This is a sponsored guest post.
Feeling anxious is a normal part of life, for instance feeling nervous before attending a job interview. However, this does not result in cases of paralyzing fear – you actually muster enough courage to go through the process itself and come out stronger and better.
Even though you will suffer from anxiety issues at different points in your life, chronic anxiety is much more than that – it can actually interfere with the quality of your life. You may know someone who is diagnosed with it, or you may be going through it yourself – all aspects of your life are affected severely by it, especially regarding your physical health.
What are the effects of anxiety disorder?
In the short term, your heart rate and breathing will increase, and the blood flow to your brain increases significantly because the brain needs it. This gives you enough mental energy to face intensive situations and solve issues quickly. However, if this becomes too intense, you begin to feel nausea and lightheadedness, which has a negative effect on your mental and physical health.
It is important to remember that the disorders can occur at any stage of your life, but they tend to happen more during middle age. According to data from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), it affects more women than men.
The more stressful life experiences you go through, the higher your chances will be of developing an anxiety disorder, although the symptoms can begin to show up years later after these incidents. Your risk can also increase due to drug abuse or certain medical conditions, such as in meth abuse.
Types of anxiety disorders
GAD (Generalized Anxiety disorder)
This is usually marked out through excessive levels of anxiety, even if there is no logical reason as to why it is happening. The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) gives estimates that the condition affects almost 6.8 million adult Americans every year.
The condition is hard to pinpoint during its early stages, but diagnosis usually comes when the affected person has extreme levels of worry concerning a variety of issues for six months and longer. Mild instances of the disorder can allow the person to continue with their activities, but cases that are more severe will have profoundly negative effects on the person’s life.
Social anxiety disorders
This deals with an extreme fear of social situations, as well as being humiliated or judged by other people. This results in the person feeling alone and ashamed, even when they did nothing wrong.
It is less common than generalized anxiety, though it still affects almost 15 million adult Americans, with the usual onset age being around 13. However, the diagnosis of the condition is rather slow, as the affected person tends to wait for a very long time before they gain the courage to seek help – in fact, this has happened in a third of all social anxiety cases.
PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
This disorder develops after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, enduring physical violence, or a tragic accident. The symptoms may start immediately or can appear after some months or years. The episodes can also be triggered by various reminders without warning.
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
Contrary to what popular culture may tell you, OCD is not a condition to make fun of. The person undergoes overwhelming desires to do certain routines countless times (compulsion), or they have unwanted and intrusive thoughts that distress them (obsession).
These behaviors include hand washing, checking something, excessive cleanliness, or counting while skipping specific numbers in their head. It ends up causing them embarrassment, and they do not like talking about it.
There are different types of phobia that make the affected person do everything they can to avoid the situation or object in question. These include acrophobia (fear of heights), tight spaces (claustrophobia), and so on.
The person suddenly has spontaneous feelings of terror, anxiet, and doom that makes them feel helpless. The signs include breathlessness, pain in the chest, and heart palpitations. The person can also have another type of anxiety disorder along with the panic disorder, making life even harder for them as they try to manage it.
Effects on the CNS (central nervous system)
The longer your body endures attacks of anxiety, the more the brain begins to release stress hormones on a frequent basis. That will increase the chances of you developing other mental health disorders, including depression, and other symptoms like headaches and dizziness.
Two hormones, in particular, are released during these episodes – cortisol and adrenaline, as well as other hormones. While they can help you to quickly manage stressful events, they begin to be harmful when they stay in the system for too long. For instance, cortisol causes weight gain when it stays in the system for too long.
The digestive and excretory systems
Because of the high levels of stress associated with anxiety disorders, the person experiences diarrhea, stomachaches, and nausea, as well as other issues with digestion. In addition, it is not uncommon to see the person struggle with loss of appetite.
There is a likely connection between the IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and anxiety disorders, especially after a bowel infection. The condition can lead to constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Because of the increasing heartbeat and the heart palpitations, it leads to pain in the chest. This also leads to an increase in your risk of high blood pressure, as well as heart disease. The coronary events such as stroke can actually increase drastically due to anxiety disorders, especially if you already have heart disease.
The immune system
Because of the negative effects of anxiety on your system, it can trigger the release of very high levels of adrenaline into the blood. This will increase your breathing and heart rates, but the body never returns to normal – this weakens the immune system significantly.
Anxiety is a serious condition when not dealt with effectively or early enough, as it can cause damage to the body whether you know it or not.