Anxiety can have many physical effects on the body, such as low energy or cardiovascular issues. But treatment can help you cope with your symptoms.
Living with anxiety can affect your health in a variety of ways, and some are more straightforward than others.
For example, you might find that anxiety causes you to isolate yourself from loved ones. But physical anxiety symptoms — such as stomach pain, nausea, and IBS symptoms, to name a few — can often be the reason you might isolate yourself due to anxiety in the first place.
Also, other common mental anxiety symptoms such as fatigue, worry, and difficulty concentrating can be linked to physical anxiety symptoms. You might respond emotionally with worry because of how anxiety feels in your chest. You might have trouble focusing because anxiety is making it too uncomfortable to stay present in your body.
Anxiety can pop up in nearly every part of your body, but recognizing it can make it easier to manage.
Anxiety may cause a range of physical symptoms. You may experience only one or many of them. But being aware of the signs and symptoms can help you receive the care the best that best supports your needs.
Physical symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Headaches: Headaches are common among people who have anxiety. Research from 2010 suggests episodic migraines, chronic daily headaches, and aura were all significantly more prevalent among people with anxiety than those without it.
- Digestive issues: Stress can slow digestion, as well as cause bloating, pain, and constipation. But anxiety can also speed up digestion and cause diarrhea. In addition, stress can worsen digestive conditions such as stomach ulcers and
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Cardiovascular issues: When you’re feeling anxious, your body is
more likelyto react in ways that impact your heart’s health. Anxiety may have an association with heart conditions and symptoms, such as rapid heart rate (tachycardia), increased blood pressure, or palpitations.
- Changes in sexual functioning: Lower sexual desire and sexual aversion are
associatedwith anxiety disorders. Anxiety can distract from erotic stimuli and impair sexual arousal. Instead of enjoying yourself, you might be consumed with fear about meeting your partner’s expectations or your own. This can lead to difficulty getting erect, lubricated, or achieving orgasm.
- Lowered energy: Because fatigue is so subjective, the connection between fatigue and anxiety isn’t clearly understood. Nonetheless,
researchsuggests fatigue is moderately to strongly associated with mental health conditions, especially anxiety and depression.
- Chronic pain: Many chronic pain disorders aren’t uncommon alongside anxiety disorders. And in addition, higher levels of anxiety tend to be
connectedto aches and pains in the body, such as chronic neck pain.
- Experience with breathing difficulties: A common symptom of anxiety is shortness of breath or rapid breathing, and this can cause sharp chest pain that sometimes occurs with anxiety.
When you live with an anxiety disorder, your body
The hormone cortisol is responsible for several important bodily functions, including:
- fighting infection
- regulating blood sugar
- maintaining blood pressure
It’s also known as your body’s “stress hormone.”
Another chemical your body produces when you have anxiety is adrenaline. While adrenaline isn’t always harmful, and can be helpful in many situations, producing too much adrenaline can add to anxiety.
The overall effect of adrenaline is to prepare the body for the fight, flight, or freeze response in times of stress. But if there’s nothing actually life-threatening to be worried about, too much adrenaline may cause unneeded worry.
Too much worry can cause higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline. The relationship between these chemicals and anxiety is complex and almost cyclical.
If you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety you’re not alone. Support is available to help you cope with these symptoms of anxiety. Consider the following tips:
Symptoms may vary from person-to-person, but there are strategies that can help relieve your symptoms over time, such as:
- reducing tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol use
- getting an efficient amount of sleep
- incorporating movement into your day, like yoga
- eating whole and healthy foods
- deep breathing exercises
- gentle muscle massages
- taking a cold or hot shower
If you live with an anxiety disorder you may have an increased chance of experiencing chronic pain. For example you may experience anxiety and:
- Chest pain. Anxiety disorders — including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder — are
fairly common causesof chest pain.
- Fibromyalgia. This is a chronic medical condition that causes widespread muscle pain and fatigue, and it’s often linked to anxiety.
- Back pain. Some research has found that anxiety levels may be higher in people who experience chronic back pain and highlights anxiety as a factor that could exacerbate the pain.
Living with anxiety can be difficult, but you don’t have to seek relief alone. If you’re in need of additional support, a mental health professional can help you cope with treatment options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or a combination of both.
Many treatments for anxiety disorders, such as therapy or relaxation techniques like acupuncture, may also improve chronic pain symptoms.
What are 5 signs you have anxiety?
There are various signs and symptoms of anxiety, but common signs may include:
- shortness of breath
- experiencing headaches, muscle aches, or stomachaches, or other unexplained pains
- trouble concentrating or disassociating
- sweating a lot or experiencing hot flashes
- feeling nauseated or dizzy
What are 5 coping skills for anxiety?
If you experience anxiety, consider coping techniques, such as:
- deep breathing exercises
- engage in exercises you enjoy, like running, yoga, or weight lifting
- try to get a good night’s rest
- reduce your intake of caffeine and tobacco
- practice mindfulness daily
How do I cure anxiety?
Consider speaking with a mental health professional to receive a treatment plan that is especially catered to your condition. While therapy and medication aren’t a “cure-all” for your condition, they can help you manage symptoms of anxiety.
If you’re in need of support, consider speaking with a mental health professional who can offer coping techniques that will help relieve your symptoms.
When speaking with a mental health professional, it’s important to share any physical symptoms you’ve noticed. That can help them better understand what you’re experiencing.
By getting to the root of the issue, you could potentially alleviate or manage some of the physical symptoms you’re experiencing.
If you’re looking for more info on managing anxiety, consider visiting Psych Central’s resource page.