Thursday, May 16, 2024

What Anxiety Does To The Body

Don't Miss

Communicating And Making The Paradigm Shift: What Follows

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

David Schechter, MD 30 minutes

Learn why the patients paradigm and narrative are crucial. Also, techniques in the art of listening to and changing the patients perspective on their condition. This is perhaps the most crucial step in the whole process.


  • Definitions and understanding of patient paradigm and narrative

  • How can the clinician guide the patient toward a new perspective and approach

  • Treatment For Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety

    Treatment for anxiety depends on what symptoms you have and how severe they are.

    Therapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety. If you experience physical symptoms, talk therapy or medication that improves your anxiety often leads to improvement of these symptoms.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common and effective therapy options for anxiety.

    You may find that therapy on its own is helpful. But if your symptoms dont improve, anxiety medication is an option you can discuss with a psychiatrist.

    You can also take action on your own to address anxiety symptoms.

    How Do Anxiety And Depression Differ In The Brain

    The symptoms of anxiety and depression overlap in many waysboth conditions create irritability, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating, for example. Researchers know that some of the same brain centers are involved in both conditionssuch as the amygdala, commonly called the fear center but more appropriately thought of as an emotion center, and the hippocampus, seat of memory. But scientists are still actively disentangling the relative contributions of the amygdala and the hippocampus in the two disorders, and the relationship between the two areas is now the focus of much attention.

    Normally, the hippocampus is an important way station in the interpretation of all incoming information. From its memory bank, the hippocampus puts stimuli in context so the brain can figure out how to handle situations. Depression impairs the functioning of the hippocampus and actually shrinks its size. Anxiety, on the other hand, enlarges the hippocampus. It turns on a small group of cells researchers now refer to as anxiety cellsfor example, in studies of animals, the cells fire only when the animals are in places that are innately frightening to them.

    Recommended Reading: Is Anxiety A Symptom Of Pregnancy

    The Effects Of Anxiety On The Body

    Anxiety is a normal part of life. For example, you may have felt anxiety before addressing a group or in a job interview.

    In the short term, anxiety increases your breathing and heart rate, concentrating blood flow to your brain, where you need it. This very physical response is preparing you to face an intense situation.

    If it gets too intense, however, you might start to feel lightheaded and nauseous. An excessive or persistent state of anxiety can have a devastating effect on your physical and mental health.

    Anxiety disorders can happen at any stage of life, but they usually begin by middle age. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, says the National Institute of Mental Health .

    Stressful life experiences may increase your risk for an anxiety disorder, too. Symptoms may begin immediately or years later. Having a serious medical condition or a substance use disorder can also lead to an anxiety disorder.

    There are several types of anxiety disorders. They include:

    How Does Anxiety Affect The Body

    A Life without Anorexia: Stress and it

    All of these disorders include anxiety in some way. Standard anxiety related to events or situations is normal. However, these anxiety disorders are not. Theyre often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that often needs to be corrected by medication. For most of this discussion, were talking about general anxiety, not one of these conditions.

    Also Check: A Person With Schizophrenia May Have An Overactive Dopamine System

    Common Anxiety Physical Symptoms

    Common anxiety symptoms are the ones that nearly everyone experiences in some form or another. Once again, its possible to experience anxiety without these common symptoms, but in general, if you have anxiety, youre likely to experience the following:

    • Heart Palpitations / Pounding heart
    • Dizziness / Lightheadedness
    • Hot and Cold Flashes

    Some of these are a bit more common than others. Vomiting with anxiety tends to occur more often if the anxiety is severe, while many people experience rapid heartbeat during moments of anxiety. In general, these are the most common anxiety symptoms that affect those that suffer from persistent anxiety.

    What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

    If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

    • talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
    • ask for a second opinion,
    • get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
    • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
    • make a complaint.

    There is more information about these options below.

    Treatment options

    You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.

    Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.

    Second opinion

    A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis. You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.


    An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard. There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.

    The Patient Advice and Liaison Service

    You can find your local PALS details through this website link:

    Read Also: Which Olsen Twin Had An Eating Disorder

    Prevention And Coping With Anxiety

    All human beings experience anxiety. In many cases, anxiety can have some beneficial and adaptive qualities such as pushing one to study for an upcoming difficult exam or propelling a person to flee from danger. Although experiencing some anxiety with life stressors and worries is normal, sometimes it can be difficult to manage and can feel overwhelming. Below we provide a list of tips and strategies to help individuals prevent anxiety from reaching a diagnosable level. Even though not everyone will struggle with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, learning strategies to aid in relief from anxiety and to manage the “normal” anxiety experienced in everyday life can help you live the life you desire.

    Learning Relaxation Strategies

    Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

    Exercise, Healthy Diet, and Rest

    Awareness and Identifying Triggers

    • It could be helpful to have a journal that you use to track your stressors, mood, thoughts, and behaviors that are impacted by anxiety. This will further help you identify the cause of your anxiety and notice when you may be engaging in unhelpful thoughts that only increase your anxiety.

    Supportive Friendships & Family/ Contact a Therapist

    Skin Tingling And Numbness/ Feeling Weak

    What Does Stress Do To Your Body?

    It is common for anxiety to cause feelings of numbness and tingling. This can occur almost anywhere on the body but is most commonly felt on the face, hands, arms, feet and legs. This is caused by the blood rushing to the most important parts of the body that can aide fight or flight. This, therefore, leaves the less important areas feeling weak, numb or tingly.

    It can also be caused by hyperventilation and increased oxygen intake which is particularly felt in the extremities and the face.

    You May Like: How Many People Suffer From Schizophrenia

    When Do You Have To Use Medication To Treat Anxiety

    Medication for anxiety can only be prescribed by a doctor, so before think about this kind of treatment make an appointment with your doctor to check if that is your case.

    Since anxiety is a real disease it is important to consult with a psychologist or a psychiatrist before starting any kind of treatment.

    When To Seek Professional Help

    While self-help coping strategies can be very effective, if your worries, fears, or anxiety attacks have become so great that theyre causing extreme distress or disrupting your daily routine, its important to seek professional help.

    If youre experiencing a lot of physical symptoms, you should start by getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isnt caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs youre taking.

    If your physician rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a therapist who has experience treating anxiety disorders. The therapist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your disorder and devise a course of treatment.

    Recommended Reading: Can Bipolar Disorder Cause Death

    How Are Ppd Symptoms Generated

    The symptoms of PPD are due to altered nerve pathways in the brain that affect the body. It is common to develop physical symptoms during times of stress such as a tension headache, blushing with embarrassment or a knot in the belly. PPD is an extension of this normal phenomenon that frequently leads to chronic symptoms as the nerve pathways become continuously or intermittently activated.

    Also Check: What To Take For Anxiety And Depression

    The Shame Often Feels Worse Than The Anxiety Itself

    Anxiety effects

    At times, your anxiety may feel incredibly mortifying. Because it can be so consuming, it may impact how you connect with others. The worry may prevent you from engaging in certain activities. Likewise, anxiety has a way of cutting into self-esteem and making you feel ashamed.

    This shame can quickly become toxic and consuming. Your anxiety perpetuates negative, internal thoughts like Im worthless, or Im a failure. Over time, these thoughts almost feel like facts. They dictate much of how you think, act, and feel. And, of course, these harsh thoughts tend to make the anxiety worse.

    Shame is a deeply rooted emotion, and it can be insidious in almost every facet of your life. Its also one of the predominant factors triggering most mental health problems.

    Read Also: Can Low Vitamin D Cause Depression

    The Body And Mind Two Sides Of The Same Coin

    Aches and pains are the bodys way of communicating its needs to us so its probably a good idea to listen.

    In some cases, it may be trying to tell us that our mental health needs some TLC.

    As the body and mind are interconnected, they both depend on each other. Managing the symptoms of one will only benefit the other.

    These changes will not happen overnight. Start small, your body needs time to adjust. Try practicing one skill per week, before moving to the next.

    Rule of life: Always take small steps to make sustainable changes.

    At the end of the day, its important to remember our bodys main purpose is to help us survive.

    So go easy on yourself, there are lots of others who will make things difficult for you.

    Do you experience any symptoms that I have not mentioned here?

    Leave a comment, or , I would love to hear from you.

    Until next time!

    What Causes Anxiety Disorders

    We dont fully understand what causes anxiety disorders. But it is thought that the following factors can cause anxiety.

    Genetics. Some people seem to be born more anxious than others. You may get anxiety through your genes.

    Life experience. This could be bad experiences such as being abused or losing a loved one. It could also include big changes in life such as moving home, losing your job or pregnancy.

    Drugs. Caffeine in coffee and alcohol can make you feel anxious. Illegal drugs, also known as street drugs can also have an effect.

    Circumstances. Sometimes you know what is causing your anxiety. When the problem goes, so does your anxiety.

    Recommended Reading: How To Help Someone With Anxiety Attack

    What Are Anxiety Symptoms

    Anxious behavior, such as worry, activates the stress response.

    The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream, where they travel to targeted locations to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that give the body an emergency boost of energy and resources to help us when we believe we could be in danger to either fight or flee.

    This survival reaction is often referred to as the stress response, fight or flight response, fight, flight, or freeze response , or the fight, flight, freeze, or faint response .

    Since these survival changes push the body beyond its balance point, stress responses stress the body. A body that becomes stressed can exhibit symptoms of stress.

    As such, anxiety stresses the body.

    Therefore, anxiety symptoms are symptoms of stress. They are called anxiety symptoms because anxious behavior is the main source of the stress that stresses the body, and a body thats under stress can produce symptoms.

    For more information, visit our Stress Response article for the many changes caused by the stress response, or our Anxiety Symptoms article for a list and descriptions of common anxiety symptoms.

    With that in mind, here are the main reasons why we can have anxiety symptoms when we dont feel anxious:

    Conditions That Can Result From Having An Anxiety Disorder

    Turn off Anxiety in Your Nervous System: 4 Ways to Turn on the Parasympathetic Response

    Studies show that people diagnosed with common anxiety disorders like social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder have a higher association with certain medical conditions.

    For instance, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research reported that patients with anxiety and depression symptoms are more likely to experience additional conditions such as:

    • Migraines headaches

    In the study, patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder were interviewed and evaluated on the severity of anxiety and depressive symptoms they experienced and associated medical conditions. The study found that as the severity of anxiety and depressive symptoms increased, so did the odds of developing one or more of these conditions.

    An additional study conducted in 2017 confirmed these findings in the elderly population, adding that anxiety was associated with heart disease, depression was associated with asthma, and a combination of anxiety and depression contributed to persistent cough, asthma, hypertension, heart disease, vision problems, and gastrointestinal problems.

    You May Like: What Is Ptsd In French

    Effects Of Anxiety On Your Mind

    These can include:

    • feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
    • having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
    • feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
    • feeling like other people can see youre anxious and are looking at you
    • feeling like you cant stop worrying, or that bad things will happen if you stop worrying
    • worrying about anxiety itself, for example worrying about when panic attacks might happen
    • wanting lots of reassurance from other people or worrying that people are angry or upset with you
    • worrying that youre losing touch with reality
    • low mood and depression
    • rumination thinking a lot about bad experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again
    • depersonalisation a type of dissociation where you feel disconnected from your mind or body, or like you are a character that you are watching in a film
    • derealisation another type of dissociation where you feel disconnected from the world around you, or like the world isnt real
    • worrying a lot about things that might happen in the future you can read more about these sorts of worries on the Anxiety UK website.

    I could feel all these physical symptoms building inside me, literally filling every part of my body until I felt completely light-headed and disembodied.

    Anxiety and physical health problems

    Having a physical illness or disability can also make you feel stressed and anxious, so it might sometimes feel like your anxiety problems and physical health problems are part of a vicious circle.

    Excretory And Digestive Systems

    Anxiety also affects your excretory and digestive systems. You may have stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Loss of appetite can also occur.

    There may be a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome after a bowel infection. IBS can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

    Also Check: Do Fighter Pilots Get Ptsd

    Anxiety Symptoms List: Learn More About Anxiety

    The best way to stop anxiety is to understand it. The more you understand what causes your symptoms, what they mean, why you struggle with them, and what you can do to stop them, the more youll be able to start making real progress on your own anxiety symptoms.

    We have broken each symptom down into categories for easy navigation. You can click on any of the links below to be taken to the section of your choice immediately, or you can scroll down to start reading more about the symptoms as a whole.

    Note: Some people experience anxiety symptoms that are 100% mental with no physical symptoms. Others experience anxiety symptoms that are 100% physical: they are anxious physically even though they have no worries and their minds are clear. Most people experience some combination of the two. There is no right or wrong way to experience anxiety.

    Keep in mind that categorizing some anxiety symptoms is difficult. For example, you may feel that what we consider to be a whole-body symptom is more of a chest symptom, and vice versa. So if you dont find a symptom you struggle with in the section you expect, it may be in another section.

    Get Rid Of Excess Adrenaline


    If youre feeling particularly jittery, a good way to soothe your nervous system is to rid your body of excess energy.

    Often with stress, anxiety and regulation we think about techniques that seem more soothing and slowing, but we forget the fact that these states involve a lot of adrenaline that has nowhere to go, Rai says.

    As such, one of my favourite tips is to run on the spot hard and fast for 30 to 60 seconds. Then stop, breathe and feel. Lie down on the floor afterwards if you can and take a moment to surrender. It is not uncommon to feel a little shaky or for tears to follow as the system releases.

    Read Also: What Is It Like Living With Ptsd

    More articles

    Popular Articles