5 Embarrassing Symptoms of Anxiety

Symptoms of Anxiety

Living with anxiety can be tough. It’s bad enough with the frightening thoughts swirling in your head, the endless worrying, and the panic you feel for seemingly no reason. It’s even worse that anxiety disorders also come with a host of symptoms that are not only uncomfortable but also can make you feel embarassed. If you’re among the 40 million people in the U.S. who typically have some form of anxiety each year, you can probably relate.

Whether you have a generalized anxiety disorder, a phobia, panic disorder, or social anxiety—among other diagnoses—you may struggle with symptoms that are noticeable to others. This occurs because your body is reacting to the worrisome thoughts running consciously or unconsciously through your mind. And at times, these outward signs can be hard to control, especially since anxiousness can be unpredictable and crop up suddenly. When these outward anxiety symptoms manifest in the presence of others, they can make you feel worse.

When embarrassing anxiety symptoms manifest in the presence of others, they can make you feel worse. Click To Tweet

5 Uncomfortable Yet Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Know that if you’ve ever experienced any of the following bothersome issues, you are definitely not alone!

1. Sweating

While it’s normal to sweat as the temperature goes up, when you’re exercising, or even giving a presentation, people with anxiety can break into a serious sweat when they get triggered. You can thank your stress response system for this. When it is activated, your heart rate goes up which raises your body temperature, and sweating is nature’s way to help cool you down. Nonetheless, it can be very uncomfortable for your face, head, or armpits to show obvious signs of profuse sweating for no apparent reason—especially while everyone else looks cool and collected. The self-consciousness you may experience when this happens can make your anxiety feel even worse.

2. Shaking and Trembling

The brain is wired for survival and responds immediately and unconsciously to any perceived danger. However, since people with anxiety are more predisposed to having fearful thoughts, they tend to have an elevated sensitivity to perceived threats (even if they aren’t real). The brain, however, responds to real and imagined threats the same way. When the fight-or-flight mode kicks in, stress hormones speed up your heart rate and respiration, while preparing your muscles to respond. This leads to varying degrees of uncontrollable shaking or trembling, which often can affect your hands, voice, legs, or your whole body—and even cause your teeth to chatter.

3. Gastrointestinal Distress

Your fight-or-flight system is also responsible for anxiety-related nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and other G.I distress. When it is activated, some of the neurotransmitters and hormones released get into your digestive tract and disrupt the balance of micro-organisms that live in your microbiome. This can lead to the sudden onset of G.I. symptoms. In turn, this can elevate your fear about having to get to a bathroom quickly, especially when you’re out in public or with friends, which of course can make you worry even more or cause you to repeatedly make up excuses for staying home.

4. Stuttering

While stuttering is a different disorder than anxiety, it isn’t unusual for someone who’s really anxious to stutter when talking. This can be caused by difficulty slowing down and organizing your thoughts or overthinking them which basically makes you trip over your words as you try to express yourself. Interestingly, a 2014 study in the Journal of Fluency Disorders has found that many people who stutter also have social anxiety disorder.

5. Raggedy nails

It’s not uncommon for someone who struggles with anxiety to bite their nails. The act of chewing on your nails can relieve stress—it’s a habit that usually starts in childhood or adolescence. However, those who continue to bite their nails and fingers when nervous can cause damage to the tissues of their fingers and nails which can be hard to hide and is another source of embarrassment. Also, chronically biting your nails can progress to a more severe condition called onychophagia which goes beyond nervous nail chewing to a category of disorders known as body-focused repetitive behaviors that are related to obsessive compulsive disorder.

Many of the patients who have come to Amen Clinics to get help for their anxiety, undergo a SPECT scan as part of their evaluation. They often learn that one of the biological underpinnings for their anxiety is overactivity in the basal ganglia, which is a part of the brain that is involved in setting the body’s idle. Armed with this important information, the doctors can develop comprehensive treatment plans to reduce anxiety, so these patients can get be free from their symptoms, including those unpredictable ones that can make you feel even worse about yourself.

Anxiety disorders and other mental health problems can’t wait. and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I found this article very informative!

    Comment by Teresak Williams — June 7, 2021 @ 3:09 AM

  2. Anxiety with money affects everyone in your life. Taking one step at a time to heal yourself is well worth the energy.

    Comment by Jan Litterst — June 7, 2021 @ 3:24 AM

  3. While I understand the premise of this article, I take offense to the verbiage of ’embarrassing’, as that can be misconstrued as a form of shaming. As someone who has GAD and PTSD, we do not need another thing to make us feel worse about the anxiety we feel. Our anxiety needs to be accepted in order for us to begin to heal, and if we feel embarrassed by it’s physical effects on our body, then that is a road block to full acceptance.

    Comment by Anxiety Girl — June 7, 2021 @ 4:28 AM

  4. My daughter was eating her nails, I thought was normal for her age and after some time she would stop doing that, but not, she was dealing with anxiety that almost cause her life, I’m sad I didn’t act faster before she got worse to the point that she is hospitalized at the hospital, with covid-19 restrictions I can’t even see her…

    Comment by Mary — June 7, 2021 @ 4:35 AM

  5. Do you have a London clinic?

    Comment by Anne Chung — June 7, 2021 @ 5:27 AM

  6. …and might I add runny nose? I finally figured this out after years of runny nose situations in the most awkward moments. So so many! :-/
    I’ve also come to learn that most of my anxiety symptoms are also related to gut dysbiosis, so there’s that. But the great news (I think it’s great news) is, I can work on my gut health and in turn address the anxiety that has been a constant companion for many years.
    Thank you, Dr. Amen for all the work you do and share.

    Comment by lorrie — June 7, 2021 @ 6:34 AM

  7. I would like specific suggestions tor supplements for gas.

    Comment by Ev LAFOLLETTE — June 7, 2021 @ 7:18 AM

  8. #3 was my anxiety all my life because of intestinal problems.

    Comment by Monique — June 7, 2021 @ 8:51 AM

  9. Hello Anne. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations (all in the US): https://amenclinics.com/locations/. If you’re unable to travel to one of our locations, our Care Coordinators may be able to assist you with resources or referrals closer to you. For more information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 7, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

  10. Do you take Flex benefits for payment?

    Comment by JJ BAAH — June 7, 2021 @ 1:22 PM

  11. In 1986 , at 38 yrs. old in MN, while in therapy – individual and group- I began to have negative and sometimes embarassing thoughts about other people around me. Because no one recognized this as a symptom of anxiety, I had this symptom off and on for about 10 years when I was finally diagnosed and given an antidepressant with anti-anxiety properties which stopped the thoughts immediately. When I was 55 I learned I had ADD. at about 60 I learned I had ADHD and also that in 1986 I was in perimenopause and thus losing progesterone ( helps women cope and stay calm), as well as estrogen. I went into menopause at 41 and went on prem-pro. I am now 73 and take a natural antidepressant and progesterone. I wish women were told more about how their body functions. I learned this from my sister, 8 years younger ,after she went into menopause and went on HRT in California.
    As a therapist I make a pont of telling clients about progesterone.

    Comment by Susan E Boyer — June 7, 2021 @ 4:30 PM

  12. SouthAfrica needs one of your clinics here

    Comment by Angie Muil — June 7, 2021 @ 10:19 PM

  13. What about dry mouth leading to bad breath? Yup. That, too. I end up with digestive issues. If I take probiotics, it helps a lot. I do the excess sweating, too.

    Comment by Patty — June 8, 2021 @ 2:49 AM

  14. Hello, we’d be happy to contact you directly with information regarding insurance, reimbursement and financing options.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 8, 2021 @ 1:34 PM

  15. I have had anxiety all my life ,and when younger could deal with it alot better.Several occurances in my life have made it worse, the sweating is the worst since I have had chemo my haIr is very thin It looks like I literally stepped out of a downfall of rain. Anxiety controls my life and especially now since I have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I don’t intend thou to let the anxiety increase as I fight this current battle.

    Comment by Liz — June 8, 2021 @ 4:17 PM

  16. I suspect that bed wetting might be an embarassment for children.

    Comment by GLENN GOODLOVE — June 9, 2021 @ 9:07 AM

  17. My chest and neck get red and splotchy and People ask me if I’m ok. I always have to lie because I obviously can’t say it’s because of my anxiety talking to them.

    Comment by Ella — June 9, 2021 @ 12:20 PM

  18. Liz, I pray and know, that you sound like you already have victory – grab it, girl! My friend went thru same, plus she struggled with anxiety before her breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, and treatment at 43. She took meds and improved, plus she deepened her identity in, and relationship with Christ Now, nothing gives her anxiety! She says, in a way, it’s been a great thing that happened to her bc she conquered, not just her anxiety, but handling life in general (not saying cancer is a great thing, just how she grew through it).
    Am also interested to know what Susan is taking for natural anti-depressants.
    Thanks and grace to all who shared comments – you help make us all better together.

    Comment by Helene — June 9, 2021 @ 1:33 PM

  19. I don’t think it’s a good idea to label, or frame, reactions to stress as ’embarrassing.’ As someone mentioned, it is like telling people this is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

    This also reads like more hard selling by the clinic. People must get help for this embarrassing condition and shameful situation. We live in a society of constant fear mongering and shaming to get people to do or buy something.

    Comment by j — June 9, 2021 @ 2:45 PM

  20. I suffer from anxiety for many years. I do not take any drugs for it. I lost 42 lbs because of anxiety and stress 4 years ago.
    I get difficulty catching my breath at times everyday and I usually only sleep 2 – 3 hrs a night.

    Comment by Annette Leyland — June 13, 2021 @ 12:59 PM

  21. Hello Annette, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our 9 clinics. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 14, 2021 @ 2:05 PM

  22. How about biting the inside of your cheeks and tongue? Have you heard of this as an anxiety “thing”? I have done this for years. My husband will comment “you’re gonna chew a hole through your cheek”. Sometimes I’m not even aware I do this. Started as a child/teen.

    Comment by SherryS — June 14, 2021 @ 11:27 PM

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