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Can You Get Sick From Anxiety

Psychological Symptoms Of Gad

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

GAD can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability

Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact to avoid feelings of worry and dread.

You may also find going to work difficult and stressful, and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem.

How Do I Get Help

Talking therapies

Talking therapies, like counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen. Visit your GP to find out more.

Medication

Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems. Drugs may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support.

Support groups

You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it. Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each others stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves. Your doctor, library or local Citizens Advice bureau will have details of support groups near you.

Your Weight Starts To Fluctuate

“Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which impairs your body’s ability to process blood sugar and changes the way you metabolize fat, protein, and carbs, which can lead to weight gain or loss,” says Shanna Levine, MD, a primary care physician and clinical instructor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Stress can also cause people to engage in unhealthy behaviors like overeating or under eating.

What to do: Snack on nuts. The protein will help if you’re under-eating, and the fiber will fill you up if you’ve been bingeing. Here are some more healthy ways to de-stress with food.

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Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:

Anyone may experience these symptoms during stressful times. However, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience them in absence of stress, with more severe symptoms and/or with several symptoms appearing together.

  • Inability to relax
  • Rapid pulse or pounding, skipping, racing heart
  • Nausea, chest pain or pressure
  • Feeling a “lump in the throat”
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
  • Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
  • Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
  • Thoughts of death

Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger

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Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.

Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!

The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.

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Anxiety Can Weaken Your Immune System

While in the short term the release of cortisol is helpful, in a long-term anxiety spiral is can leave you vulnerable. “When you experience prolonged stress, your body needs those T-cells and white blood cells, and unfortunately, cortisol continues to suppress them, thus weakening your immune system over time.”

It’s important to note that anxiety does not actually cause you to get sick, however, when your immune system is compromised you are likely to get sick more often, and it can take you longer to recover. If you feel like you’re in a cycle of anxiety and illness, the first step to boosting your immune system is addressing your anxiety. The Calm Clinic recommends a few things that might make you feel less anxious while also strengthening your immune system, including exercise, staying hydrated, and massage.

If you deal with regular anxiety, the last thing you probably want is one more person giving you tips on how to manage your anxiety. I get it. Everyone is different, and just because running helped one person reduce anxiety does not mean it’s going to work for you. Yoga is one thing that is suggested to me over and over again, but because I have chronic neck and shoulder pain from a childhood injury, yoga actually hurts my body, which in turn causes me more anxiety about having more pain.

When Do These Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety Signal A Panic Attack

Panic attacks often include physical anxiety symptoms, like sweating, trembling, and a fast heart rate. But, as we mentioned, theres one major difference: Panic attacks cause an extreme sensation of fear that strikes out of nowhere. That terror is an integral part of having a panic attack. Beyond that, panic attacks include at least four of the following symptoms, some of which you just read about as physical effects of anxiety:

  • Palpitations, a pounding heart, or an accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Derealization or depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

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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.

Can Anxiety Cause Headaches

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Headaches are associated with chronic anxiety.

Headaches are common in and of themselves, but they aren’t necessarily a common symptom of the general anxiety you might feel here and there.

However, headaches including migraines can be a complication of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder . This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive worrying that disrupts a person’s day-to-day life.

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Fear Is Nothing To Be Feared

7. Push the limits of your comfort zone.

Its natural to stay firmly inside your comfort zone. But the more you step outside of it, the more youll learn that the areas just outside your comfort zone are probably just as safe. If you usually hand your power over to your doctor during health care visits, try speaking up and asking questions. If you tend to avoid risk, try something risky Repetitive experiments with testing the waters outside your comfort zone can retrain your amygdala, reduce anxiety and fear, and help you feel brave.

8. Affirm your courage.

Try affirmations like I am brave. Or I value courage.

9. Surround yourself with courageous people.

If youre flanked by fear-driven people who project their fears onto you, its no wonder you feel anxious or afraid. Try seeking out brave people and see how their energy affects yours.

10. Trust the Universe.

As A Course In Miracles teaches, fear is the opposite of love and the two cant coexist. Essentially, by letting fear and anxiety run the show, youre telling the Universe you dont trust that whatever happens is in the highest good for all beings.

Letting go of fear and anxiety is the ultimate show of faith that its all handled, that the Universe doesnt need you to micromanage your life, that even if you do get sick, its because your soul is here on this earth to learn something, and illness just might be the vehicle for that lesson. Let go of the handle. Surrender. Trust.

References

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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What Is Anxiety Nausea

Anxiety is a response to stress and it can cause a variety of psychological and physical symptoms. When you feel overly anxious, you might notice that your heart rate speeds up and your breathing rate increases. And you might experience a bout of nausea.

During a moment of high anxiety, you might feel just a bit queasy. Its 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 pass in short order.

But sometimes, anxiety-related nausea can make you totally sick to your stomach. Your stomach churns so much that you have to make a dash for the bathroom. You may even reach the point of dry heaving or vomiting.

Everyone feels anxiety occasionally. Its not abnormal and not necessarily a bad thing. But it can be problematic if you frequently feel anxiousness accompanied by nausea.

Read on as we explore anxiety-related nausea, ways to manage it, and when its time to see a doctor.

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Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.

Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.

It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.

Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.

Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.

Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.

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Tips For Helping Someone With An Anxiety Disorder:

  • Make no assumptionsask the person what they need.
  • Be predictabledon’t surprise the person.
  • Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
  • Find something positive in every small step towards recovery.
  • Don’t help the person avoid their fears.
  • Maintain your own life so you don’t resent the person with the disorder.
  • Don’t panic when the person with the disorder panics, but realize it’s natural to be concerned with them.
  • Be patient and accepting, but don’t settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
  • Say encouraging words such as: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous.”
  • Avoid saying things like: “Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this. You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward.” These phrases tend to blame the individual for the anxiety.

Causes Of Anxiety Fear And Panic

There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.

When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.

Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.

Recommended Reading: Does Anxiety Cause Chest Tightness

Information For Carers Friends And Relatives

If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.

How can I get support?

You can do the following.

  • Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
  • Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
  • Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
  • Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
  • Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.

What is a carers assessment?A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.

How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.

How can I support the person I care for?

You can do the following.

  • Read information about anxiety disorders.
  • Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
  • Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
  • Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
  • Help them to manage their finances.

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