The Physical and Psychological Impacts of Anxiety : People feel anxiety for many reasons. Life can be difficult with problems at work or with a spouse. Just listening to the daily news can be stressful. But some people feel anxiety more strongly than others and they have trouble getting rid of that anxiety.
Ongoing anxiety can cause emotional and physical symptoms leading to pain and nightmares in some cases. A person’s skin health and immune system can be impacted by ongoing anxiety.
Everyone experiences anxiety at one time or another in their lives. But, they can move on and live their lives in a healthy way when the occasion that causes the anxiety is dealt with. For some people, anxiety never ends and they don’t seem able to escape constant anxiety and the bad effects it has on their mental and physical health.
These people have anxiety disorders that lead them too often to have excessive, intense, and ongoing worry and fear about many everyday situations. They may have repetitive episodes of feelings of fear and anxiety or even terror that reach frightening peaks in minutes called panic attacks. These episodes can come without warning and are hard for the person to control. They are often out of proportion to the actual event or danger. They may be over in minutes or the panic can last for extended periods of time.
These anxiety disorder symptoms can start at an early age and last into adulthood. This anxiety can lead to generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), specific phobias, or a social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. The impact and limit a person’s life and enjoyment of living.
Feelings of anxiety and danger can be controlled with different treatments and medications. The use of CBD and other treatments have shown great promise in helping people with anxiety disorders.
Anxiety Can Have Negative Effects on the Body
Though everyone has anxiety from time to time, chronic anxiety is an extreme reaction that can interfere with the quality of life and even affect physical health. Some physical health issues include:
- The central nervous system can be affected by the brain releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline too often. This leads to headaches, depression, dizziness, and weight gain.
- The cardiovascular system can be harmed causing rapid heart rate, chest pain, and palpitations. It can also lead to high blood pressure and coronary events.
- The digestive and excretory systems can also be affected causing stomachaches, diarrhea, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and vomiting or constipation. People can also suffer the loss of appetite or other eating disorders.
- The respiratory system can be adversely affected by anxiety disorders leading to COPD or obstructive pulmonary disease. Asthma can also get worse.
- The immune system can be hurt by anxiety and the constant flight-or-fight stress response. This release of chemicals and hormones into the system is good for once-in-a-while situations but when it happens too often, it is harmful. The immune system can be weakened leaving a person more susceptible to diseases and vaccines might not work as effectively for anxious people.
In addition to the above health problems, people with anxiety disorders may suffer from headaches, insomnia, social isolation, depression, muscle tension, nightmares, and sadness.
Tips for Surviving Anxiety
There are medications and treatments for people with anxiety problems. People with anxiety problems should see their primary care doctors for advice on what treatments to try and what medications might improve their health.
- One chemical that shows promise for treating anxiety disorders is CBD. This is a cannabinoid, a chemical that is derived from hemp and marijuana which are cannabis plants. But CBD is not a drug to get high on, it is a medication that can be used to relieve chronic pain and anxiety. CBD products can have benefits for anxiety sufferers with the guidance of their physicians.CBD can affect receptors in the brain in a positive way to help lessen anxiety. Some scientists believe CBD can increase positive serotonin levels and change serotonin signals. Research shows that CBD can have these positive benefits:
- CBD can reduce stress and generalized anxiety. This claim needs more research to be verified but it is promising.
- CBD can be helpful in treating other forms of anxiety disorders and reduce anxiety levels. PTSD and SAD patients show benefits from CBD use.
- Other neurological disorders may also be helped by CBD use. Studies are showing promise, but are not conclusive. More human-based testing is needed to have more knowledge of how cannabidiol or CBD works, what dosages work, and what possible side effects there may be.While research is still being done on the correct dosage and the exact benefits of CBD, the possibilities are very positive. There are already CBD products on the market for use by patients. Careful use is the key. A medical professional can help a person find the correct dosage to take for anxiety relief.
- Exercise can be a big benefit for fighting anxiety. As few as five 30-minute exercise sessions per week can boost a person’s sense of well-being.
- Get more good quality sleep by creating a sleep routine that helps. Try for as close to 8 hours of sleep a night as possible. Some helpful ideas to improve sleep are to have a schedule, to keep the sleeping room cool, to have a comfortable bed and dress comfortably, and do not to have phones, computers, i-pads or other electronics in the area where you sleep.
- Limit your intake of caffeine in all forms including coffee, tea, energy drinks, diet pills, chocolate, certain headache medications, and more. Read labels for hidden caffeine. Caffeine is an “upper” and can increase anxiety.
- Cut the consumption of alcohol which is a “downer”. Alcohol can make anxiety worse. Better yet, avoid all alcohol and recreational drugs and if you smoke quit. The improvement in your health will contribute to less anxiety.
- Practice deep breathing to send a wellness message to your brain. Breathing helps the mind and body relax. Yoga and other relaxation and breathing programs are beneficial here. It is important to control tense muscles and relax them. Progressive muscle relaxation techniques are helpful here.
- Volunteering in the community can help get a person out of their heads. Doing helpful things for friends and the needy can help with anxiety. Keeping busy with positive things will help control anxiety. This is also an opportunity to make new friends and create a stronger support network.
- Do not avoid getting mental health care. A mental health counselor with experience dealing with anxiety disorders can be very helpful. They will help a person be the boss of their thoughts and find anxiety triggers and put them into perspective. Dealing with traumatic events in one’s life can help with anxiety disorders. Mental health professionals can help patients find the triggers for anxiety and find what the root cause may be.
The Overall Picture for Beating Anxiety
Though there may not be a way to predict who will suffer from anxiety disorders or why some people suffer and others do not, there is new information every day that helps professionals in the medical and mental health fields help the people who are suffering. It is important for someone who is suffering from too much anxiety to get help early. The sooner there is help, the better the outcome possibilities.
Some risk factors for anxiety disorders include;
- Trauma in one’s past during childhood or later will contribute to a higher risk for developing anxiety disorders.
- There are many serious and chronic health conditions that can lead to anxiety problems. Chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression.
- Stress at work or in one’s life can build-up over time. A family member’s death, problems at work, finances, and other life situations can contribute to anxiety.
- A person’s personality type may leave them more prone to anxiety.
- Having certain mental health disorders such as depression may contribute to developing an anxiety disorder.
- Having a family history of anxiety disorders can be a factor.
- The use of recreational drugs, alcohol, smoking, and use other dangerous substances can cause or make anxiety disorders worse.
There is no way to underestimate the importance of a full support system for a person who is experiencing anxiety disorders. It is important to have a medical team that includes a doctor, a specialist in anxiety disorders, and mental health professionals. This team must explore a combination of treatments, medications, and lifestyle strategies that work together to help the patient live a fuller life with less anxiety.
It is important to consider all aspects of anxiety disorders and the health consequences they bring. A team of health professionals can build a more complete picture of a person’s health history and stress factors. Then, they can work with the person to create a complete treatment plan to help them overcome any anxiety disorder or at least learn to live better with it.
It is also important to spend time with old and new friends and family to get emotional support and good experiences to block out the anxiety. And, it is also important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet as a base for a healthy body and mind.
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