There is growing evidence of the relationship between anxiety and physical health. Being anxious is a normal response to a perceived threat – and whereas it used to be a person’s reaction to seeing a nearby tiger or bear, in today’s modern society we feel anxiety before a job interview, a date, or a special event.
However, if you are feeling anxious for no particular reason, or even because of “everything in general,” then you may have an anxiety disorder which should be addressed. The medical community stresses the importance of relaxation techniques thanks to the well-understood connection between mind and body.
How Can Anxiety Affect My Body?
Anxiety disorders not only impact your thoughts, behavior, and relationships, but they can also wreak havoc on your health. Let’s go over some of the things that anxiety can do to your body:
Classic symptoms of an anxiety disorder include a racing and pounding heart, trembling, and shaking. Your body produces stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol as a response to something that is causing you to feel stress, and your heart races as your body’s response to the perceived threat.
Studies show that those with an anxiety disorder are more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who do not have chronic anxiety. Anxiety disorders can therefore also contribute to the development of heart disease, since a rapid heart rate can increase blood pressure, which interferes with normal cardiovascular function, thereby weakening the heart muscle.
Shortness of Breath
Shallow breathing is what naturally happens to the body when we try to hide from a threat, which is why an anxiety attack can make you experience shortness of breath or to hyperventilate. Difficulty breathing is a medical condition called dyspnea, and the reason why you run out of breath is that there is an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body.
What’s happening is that the carbon dioxide levels rise in the body, and so the brain tells your lungs to breathe more – which can result in faster breaths, making you feel as if you’re running out of breath. It’s a vicious cycle, but treatment can help to quell this condition.
Anxiety can affect your gut and cause digestive problems, such as stomach pain, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. Haven’t you noticed that your stomach feels weird before a speech or a big presentation? This is because stress and anxiety can affect the contractions in your gut.
A person plagued with anxiety can find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. This is because the stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are coursing through your body as your mind is racing with thoughts. This makes it hard to calm down and relax.
Low Immune System
Stress and anxiety can weaken your immune system, which makes you susceptible to colds and other contagious illnesses. The reason for this is that your body is in an extended period of the fight-or-flight response, so the high levels of cortisol in your body eventually cause an inflammatory response.
See an Experienced Psychiatrist for Your Anxiety
Here at Psy-Visions, we provide comprehensive services for patients who have a generalized anxiety disorder. Our treatment methods can provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of anxiety that are impacting your physical health.
Dr. Mark Stracks will make sure that your anxiety does not hold you back from living an enjoyable and meaningful life. For a consultation, call Psy-Visions today at (203) 405-1745 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you live with a calmer mind and a healthier body.