxiety," chances are you should seek a professional's opinion (i.e. an actual doctor) if whatever you are experiencing disables you from carrying out your normal, everyday tasks.
May 9th, 2015 6:32am
This was the hardest thing for me in my life to overcome. Eventually you will realize it's anxiety. it's difficult, but it really is anxiety.
August 25th, 2015 7:11am
The only sure way to tell is to go to a health care provider. If you have safe access it is always a good idea to go to your health care provider instead of assuming your symptoms are only heightened anxiety.
March 8th, 2016 4:33am
I'm sorry to hear you're feeling more anxious than usual. Your healthcare provider should be able to access the severity of your anxiety and help you determine if your current coping strategies are sufficient.
February 16th, 2015 8:08pm
You must first evaluate your surroundings. You need to figure out if something around you has changed and triggered those emotions. If not, it could be an underlying problem. It would be best then to check with your healthcare provider
May 8th, 2015 6:47pm
Increased heart rate, persistent headache, chest pain, etc. can all be signs of heightened anxiety, but if these symptoms persist for a long period of time and do not seem to improve after the situation inducing anxiety has passed or with any techniques to help reduce anxiety, it would be wise to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Changes in sleep, eating habits (i.e. lack of appetite), and other bodily pains should also be brought to a doctor's attention if as persistently present as previously described.
September 7th, 2015 11:58pm
They could be related! Check with a doctor and/or naturopath to see if you have a medical condition and to receive advice on how to stabilise your feelings of anxiety. Talk to a therapist or an insightful friend about what might be going on in your life to cause you stress and what changes you might make to alleviate stressful situations. Try eating well, practicing mindfulness, and making sure you have time in your schedule to relax!
September 22nd, 2015 11:51pm
This is something I believe should only be answered by a medical professional, the internet can only provide so many answers. For all of us facing these challenges, while we may face many of the same symptoms with anxiety, each case is just as unique as we are as individuals. To be absolutely sure for yourself, seek care and advice from a medical professional. Also, after being fully checked by a doctor it can often ease our anxieties to be certain of our health instead of only the mild assurances you can find online.
December 1st, 2015 3:45pm
If the symptoms are not life-threatening, see what happens the next day, does it get better or worse? IF in doubt, always seek for professional help
December 29th, 2015 10:45am
There are 2 options or standards based on which the decision can be taken they are: 1)The physiological symptoms are just temporary or which does not coincide with the normal behaviour of the individual. 2)The symptoms observed are previously noted and eradicated.
January 19th, 2016 10:35pm
That is a very good question. You are in charge of your health care and what concerns you would like to bring with your medical provider. I would try to ask myself these questions: Do these symptoms bother you with your daily life functioning etc. are you concerned or worried about these symptoms and do they affect your quality of life? Even if the symptoms are bothering you a little bit, or affecting your quality of life, I would encourage to talk to your medical provider. They might be able to offer suggestions and insight to help you improve your overall health and well-being. Please do remember what you want to disclose to your doctor is completely your choice.
March 14th, 2016 12:09pm
When your symptoms start affecting your life on a daily basis so that you can no longer do things as easily as you did normally, that is when you must seek help.
October 3rd, 2016 10:46am
If you're not sure, it's better to ask. If you're experiencing doubt, get an opinion from your doctor or nurse.
February 14th, 2017 5:14pm
There are a lot of physical issues that can be brought on by anxiety. I would say look up the symptoms of anxiety to see if what you're experiencing is on there, maybe run it by a therapist if you have one, and it never hurts to mention to your doctor that you're having some new physical symptoms. If it turns out to be just anxiety, then that's one less worry for you, and your doctor may also be able to offer you medication to help manage the symptoms and/or the anxiety itself.
February 5th, 2018 9:11pm
There is no specific scale to measure that. However, if you or someone you know (someone close to you) gives you the hint/alarm that it is impacting your daily life... it is a good time to go to a spcialist. it may be nothing to worry about... but better safe than sorry =)
February 27th, 2018 2:37pm
If you yourself are questioning the difference then it is a sign that you may need to address the situation as usually heightened anxiety can be spotted and affirmed. You can however address a professional to see the range of possible diagnosis.
March 20th, 2018 6:07am
If there are ever ANY concerns that symptoms may be related to a medical issue, always contact your healthcare provider.
March 20th, 2018 2:26pm
The place to start is with talking to a family doctor to rule out any medical issues. The second step will be to consult a professional consultant.