The Physical Effects Of Anxiety

The Physical Effects Of Anxiety

When anxiety rears its head, we are often left mentally incapacitated, with feelings of worry stopping us. But those who suffer from anxiety know the terror also comes in the form of physical ailments. Given that more than 3 million people are diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder, it is important to know, not just the psychological and cognitive effects, but also the physical effects that come with the disorder.

The different types of anxiety all have general symptoms which keep your mind racing. Symptoms such as trouble sleeping and nervousness work against your physical self by causing body aches and pain. In this article, we will go over some of the physical ailments that you might experience if you suffer from anxiety.

Minor Physical Discomfort

Woman in pain sitting in bedIt is hard to say that this physical pain would be minor, but most of the following ailments that will be discussed in this section are common physical problems.

If we start from the top, people who suffer from anxiety often deal with headaches. These could range from minor headaches, which are easily treated by medicine, to debilitating migraines.

Dizziness and vertigo are often reported as symptoms. Vertigo is associated with vestibular system dysfunction, located in the inner ear, and anxiety is often a trigger for these feelings.

By moving down the head, dry mouth, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath are symptoms of anxiety. Dry mouth occurs when anxiety causes the body to produce less saliva, which leads to less saliva and often bad taste.  Shortness of breath and rapid breathing go together as those suffering from anxiety tend to lack deeper breathing, which leads to a higher pull of oxygen without the removal of CO2. In other words, you trick your body into thinking you need oxygen, when in fact you actually have too much.

Muscle aches, muscle tension, and body fatigue are minor to major physical pain symptoms of fatigue. Sometimes they last for moments, while other times they seemingly last endlessly. The symptoms also affect every part of the body and may move over the course of time. Anxiety causes this since the body releasing stress hormones, which causes muscle fibers to contract or stiffen up. Also, newer research see, that anxiety can negatively affect the ability to regulate pain, causing these symptoms.

Sometimes muscle aches and tension could lead to other physical symptoms. There are chances that you might experience cramping, spasms, or trembling. Anxiety may cause these physical reactions due to a number of factors. If there is a large release of adrenaline in your system from anxiety, you may start to shake. Anxiety may cause you to dehydrate or eat improperly which may lead to cramping.

These are some of the minor physical symptoms that may occur from anxiety but there are larger ailments that may occur.

Serious Physical Issues Caused by Anxiety

These are some of the greater physical effects that anxiety may cause.

There are points when the anxiety becomes so strong that your entire immune system becomes suppressed. Since the stress in your body is adding up, it takes a genuine toll of how your body could function. Cortisol, which is released during anxiety, weakens antibodies in order to reduce inflammation in your body activated by your fight-or-flight response. This causes a person to be more susceptible to germs and bacteria.

It is well documented that your brain and your gut have a link and that emotions affect your gut. So why would victims of anxiety be any different? The digestive system has many components and when anxiety hits, a lot of those components can be altered such as having an overwhelmed nervous system, changes in neurotransmitters, adrenaline release (as noted before), and an increase of stomach acids.

These are two of the more devastating physical effects that one with anxiety can encounter. Partnered with many of the minor physical effects, it is easy to see how much of a toll anxiety takes on the human body.

If you are a victim of anxiety and stress related illnesses, look into talking to a licensed therapist to see which treatment would be right for you. Often times, it is as simple as needed a companion animal around.