Do you find yourself constantly worrying about the future, feeling restless or on edge, and experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches? If so, you might be dealing with anxiety.
But did you know that this common mental health condition can also have a significant impact on your overall well being?
From sleep disturbances to heart disease, anxiety can affect various aspects of your health in ways that you might not even realize. Read on to learn more about how anxiety affects your body and mind— and what you can do to manage it effectively.
Definition Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are characterized by a general feeling of unease, worry or fear that is chronic and debilitating. These feelings may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations, trembling, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness.
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating and can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- And generalized anxiety disorder
The main point is that anxiety disorders differ from run of the mill anxiety (which we all experience at some time or another) because they are:
Chronic, meaning they persist for a long time and recur often and debilitating, meaning they severely impact the person’s ability to live and do normal things.
The Different Types Of Anxiety
There are different types of anxiety, each with its own symptoms and effects on the body.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by chronic, excessive worry and tension. People with GAD often have a hard time controlling their worry and may feel anxious about anything and everything. GAD can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.
Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort that comes on suddenly and peaks within minutes.
Panic attacks can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Panic disorder can also lead to avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding places where previous panic attacks have occurred.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by extreme self-consciousness and fear of social situations. People with SAD often avoid social situations altogether or endure them with great discomfort. SAD can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, and trembling.
Specific phobias are intense fears of specific objects or situations (e.g., flying, heights). People with specific phobias will go to great lengths to avoid the object or situation of their fear. Specific phobias can cause physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and sweating.
The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety can have a range of physical as well as psychological symptoms.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Increased sweating
- Trembling or shaking
- Muscle tension or aches
Psychological symptoms may include:
- Feelings of panic, fear, or uneasiness
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
How Does Anxiety Affect Your Physical Health?
The physical effects of anxiety are numerous and can have a significant impact on your physical health. When you feel anxious, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which causes a surge of adrenaline and cortisol.
This can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach upset, and headache.
Over time, these stress hormones can take a toll on our bodies, leading to long-term health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and chronic pain. Additionally, anxiety can worsen existing medical conditions by making them more difficult to manage.
For example, if you have asthma, anxiety can trigger an asthma attack. If you have heart disease, anxiety can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. And if you have digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety can make them worse.
In the long term, anxiety can take a toll on your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and illnesses. And it can contribute to chronic conditions like insomnia, which can further disrupt your sleep and worsen the physical effects of anxiety.
Additionally, anxiety can have a profound impact on mental health. For one, anxiety can lead to increased levels of stress and worry, which can take a toll on mental health over time. Anxiety can also cause or worsen existing mental health conditions, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
In some cases, anxiety can even lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you are struggling with anxiety, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With treatment, you can reduce your symptoms and live a healthier, happier life.
Treatment For Anxiety
There are many effective treatments for anxiety, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), medication, and lifestyle changes.
CBT is a type of therapy that helps people identify and change negative thinking patterns that contribute to anxiety. CBT can be done with a therapist in person or online. It can also be done as an inpatient or outpatient basis at a facility like ours.
Medication can be an effective treatment for anxiety, especially when used in combination with CBT or other therapies. Commonly prescribed medications for anxiety include SSRIs, SNRIs, beta blockers, and benzodiazepines.
Lifestyle changes such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and getting enough sleep can also help reduce anxiety.
Don’t Take Chances With Your Health: Get Help For Anxiety Disorders Today
Anxiety can have a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing. While it’s important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional about how to manage anxiety, there are also many lifestyle changes you can make that may help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
These include getting enough rest, eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, taking time for yourself each day and talking with friends and family members about what you’re experiencing.
Taking steps towards managing your stress levels is essential in order to maintain optimal physical and mental health. If you need some more help, please call us at 800-300-5770.