9 Physical Manifestations of Anxiety Everyone Needs to Know
Anxiety is a natural response to stress. It always manifests itself by mental and even physical symptoms. Those physical symptoms actually helped our ancestors survive by activating fight-or-flight response.
However, prolonged anxiety can affect your overall health. With long-term anxiety, your adrenals start to produce hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which causes those physical symptoms.
It’s essential to recognize physical symptoms since if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, it is difficult to seek out the treatment you require. Let’s look at some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety.
1. Stomach pain and indigestion
Oftentimes, people with constant anxiety may experience general stomach pain, constipation, and even diarrhea. This is due to the fact that stress caused by anxiety affects the gut-brain axis. This is a communication system between your brain and your digestive system. Also, anxiety-induced lifestyle choices like eating junk food can have a negative impact on your digestion.
2. Racing heart
A racing heart is actually the most typical symptom of anxiety. In fact, your sympathetic nervous system controls your heart rate. But when you’re experiencing stress, your adrenal glands start to release adrenaline and cortisol which makes receptors in your heart speed up your heartbeat.
Anxiety can make some people feel like something is stuck in their throats. However, the exact cause of this symptom is still unclear but it can really make your anxiety even worse. You can also feel like you can't breathe in enough air.
4. Shortness of breath
Your blood has a very important function - it circulates oxygen throughout your body. But when your stress response increases and you start to breathe more this might rapidly increase oxygen levels. Shortness of breath also called dyspnea can actually enhance many physical symptoms of anxiety. Breathing slowly will help you reduce your stress levels.
5. Difficulty falling asleep and poor sleep quality
People with persistent anxiety often experience difficulty falling asleep or suffer from restless and unsatisfying sleep. High cortisol and adrenalin levels make it hard to have a good night’s sleep because your body can’t relax enough to fall asleep. Also, racing thoughts that often come with anxiety can affect your sleep, as well. However, sleep problems like insomnia can also make you more prone to anxiety.
6. Constant fatigue
Constant fatigue is another common symptom of anxiety. Poor sleep, high cortisol, high adrenaline levels, and a racing heart can affect your well-being and lead to chronic fatigue.
7. Muscle pain
Muscle tension is your body’s stress response. Prolonged muscle tension can result in soreness. That’s why lots of people with anxiety experience feeling tight in their neck or back. Also, muscle tension can trigger headaches.
8. Excessive sweating
Yes, sweating is also a common issue occurring in people with persistent anxiety. Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, which can affect the sweat glands all over your body.
9. Weakened immune system
Prolonged anxiety always has a bad effect on your overall health by lowering your immune system. This makes anxious people more prone to issues like the common cold. Additionally, a weakened immune system can be potentially dangerous as this makes you susceptible to various infections from sinusitis to pneumonia.
What to do about it?
If you have any anxiety disorder, it would be remiss to ignore it. You definitely need to seek professional help to get treatment. Anxiety treatment involves cognitive behavioral therapy which can help you stop your brain’s anxious thoughts. Medications like anti-anxiety drugs can also be helpful. The treatment is different for everyone and depends on your specific case.