Having anxiety at some point in your life is part of the journey, but chronic anxiety can diminish your quality of life and have serious consequences on your health. If left untreated, anxiety can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health. You should know the different anxiety disorders.
What Is Anxiety and How Does It Affect You
Anxiety is a part of life. It can be as simple as having stage fright or feeling anxious before taking an exam or a job interview. In such occasions, heart rate goes up, as blood flow is directed to the brain, where energy is needed. You can even end up even feeling dizzy and nauseous.
An even bigger problem arises if you are constantly in this state of mind as anxiety can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Besides a panic attack that includes spontaneous feelings of anxiety and impending doom, there are several other types of anxiety disorders.
General Anxiety Disorder is marked by excessive anxiety for no logical reason. If it’s mild, you can probably still get around your normal day activities. But when you worry excessively about a variety of things for six months or longer, it can have a profound impact on your daily life.
Social anxiety disorder
This disorder is characterized by paralyzing fear of social situations and of being judged or humiliated by others.
Post-traumatic stress disorder develops after witnessing or experiencing something traumatic like a war or an attack.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when someone feels overwhelmed with the desire to perform particular rituals over and over again such as washing hands or just obsesses about something like cleanliness and the need for symmetry.
Fear of tight spaces (claustrophobia) or heights (acrophobia) are just some of the few phobias that can paralyze people who suffer from them.
Now, let’s talk about how anxiety affects your body.
Central nervous system
Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause your brain to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol on a regular basis. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and even depression.
Anxiety boosts your heart rate so it makes us more prone to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Besides stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues, studies have shown there is a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, because the body does not get the opportunity to get back to normal. Besides making you more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, it can also lower the effectiveness of vaccines.
One of the anxiety disorders is it causes rapid and shallow breathing that can worsen asthma symptoms. If your muscles and tissues don’t get enough occasion, you will also feel spasm and that’s only the beginning of the story.
Common Anxiety Triggers
Anxiety is often triggered by a particular stimulus. Knowing the triggers gives you power over the situation. It can help you cope and feel more empowered during your recovery.
It’s not hard to guess that trauma can trigger anxiety. Trauma can impact one’s physical and emotional safety. Often, it activates a fight, flight, or freeze response in people and it can even do it in a subtle manner as trauma can make you feel anxious without you even realizing you’re anxious. Relationship breakups, job changes, changes and losses of any kind, including finance and money issues can all trigger anxiety. For example, not being able to pay your PECO energy bill will surely keep you up at night. Yet, many people overlook the fact that even these somewhat small, chronic, daily issues can harm their well-being.
Caffeine might stimulate the central nervous system but it can make you feel nervous or agitated. Those who suffer from panic and social anxiety disorders seem to be more sensitive to it.
Alcohol can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Some medications that treat asthma, blood pressure, cough, birth control, and congestion may cause or worsen anxiety symptoms.
The thyroid has a task to produce hormones that regulate metabolism and energy levels. When they are overproduced, this can create symptoms that mimic an anxiety attack such as heart palpitations, insomnia and irritability.
Everyone faces stress, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. Some people attempt to avoid facing their feelings altogether by plunging into their checklists. Others try to escape their feelings by turning to substances, like drugs or alcohol. When you don’t address your stress productively, you face a higher risk of anxiety. And when you fail to accept your feelings as they are, your anxiety may actually worsen because you let stress run your life.
Tips for Coping and Managing Axiety and Stress
Anxiety can often seem unbeatable but there’s a lot you can do to besides counting to 10 every time you feel an anxiety attack coming.
Take a time out to clear your head
Do anything that can help you step away from the problem and forget about it for a while. Listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. The secret to health is in learning to unplug from all the noise.
Limit your intake of foods and drinks that aggravate and trigger anxiety.
Get plenty of exercises
Walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes. Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. You need to find a way to flush out the stress and sweating it out helps.
Although it can feel frustrating and even debilitating, anxiety is treatable. As you identify you’re the triggers of your anxiety, you can develop healthy strategies to cope with your symptoms and overcome your anxiety.