The Concerning Symptoms Of Anxiety And The Anxiety Loop
When stress hits and your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens or you start trembling, it can be alarming. So alarming that, in some cases, you might even feel anxiety about your anxiety symptoms. This can lead to a worsening of the anxiety you’re already feeling.
When anxiety hits, try to calm yourself with these tips:
- Take deep, controlled breaths
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind
- Release tension from your body by relaxing
- Accept your anxiety, challenge the validity of your concern and try to shift your focus
If your symptoms become severe, including chest pain and/or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room even if you think it’s related to anxiety.
And, if you’re experiencing general anxiety more frequently than usual, consider talking to your doctor or finding a mental health provider especially if it’s disrupting your day-to-day life. He or she can help you understand why anxiety happens and what to do about it.
So What Role Does Your Mental Health Actually Play In Terms Of Your Physical Well
Before you can even begin to understand how anxiety affects the rest of your body, its important to have a general understanding of what anxiety even is. Scientifically speaking, Laura Rubin, Ph.D, a licensed clinical psychologist at Portsmouth Neuropsychology Center in New Hampshire, tells Elite Daily that anxiety is a neurobiological response that happens when your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. In other words, when a situation feels weird or off-putting to you, or a person is coming off really shady or untrustworthy, your brain picks up these cues, causing your nervous system to react.
And, according to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, when you feel overly anxious or stressed, itâs natural for your body to respond. In fact, she tells Elite Daily, itâs a chemical reaction that sparks these physical ailments, because chronic stress and anxiety can cause your body âto release adrenaline,â she explains, which suggests that, on top of feeling mental stress and anxiety, your physical well-being is going to react, too.
How Does Anxiety Affect Your Body
Anxiety affects your body in different ways that are defined as anxiety symptoms. When you feel overly anxious, many people feel a constriction in their pulmonary and respiratory systems, noticing an increase in their heart rate, a heaviness in the chest, or difficulty breathing. Others manifest their stress in their digestive system, with nausea, indigestion, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. The severity of the discomfort can range.
Anxiety is a natural response to danger or a threat. It happens when the brain releases neurotransmitters to prepare the body for fight or flight. When some of these neurotransmitters get into the digestive tract, they upset the gut microbiome, and this can cause stomach symptoms that include nausea. During a moment of high anxiety, you might feel just a bit queasy, like that butterflies in your stomach feeling you might have before giving a public presentation or going on a job interview. This kind of nausea may be brief, while other instances of anxiety-related nausea can make you totally sick to your stomach. Your upset stomach churns so much that you have to make a dash for the bathroom, even reaching the point of dry heaving or vomiting.
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So If My Depression Or Anxiety Is Chronic Does It Mean Im Even More Likely To Get Sick
Unfortunately yes. Studies show the negative effects on your physical health increase when depression and anxiety become chronic. For example a Canadian study showed those with chronic anxiety developed stroke, aneurysm, and other cerebrovascular disease at a higher rate than the general population. Chronic anxiety also heightened incidence of heart, gastrointestinal, hypertensive, and respiratory diseases.
So your chronic depression or anxiety are a definite risk to your health. To safeguard your health and keep depression and anxiety from making you sick, see the suggestions in the last part of this article.
Tips To Relieve Nausea
If your anxiety is causing you to feel nauseous, here are some tips that can help relieve nausea:
- Sip on an ice-cold drink, such as chilled water, fruit juice, or soda. Avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Sniff a slice of lemon or suck on a mint.
- Eat something bland, such as plain toast or saltine crackers. Avoid foods that are sweet, fried, or greasy while youre feeling nauseous.
- Lie down or sit in a comfortable position. Avoid sudden movements, as they can make you more likely to throw up.
Flight Fight Or Freeze Response
Anxiety causes the body to activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our fight, flight, or freeze response to a threat.
When we are faced with a threat or stressor, our sympathetic nervous system releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When we are in this state, our body prioritizes its resources to give us the best chance of immediate survival.
We experience physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and increased blood pressure. Additionally, blood is diverted away from the digestive system to the large muscle groups, digestion is slowed, and immune system responses are altered.
Temporarily Relief For The Sick Feeling
Most over the counter medicines that calm the stomach can be mildly effective at relieving most of the sick feeling. Even though the nausea is caused by anxiety, some of the symptoms can be relieved with medicines.
For issues like swollen glands, treating them can be a bit more complicated. That’s because your glands aren’t always swollen, and if they are it is not usually that severe. Yet focusing on that part of the body can make us hyper sensitive to physical changes, and they feel more distressing. Your body is so attuned to the way you feel that it starts to believe that it feels significant issues, out of proportion with the reality.
The only way to reduce that is to reduce your anxiety and to do that you need to start to understand your anxiety better. Explore our website for more information, or speak to a specialist to begin treatment.
Anxiety can cause problems with the gut, and can lead to adrenaline related changes to the stomach, all of which can cause feelings of illness. Chronic anxiety may also have other complications. No matter the cause, anxiety reduction is the only effective long term solution to eliminate these feelings.
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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 you’re anxious and are looking at you
- feeling like you can’t 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 you’re 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 isn’t 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.
Anxiety Can Cause Feelings Of Illness
The stress from anxiety can cause feelings of genuine sickness. These feelings are often very similar to the way physical illnesses make you feel. Your stomach can feel like it’s rumbling and you may even feel nauseated. Feeling sick may be a sign that you’ve fallen ill, but it can also be a sign of anxiety.
While feeling sick may be the only physical symptom of anxiety, there are often others including breathlessness, dizziness and fatigue.
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What Vitamins Help With Anxiety
B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin C, GABA, and 5-HTP are 5 vitamins commonly used to help with anxiety and stress. B-complex. B-complex contains all eight B vitamins. Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant. Vitamin C. GABA. 5-HTP. Before starting vitamins. The cortisol factor. Vitamins as a management tool.
Can Anxiety Make You Feel Sick
Feelings of sickness can be caused by anxiety. Physical illnesses can make you feel similar to these feelings. Its possible that your stomach feels like its rumbling. It can be a sign of illness if you feel unwell, but it can also be a sign of anxiety.
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Is Anxiety Bad For You
A little anxiety is fine, but long-term anxiety may cause more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure . You may also be more likely to develop infections. If youre feeling anxious all the time, or its affecting your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.
Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.
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When Do Physical Symptoms Signal A Panic Attack
Panic attacks include physical anxiety symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, and a face heart rate. However, unlike anxiety, panic attacks cause an extreme sensation of fear and worry that arises out of nowhere. Under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , panic attacks include at least four of the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations or an accelerated heart rate
- Feelings of derealization or depersonalization
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
For people who suffer from severe panic attacks, the physical symptoms may resemble those of a heart attack. If youve never had a panic attack and youre experiencing chest pain and other physical anxiety symptoms, seek immediate help.
Not All Health Worries Indicate Health Anxiety
Being concerned about your health is not the same as health anxiety. It’s normal to be worried about your health from time to time. You may wonder if your stomachache is a sign of a more serious condition. If you have had a severe illness in the past, you may be anxious about an upcoming imaging scan.
“There is a difference at least medically speaking between a person who has no symptoms or minimal symptoms and is frequently worried and anxious about being or getting sick and a person who is worried about concerning symptoms,” says Dr. Scarella. However, he notes that anxiety about real health conditions can also become problematic.
People with health anxiety often misinterpret normal or benign physical symptoms and attribute them to something more serious. For example, if they were to compress an arm while asleep, instead of rolling over and shaking off the numb feeling, they might worry they were having a stroke. Symptoms produced by anxiety which can include muscle pain, chest pain, heart rate changes, headaches, and dizziness, among others can heighten existing anxiety about one’s health.
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You Regularly Experience Indigestion After Eating
After an especially large meal, its normal to feel slightly bloated. But when you feel this same type of discomfort after your regular meal or snack, then its not normal.
You might even experience a burning sensation in your esophagus or upper abdomen. It could appear after eating or drinking and might travel clear to your chest area.
Vomiting Illness And Anxiety
Vomiting is not a rare symptom of anxiety, but its not a common one either. Discussing your vomiting with a doctor is always a smart idea, especially if this is the first time youve vomited as a result of an anxiety attack.
But vomiting from anxiety can still be a very real problem.
Why Anxiety Causes Vomiting
The mind and the stomach are tightly linked. Studies have shown not only that the mind has an effect on the gut but that the gut can have an effect on the mind. The two may not be related in function, but the nerves and chemical receptors are connected.
When someone suffers from anxiety, it sends signals to the stomach related to the fight or flight response. Those signals alter the way that the stomach and gut process and digest food, causing nausea. In cases of extreme anxiety, this nausea becomes so strong that vomiting occurs.
Vomiting may be partly conscious as well. Because nausea makes a person feel as though they want to vomit, those that have greater control over their regurgitation response may encourage their body to vomit. Its not on purpose in the sense that a person is trying to vomit, but with their mind they may force their bodies to let it out based on the way theyre concentrating on the sensation.
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Can Anxiety Cause Nausea
Yes, anxiety can cause nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Outside of your brain, your digestive system contains the second largest number of nerves in your body. Some scientists even call your gut your “second brain.”
It’s no surprise then that the hormones and chemicals released when you’re anxious can cause gut-related issues, including:
Does Testing Ease The Nerves
While testing may seem like a quick, easy way to alleviate health-related worries, for people in whom health anxiety has become uncontrollable, testing rarely provides lasting relief. “Repeated testing is unable to reassure people with health anxiety people don’t feel calmed when they get new information that disproves their fear,” says Dr. Scarella. Doctors often fall into this trap, thinking “What’s the harm in doing a test to reassure this person?” It seems like a reasonable approach. But, ultimately, no amount of testing ends the worry, Dr. Scarella says, and in fact, it may only serve to reinforce the anxiety.
While some people constantly consult their doctor and request testing, in other cases health anxiety causes people to avoid the doctor entirely, which can lead to treatable conditions going undiagnosed. “There are real risks in not going to the doctor for example, not getting appropriate cancer screenings,” says Dr. Scarella. This avoidance can become very dangerous when someone has a real condition but is afraid to get checked out for fear of bad newssuch as a person who has appendicitis but puts off going to the doctor.
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Youre Having Trouble Thinking Clearly
If youve been having a tough time concentrating on one task at a time, remembering things accurately, or just generally operating on a higher level, stress could be to blame. Stress makes it difficult for you to think clearly, as it clouds your thinking and makes it difficult to focus.
This mental fatigue sometimes happens when small stressors pile in at a volume with which we cant keep up. Things like making multiple tough decisions at work, handling ongoing interruptions, and juggling social commitments all of these can accumulate and start to weigh on you . If you don’t have a chance to hit the pause button and reset, brain fog could set in. Focus is a finite resource and when stretched thin, it falters.
The unfortunate reality of this mental fatigue is that it can affect your physical energy levels, too. If youve spent the whole day feeling exhausted just doing the tasks you that you normally knock out in one afternoon, your body will feel tired. For some, this perpetuates the stress cycle no energy for stress-busting outlets like meditation, creative endeavors, or exercise means nowhere to release that stress, and it remains a looming burden.
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.
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Cold Sensations And Chills Are Actually A Common Physical Symptom Of Anxiety
Yet another interesting physical effect of anxiety is its ability to alter how our body temperature feels. Feeling chilled or having cold sensations is an especially confusing physical symptom that can result from anxiety, and it thus deserves some special attention in order to understand how something as simple as feeling cold can actually be a consequence of your mood and emotions.
Interestingly enough there are even multiple different reasons that your anxiety could be making you feel cold. Here are some of the ways we know that cold sensations and anxiety are associated:
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