Anxiety can hurt both your body and your mind. It can hurt the heart, urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems, and it can make you more likely to get sick. Fewer people know about the physical effects of anxiety, but most people know about the mental effects. This article talks about the most common physical effects and symptoms of anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
People who have anxiety can feel and act in a number of different ways.
- feeling tense, nervous, or scared
- a fast heart rate a panic attack
- Hyperventilation, or breathing too fast
- problems concentrating and getting to sleep
- digestive issues
- feeling either too cold or too warm
- chest pain
- Some forms of it have more signs and symptoms. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, can also lead to:
- thoughts that won’t stop
Anxiety Effects on the body
The amygdala, a part of the brain that controls emotional responses, is a key part of how fear and stress come about. When a person feels worried, stressed, or scared, their brain tells other parts of their body what to do. These signs tell the body to get ready to fight or run away. Many people call adrenaline and cortisol “stress hormones” because they are released by the body in response to stress. It can have big effects on the body and having it for a long time makes it more likely that you’ll get a long-term illness.
Some of the things that happen to the body because of anxiety are:
Breathing and respiratory changes
When a person is anxious, they may breathe quickly and shallowly. This is called hyperventilation. Hyperventilation makes it possible for the lungs to take in more oxygen and send it around the body more quickly. Extra oxygen prepares the body to fight or run away. People who hyperventilate may feel like they aren’t getting enough oxygen, which can make them gasp for air. This can make hyperventilation and its symptoms worse. These symptoms include:
- feeling a little faint and dizzy
Cardiovascular system response
It can make the heart rate and blood flow change. A faster heart rate makes it easier to run or fight, and more blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. When blood vessels get smaller, this is called vasoconstriction, and it can affect the body’s temperature. Vasoconstriction causes people to have hot flashes a lot of the time. In response, the body sweats to cool off. This can sometimes be too effective and leave a person feeling cold. Long-term anxiety may not be good for the cardiovascular system or heart health. Some studies suggest that anxiety makes people who are otherwise healthy more likely to get heart disease.
Impaired immune function
Short-term, stress makes the immune system work better. But anxiety and stress that last for a long time can have the opposite effect. Cortisol stops substances that cause inflammation from being released, and it turns off parts of the immune system that fight infections. This makes the body’s natural immune response less effective. People with long-term anxiety disorders may be more likely to get the common cold, the flu, and other infections.
Changes in digestive function
In a “fight or flight” situation, cortisol stops the body from doing things it doesn’t need to do. Digestion is one of these blocked processes. Also, adrenaline slows the flow of blood and relaxes the muscles in the stomach. Because of this, someone with anxiety may feel sick, have diarrhea, or feel like their stomach is turning. They might also stop eating. Research from Trusted Source suggests that stress and depression are linked to irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive diseases (IBS). Studies have shown that people with IBS often have anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and stress can make you want to go to the bathroom more often or make your symptoms of urinary incontinence worse. People with a diagnosis of overactive bladder (OAB) were more likely to have anxiety than people in control groups. Researchers also found that people with OAB and anxiety usually had worse incontinence symptoms than those without anxiety.
Complications and long term effects
Having anxiety can have effects that last for a long time. When someone has anxiety, they may:
- digestive issues
- Chronic pain conditions that make it hard to go to school, work, or socialise. Loss of interest in sex.
- suicidal ideas
What is an anxiety disorder?
It is a group of disorders that make people feel worried, tense, and afraid. These anxious feelings get in the way of daily life and are out of proportion to the thing or event that set them off. Some people can’t figure out what makes them anxious and feel worried for what seems like no reason. Mild anxiety is normal in some situations, like before a big presentation or meeting. However, persistent anxiety can hurt a person’s health.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. They affect 40 million adults every year. Even though treatment works well for these disorders, only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders get help.
Causes and risk factors of anxiety
Environmental factors and genetic factors may cause anxiety disorders:
- traumatic life experiences
- Characteristics that are passed down through generations
- medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or chronic pain
- Using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, being stressed about work, money, or home life, or having other mental health problems
There are both environmental and genetic Trusted Source could help with A doctor will tell a person that they have one of several anxiety disorders.
These are some examples of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder is when you have a lot of anxiety for no clear reason that lasts for at least 6 months.
- People with social anxiety worry that people will judge them or make them look bad in public.
- This type of anxiety includes being afraid of being away from home or family.
- Phobia is a fear of a certain thing, activity, or situation.
- Hypochondriasis is a condition in which a person has a persistent fear that they have serious health problems.
- OCD: This is when you have repeated thoughts and urges that make you do things over and over again, whether they are mental or physical.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition in which a person has a lot of anxiety after a scary event.
How a person is diagnosed will depend on what kind of anxiety disorder they seem to have. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) has criteria that can help a doctor figure out what’s wrong and what kind of treatment to give.
Treatment of anxiety
It can usually be treated, and doctors usually recommend a combination of some of the following:
- Support groups for medication therapy
- Changes in lifestyle involving exercise and meditation
- Counseling, either one-on-one or in a group, may be suggested by the doctor. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way to help a person see things in a different way.
In the U.S.A it is the most common mental health problem. It can cause both physical and mental problems that can be very upsetting.
Among them are the following:
- agitation, a faster heart rate
- a problem with the digestive system, a weaker immune system, and changes in the way you breathe.
- Long-term anxiety makes you more likely to get sick physically and have other mental health problems, like depression.
On the other hand, it can be treated very well. Most people who get treatment get better and live happy, healthy lives.