Mental health is something that affects everyone differently. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma around mental health issues that leave people feeling too ashamed to speak up or ask for help. Understanding how something like anxiety can affect your entire body further proves how actual mental illness is. If you’re suffering yourself or trying to understand what someone else who’s struggling may be going through, looking at it from a broader point of view is always helpful.
What is Anxiety?
Being anxious is something everyone will experience at some point or another. The occasional uneasy feeling is often brushed off as being nervous for people who aren’t anxiety sufferers. When someone struggles with anxiety as a mental illness, those symptoms occur more frequently, more severely, and may impact their quality of life.
Feeling anxious starts as a chemical reaction in your brain, but it can quickly begin to affect other areas of the body. Anxiety can come from PTSD, social anxiety, OCD, generalized anxiety, etc.
Digestive System Effects
Anxiety can affect the digestive system in a variety of ways. Some people will have the urge to binge eat to curb their fear, while others will lose their appetite entirely. You may also experience stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Immune System Effects
Anxiety triggers adrenaline in your brain. This puts your immune system into overdrive. In the short term, that’s no problem. If you experience anxiety often, it can weaken your immune system. This leaves you more prone to infections and makes it harder to overcome an illness.
Central Nervous System Effects
When you feel anxious, your central nervous system is flooded with hormones that trigger a fight or flight response in your brain. The occasional dose of those hormones is good, but constant exposure in anxiety sufferers isn’t good for their health.
Stress hormones, including cortisol, can cause frequent headaches, weight gain, depression, and more uncomfortable symptoms.
When someone is anxious, their breathing becomes rapid and shallow. This doesn’t give your body the type of oxygen needed to feel normal and healthy. As a result, symptoms of asthma or COPD are worsened. You may also experience dizziness.
Cardiovascular issues are prevalent in patients with anxiety. Some of the cardiovascular symptoms that anxiety sufferers may experience include a rapid heart rate, chest pain, and palpitations. This puts you at a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.
Contact Us Today
If you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re not alone. Contact Unitas Healthcare Systems at (617) 401-7441 today to learn more about the anxiety treatment options available to you. Each anxiety patient is unique, and their treatment needs to be just as unique for successful anxiety management.