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6 Ways In Which Our Bodies Physically React And Change When We Suffer From Anxiety

6 Ways In Which Our Bodies Physically React And Change When We Suffer From Anxiety

Anxiety can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

Anxiety is a slow-killing enemy that many of us are unaware of. According to Our World in Data, about 284 million people around the globe experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017. Undoubtedly, this number peaked with the catastrophic pandemic that took the world by storm. However, many still associate anxiety with just the mental well-being of a person. But, what many are blind to are the physical aliments that impact an individual due to their anxious mind. Here are a few common anxiety disorders based on the report by The American Anxiety Association. 

1. Social anxiety disorder 

Those people suffering from this kind of anxiety find it difficult to engage in social activities consisting of a large group of people. They fear judgment and humiliation from others, according to Healthline. Though the ones suffering from the condition are unaware that their fear is not appropriate, they are unable to put it under wraps. Hence, they keep away from events that put them in the limelight. If stuck in a social setup, they showcase physical symptoms such as sweating, blushing, faster heart rates, etc. 

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2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

The ones with OCD are fixated with a repertoire of rituals that they religiously follow. Unable to do any of their rituals results in stressing them out. Some examples include, following a cleaning routine, washing hands consistently, symmetrical arrangement of items, etc. 

3. Panic disorder 

Those diagnosed with this condition experience an unexpected burst of feelings such as terror, anxiety, etc. These can later cause physical symptoms. 

4. Phobias

Phobias refer to the intense fear of an object or a situation. Some of the common phobias include fear of height; acrophobia, tight spaces; claustrophobia, etc. 

5.  Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

This occurs after a person has gone through a traumatic experience such as war, natural disasters, etc. In this case, symptoms do not appear quickly, they are likely to appear after years later. 

6. Generalized anxiety disorder

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Those with this type of anxiety disorder feel anxious for no particular reason. As per DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), if a person undergoes this anxiety for more than six months, they are at an increased risk of suffering from depression, body ache, muscle pain, etc. 

Now that we know of the different types of anxiety disorders, here are the symptoms that will help you identify they are going through an anxiety attack. 

1. Increased heartbeat

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When you become anxious, your heart starts beating faster. It is also accompanied by pain in your chest and the persistent flow of stress hormones to your blood. This, in turn, can lead to high blood pressure that might cause heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases. 

2. Breathing troubles 

Representational Image | Source: Getty Images (Photo by Stefan Tomic)

As per Healthline, anxiety obstructs easy breathing that results in the intake of more oxygen compared to exhale of carbon dioxide. This can further lead to a reduced supply of blood to the brain. According to Medanta, dizziness, tingling, numbness in your limbs, or even loss of consciousness can be an aftermath of low blood supply to the brain. 

3. Weaker immune system 

Though it is normal to have the body release stress hormones, your body will develop a weaker immune system if it is unable to go back to its resting state. As per Mayo Clinic, this puts the body at the risk of contracting illnesses. Sometimes, even medications might not give results due to chronic anxiety. 

4. Weight gain 

Representational Image | Source: Getty Images (Photo by Blend Images/John Fedele)

As a result of continuous anxiety, the brain is with adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones cause the urge to intake foods that contain a lot of sugar. This would eventually lead to weight gain, especially if your lifestyle does not include a daily workout routine. 

5. Tiredness and sore muscles

The prolonged release of stress hormones due to anxiety can cause cramped or sore muscles.  “From head to toe, almost every system can be impacted just by nature of your body releasing a lot of stress hormones," stated Dr. Mona Potter, medical director at McLean Anxiety Mastery Program in Boston, to SELF.

6. Stomach issues

Representational Image | Source: Getty Images (Photo by Nipitphon Na Chiangmai / EyeEm)

Anxiety can also affect the excretory and digestive systems of the body. Experiencing stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues are often seen among people suffering from anxiety disorders. Some even develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a result of loss of appetite. 

References: 

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Anxiety%20disorders%20are%20the%20most,of%20those%20suffering%20receive%20treatment.
https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body
https://www.medanta.org/patient-education-blog/the-dark-side-of-anxiety-7-effects-of-anxiety-on-the-body/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037
https://www.self.com/story/physical-anxiety-symptoms

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.