Anxiety can have an enormously detrimental impact on quality of life. While anxiety may primarily manifest as social changes, it can also have severe ramifications on physical wellbeing.
Peruse further to explore the profound impacts anxiety has on your body.
Anxiety’s effects on the body
Anxiety is a normal part of life. Perhaps you experienced it while attending a social gathering or an employee interview?
Temporarily, anxiety expands your breathing and pulse rate, drawing blood toward your brain where it needs to go. This physical reaction prepares you to deal with what is transpiring.
If it becomes overwhelming, however, you could start feeling tired and sick. Anxiety can have devastating repercussions for both physical and mental health.
Anxiety disorders can strike at any age; however, they typically first emerge between middle age and advanced adulthood. Women are twice as likely to be suffering from anxiety disorders than men according to research by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Life experiences that increase stress levels may increase your risk for an anxiety disorder, and symptoms could present themselves immediately or over time. A serious illness or substance use disorder could also play a part in leading to this form of disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD can be defined by unexplainable anxiety that often leaves sufferers confused and discomfited. According to estimates by the Anxiety and Melancholy Association of America (ADAA), this form of condition impacts around 6.8 million adults annually in America.
GAD can be diagnosed when sustained, excessive stress over multiple areas persists for at least six months or longer. With mild cases, you should be able to carry on your regular daily activities; more serious cases could disrupt life significantly.
Social Anxiety Disorder
This condition involves an overwhelming fear of social situations and of being judged or embarrassed by others, often to the extent that one can become embarrassed and appear disreputable to them. Such severe social fears may even cause one to shy away from public events altogether and avoid encounters altogether.
According to the American Psychiatric Association Association (ADAA), an estimated 15 million American adults live with social anxiety disorder; an average age at which it first manifests is 13. Over 33% of people with this diagnosis wait 10 or more years before seeking out help for it.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
PTSD typically manifests itself after witnessing or experiencing something traumatic, and symptoms may either emerge quickly or take several months to manifest. Common triggers include conflict, catastrophic events and physical assault – with episodes being set off spontaneously.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Ocd)
Individuals affected by OCD may feel trapped by an overwhelming urge to perform certain rituals again and again (impulses), or experience distressing thoughts (fixations).
Normal impulses typically include handwashing, counting or staring into space for too long. Common obsessions include worrying about neatness and forceful motivations as well as needing balance in their lives.
These range from being uncomfortable in small spaces (claustrophobia) and feeling intimidated by tall structures (acrophobia). You might feel strongly inclined to avoid anything or anyone associated with your fear.
Panic attacks are uninhibited surges of anxiety or fear that lead to sudden attacks of panic; physical symptoms include heart palpitations, chest discomfort and shortness of breath.
Panic attacks may strike at any time and could also occur alongside another form of anxiety disorder.
Central Nervous System
Chronic anxiety and panic attacks can trigger the brain to release stress chemicals regularly, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and sorrow that recur frequently.
As soon as you become stressed and restless, your brain unleashes chemicals and synthetic substances designed to assist your nervous system with responding quickly to potential danger. Adrenaline and cortisol are two examples.
Though useful during short periods of high stress, long term exposure to stress chemicals could prove more detrimental than beneficial over the longer run. For instance, chronic exposure to cortisol could contribute to weight gain.
Anxiety disorders may result in rapid heartbeats, palpitations and chest discomfort. You could also be at an increased risk for hypertension and coronary illness; if you already have coronary disease anxiety disorders may further increase this risk.
Excretory And Digestive Systems
Anxiety can also have adverse effects on the excretory and digestive systems, leading to stomachaches, queasiness, loose bowels and other digestive issues – potentially even leading to loss of hunger.
Anxiety disorders could play a part in the development of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS can cause spewing, diarrhea and abdominal distention; its symptoms range from occasional cramping and diarrhoea to continuous symptoms like spewing or even stoppage of waste products from the digestive system.
Anxiety can trigger your fight-or-flight stress response and release synthetic chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline into your system.
Temporarily, incidental stress increases your heartbeat and breathing rate to provide your brain with more oxygen, helping it react appropriately in unusual situations. Your immune system might even receive a brief boost. Once it passes, however, your body returns to its usual working patterns.
However, if your anxiety continues for too long and doesn’t abate, your body never receives the signal to return to normal functioning – this can compromise your immune system further leaving it more susceptible against viral infections and common illnesses – not only will your immunizations fail but they may not even work!
Anxiety causes rapid, shallow breathing. If you suffer from chronic obstructive aspiratory disease (COPD), anxiety-related confusions could increase your risk for hospitalization. Furthermore, stress exacerbates asthma symptoms.
Anxiety disorder can cause different symptoms, including:
- cerebral pains
- muscle pressure
- a sleeping disorder
- social disengagement
If you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), flashbacks of traumatic experiences could become frequent reminders. You may become angry or shocked, perhaps leading to isolation. Other symptoms could include bad dreams, sleep deprivation and sadness.