What is excessive worrying? Is excessive worrying? Why do people who worry a lot do it? Maybe, they think that by worrying and over thinking about things, they can change the turn of events. They think that planning for the future which is unforeseen and unpredictable can help them control it and survive on this extremely competitive planet. There can be several reasons why people worry a lot and become overly anxious. When the anxiety hits the peak and crosses a certain borderline that is when it becomes an anxiety disorder.
What does anxiety do to your body?
What people don’t understand is what does anxiety do to your body? What are the physical impacts of being overly anxious? When a person worries a lot, they feel uneasy and at discomfort. Anxiety causes other mental health issues as well, such as mood swings, irritability, restlessness, lack of concentration, panic attack and so on.
But the most disturbing part about this is that not only does anxiety affect a person’s mental stability, it also affects the person’s physical health. When anxiety becomes chronic, the body gets affected for the long term and sometimes the situation becomes irreversible. Chronic anxiety affects your daily life, both professional and personal.
Different types of Anxiety disorders:
Anxiety disorders in a person may be of several types such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), where the person just remains anxious continuously and for long periods of time or Panic Disorders, where situational the person suffers from panic attacks and it becomes very difficult to calm the person down or Social anxiety where the person fears to take part in social gathering because they are scared of getting embarrassed in public. These anxiety disorders affect different people in different ways. But what does anxiety do to your body? It deteriorates the condition of the body. Different systems of the body get affected in separate ways and that is what is going to be discussed in this article.
How anxiety affects the body?
There are two parts in which the body responds to stress. At first, the body perceives the challenged that has come in front. Then next it gives a reaction to the existing problem using a fight-or-flight response. The Fight-or-flight response is a human emotion through which a person either stands up to the challenge to fight against it or runs away from it to escape from the trouble that can be caused by the challenge. Excessive worry and anxiety can cause physical illness.
What does anxiety do to your body? How does the process begin? When a person has anxiety, excessive levels of hormones are released. This sudden and increased level of hormones reaching different parts of the body affects them differently. It affects the digestive system by making it difficult to swallow and makes you feel nauseated. Other problems include the unsettling stomach, constipation and sometimes even diarrhea. These problems can make a person feel uncomfortable and disrupt their normal routine.
Different impacts of anxiety on your body:
- It causes many other physical problems like dizziness, fast heart rate, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and tension, and excessive perspiration. Muscle tension occurs mainly in joints. The most affected areas are the back and the neck. Most of the tension accumulates in the region joining the neck and the back and thus, it can be seen that people suffering from anxiety have a continuous complaint of backaches and spondylosis.
- Another symptom that has been seen in many patients suffering from GAD is the movement of some part of the body unconsciously. One can see symptoms like the grinding of teeth, continuous shaking or restless fidgeting of legs or biting nails in people who are suffering from anxiety disorders. These body actions act like coping mechanisms for people and help them to calm down. Edginess is another symptom that has been seen in a patient of GAD. They are always irritable and annoyed with everything around them. If the condition becomes severe, physical trembling and shaking can also be seen.
- Anxiety also leads to shortness of breath. It becomes very hard for the person to breathe if anxiety hits suddenly out of nowhere. This is accompanied by excessive sweating, increased heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure. Sometimes, anxiety also causes hot flashes. Hot flashes are sensations of warmth felt in the face and upper body region which are resulted by sudden anxiety and panic attacks. The person feels feverish and sharp shoots of chills, which although not very harmful in the short term, can affect the health adversely in the long term.
- Insomnia is another condition that is can be a result of anxiety. When a person asks what anxiety does to your body, insomnia or lack of sleep is very common today. At night people resort to different entertainment means such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube or to social media such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook. This leads to sleep deprivation and thus, increases anxiety and stress. In a way, sleep deficiency and anxiety are bidirectional. Both of them can be the causes and effects of each other. Chronic sleeplessness can lead to different heart diseases, strokes, weakening of the immune system of the body and many other diseases.
- Anxiety also triggers a term called stress-eating. Different people have different coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Many people resort to overeating as it eases and calms their nerves. But this causes obesity and in the long-term excessive weight gain can lead to heart attack, cholesterol, and diabetes. Escalated releases of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine into the body lead to excessive production of glucose or blood sugar by the liver and that can result in blood sugar spikes, which is not a healthy condition chronically.
Different ways to cope with Anxiety:
There are different ways to deal with these problems that anxiety causes to the body. The first step is to diagnose the root of the cause that is leading to anxiety and to see what anxiety is doing to your body. After this, medical consultation is a compulsion. Exercising, meditation and yoga really help in reducing stress levels and focusing your energy towards positive things in life. Caffeine and alcohol intake must be avoided. Smoking is one of the major triggers for anxiety and it is recommended that a person already suffering from anxiety disorder should never take up smoking as a method of stress-release. Talking to family, friends or a therapist has shown significant improvements in patients. Aromatherapy is another way to go for dealing with anxiety and prevent what anxiety does to your body. Eating a balanced, healthy and proper diet is highly recommended as it keeps mood light, fresh and distracted from all problems of life.
Thus, careful consideration and consultation should be taken from a doctor before implementing any treatment. The case of anxiety can be more severe than you think, in which case medication becomes a necessity. You have very fewer chances of knowing what anxiety does to your body on your own. Thus, consulting a doctor is absolutely essential.