Anxiety disorders are some of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in our country. However, anxiety may present itself in a number of ways, making it difficult for people living with anxiety disorders to know they’re being affected by them. When anxiety disorders go undiagnosed, anxiety isn’t properly managed, leading to a wide array of possible symptoms. This includes physical symptoms that are debilitating and even dangerous to health. Being able to identify the physical signs of anxiety can help individuals living with anxiety disorders to identify their need for help. This way, they can get the treatment they need in order to be able to manage symptoms of anxiety and live out better, healthier lives.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stressful events or situations. It allows the body to react to potential threats or dangers. However, when anxiety isn’t managed or doesn’t go away, adverse reactions occur. The body isn’t meant to be dealing with anxiety always, so physical and mental effects take place as a result.
When a person is anxious, their muscles will stiffen in order to allow them to be prepared for potential threats. However, high levels of anxiety can lead to stiffening of muscles over longer amounts of time. This can lead to a number of physical symptoms as a result including chronic headaches and migraines.
Additionally, when a person experiences anxiety, the brain releases chemicals that are important for our “fight or flight” response. However, if a person is always or frequently anxious, these chemicals are unbalanced, leading to a number of physical, debilitating symptoms including digestive issues and blood sugar level problems.
Now that you understand that anxiety can affect the body on a physical level, it’s important to identify the physical symptoms of anxiety you may be experiencing. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
-digestive issues (frequent diarrhea, stomach aches, and nausea)
-trouble breathing (heavy breathing, feeling like you can’t breathe, shortness of breath)
-excessive sweating and hot flashes
-headaches and migraines
-muscular aches and pains
-fatigue and exhaustion
As well as stimulating physical symptoms, anxiety can actually contribute to the development of physical illness too. People who deal with high levels of anxiety and anxiety disorders are at higher risks of developing physical illnesses including:
It’s believed that anxiety reduces the immune system’s response to foreign bacteria and viruses and allows for the development of inflammation. Therefore, giving the body a reduced chance of fighting off illness and keeping a person healthy. So, while anxiety may not cause physical illness, when it’s not addressed, it reduces the body’s immune response, leading to the development of these conditions.
For those living with physical signs of anxiety, there is hope for management and recovery. Psychiatric therapy and medications are proven effective in the treatment of anxiety. At Delray Center for Healing, individuals living with anxiety disorders can receive proper diagnosis and treatment in order to manage the physical signs of anxiety they deal with on a daily basis.