Treatment For Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Treatment for anxiety depends on what symptoms you have and how severe they are.
Therapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety. If you experience physical symptoms, talk therapy or medication that improves your anxiety often leads to improvement of these symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common and effective therapy options for anxiety.
You may find that therapy on its own is helpful. But if your symptoms dont improve, anxiety medication is an option you can discuss with a psychiatrist.
You can also take action on your own to address anxiety symptoms.
How To Reduce Stress Levels
Some of the stressors in our lives are things that we can take some practical control over some of them are not. When we cant take away the thing thats causing us stress, we need to find ways of responding to that stress without becoming unwell. Some good ways to reduce stress can include:
Sleep wellGetting enough sleep and sticking to regular hours can make a huge difference to how well we cope with everyday stress. Remember that stimulants like late-night screen time, alcohol, big meals and nicotine can stop us getting to sleep. Caffeine can still affect us around 6 hours after drinking it, so cut out the coffee early in the afternoon.
Stay in touchEven when you dont feel like it, trying to maintain your social life is important. It might even help to talk to friends and family about whats going on in your life, but if youre not comfortable with that, just socialising with them can help you feel more positive.
Eat wellOne of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health is to eat a healthy diet. This means lots of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, and lean proteins.
MeditateBreathing exercises and mindfulness techniques have become popular stress-management strategies over the last few years, and theyre supported by good clinical evidence.
Get outsideEven a little bit of time outdoors can energise us, help us maintain a good sleep pattern, and improve our mental and physical health. Exercise is particularly good for stress relief.
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Heres How And When To Get Professional Help
Now for a bright side: Its totally possible to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Therapy is often a crucial part of treatment, especially methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you retrain your brains anxious thoughts. Medications like antianxiety drugs may help too, as can lifestyle changes, including joining a support group or picking up some stress-management techniques. The best course of treatment is different for everyone and will depend on your specific symptoms. For many people, a blend of techniques will work best.
Speaking of professional help, you might find yourself wondering when to know its time to seek some for your physical symptoms of anxiety. Honestly, theres no clear-cut answer, but a good rule of thumb is if these symptoms are getting in the way of your life, you might want to consider seeing someone. Even if they dont feel super disruptive, it cant hurt to check with your doctor or make an appointment with a therapist. Because, hey, you could always feel better.
If youre feeling ready to take a step toward professional help, this guide to finding an affordable therapist is a solid place to start.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If you or someone close to you is experiencing an emergency, or is at risk of immediate harm, call triple zero . To talk to someone now, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you have tried relaxation techniques and reaching out to someone you trust, but still feel overwhelmed, you can check in with your doctor or speak with a mental health professional.
Stress is not itself a diagnosis but rather a clue that something else is going on. Chronic stress could be a sign of depression, anxiety or a symptom of another mental health condition. GPs and psychologists are trained to know how to recognise when stress is a sign that you need extra support, so dont hesitate to reach out for advice.
Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems
Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.
Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so youll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.
As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.
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Youre Short Of Breath
Your blood circulates oxygen around your body. When your stress response boosts how quickly youre sending blood around your bodythanks to your heart racingyour breathing might increase to provide you with more oxygen.
If you breathe too quickly , you can actually enhance a lot of the physical anxiety symptoms on this list because your oxygencarbon dioxide balance gets out of whack, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Thats why we often talk about belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, says Dr. Potter. This is essentially breathing slowly and deeply by really using your diaphragm. By slowing down how quickly youre breathing, you have more of a chance to get the oxygen you need, Dr. Potter explains.
Stress And Your Health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
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Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress isnt always avoidable, but it is manageable. There are many ways that you can lessen or even eliminate stress when it creeps up.
- Try to listen to your body. Learning what triggers stress and how your body reacts to it can help you identify ways to combat your specific stress symptoms.
- Consider doing an activity you love. Bingeing your favorite show, writing in your journal, listening to music, or reading a book can soothe stress and make you feel happier and more calm.
- Try to exercise regularly. Exercise increases your endorphin levels, which can elevate your mood and boost energy.
- Consider a relaxing activity. Meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, or other soothing activities can help ease symptoms of stress.
- Engage with others. While asking for help isnt always easy , connecting with others for support can help ease stress.
- Speaking with a professional. A healthcare or mental health professional can provide you with resources or suggest treatment for managing your stress.
Anxiety Isnt Only In Your Head
If you have anxiety, you might frequently feel worried, nervous, or afraid about ordinary events. These feelings can be upsetting and difficult to manage. They can also make daily life a challenge.
Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. Think about a time when you felt anxious. Maybe your hands were sweaty or your legs were shaky. Your heart rate might have sped up. You could have felt sick to your stomach.
You might have linked these symptoms to your nervousness. But maybe you werent sure why you felt unwell.
Most people experience anxiety on occasion. Anxiety can be serious or turn into a disorder if it lasts for a long time, causes significant distress, or interferes with your life in other ways.
Types of anxiety include:
Some types of anxiety have unique symptoms specific to the fears linked to the anxiety. In general, though, anxiety disorders share many physical symptoms.
Read on to learn more about anxietys physical symptoms and how they can affect you.
Anxiety can have physical symptoms that affect health and daily life.
Specific types of anxiety might have additional physical symptoms.
If youre having a panic attack, you might:
- fear that youre going to die
- have trouble breathing or feel as if youre choking
- have numb or tingling sensations in parts of your body
- have chest pain
- feel lightheaded, dizzy, or as if you might pass out
- feel overheated or have chills
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Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety You Didnt Know About
Anxiety and panic attacks are just as much physical states as they are mental ones…
- When we think of anxiety, we often think of a mental health condition that induces feelings of worry, concern, fear and nervousness. But, although we are absolutely correct to assume that anxiety starts in the brain, it is actually just as much a physical state as it is a mental one.
‘Anxiety is the feeling you have when you think that something unpleasant is going to happen in the future. Other words such as feeling “apprehensive”, “uncertain”, “nervous” and “on edge” also provide a good description of feelings linked to anxiety,’ explains Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, in her guide Understanding Anxiety.
And, as life begins to return to normal, more and more people are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, as we wonder about what’s next. In fact, there’s a name for it, ‘post-lockdown anxiety’, as we ask, how will we adjust our routines again? What will our new normal look like? And how will our jobs, family life and relationships be affected?
So, it is useful to understand the broad array of physical symptoms that someone with an anxiety disorder, or panic disorder, can feel both during a panic attack and on a daily basis. Knowing that lots of physical sensations are caused by anxiety can reassure an anxious mind that they are not suffering from a more serious health condition.
Here, we look at the common physical symptoms of anxiety and provide a physiological explanation for each.
Your Sleep Is All Screwed Up
A person with anxiety might have a tough time falling asleep and/or staying asleep, or might have restless and unsatisfying sleep, according to the NIMH. Elevated levels of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline make it hard to get a good nights sleep, since your buzzing body may not be able to relax enough to rest. The racing thoughts that can come with anxiety are no recipe for great sleep, either.
Its not just that anxiety contributes to sleep problems. Sleep issues such as insomnia can make you more prone to anxiety too, the Mayo Clinic explains. What a great cycle.
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Choose Positive Ways To Cope
Some things like alcohol, marijuana, overeating, or smoking may feel like temporary fixes. But over time, they can be harmful to your health and cause problems that make stress worse. Developing new, healthier coping strategies can help break this cycle and provide deeper, longer-lasting relief.
Try to be aware of how you handle stress so you can make healthier choices, Dr. Howitt explains. Consider keeping a journal of your habits, so you can understand your patterns. Make a list of positive actions you can take like calling a friend, going for a walk, or putting on music and dancing.
Ideally, over time, these healthier alternatives will become your new go-to activities for stress relief.
Is It Stress Or Anxiety
Life can be stressfulyou may feel stressed about performance at school, traumatic events , or a life change. Everyone feels stress from time to time.
What is stress? Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause, such as having a lot of homework or having an illness. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is your body’s reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat.
If that anxiety doesnt go away and begins to interfere with your life, it could affect your health. You could experience problems with sleeping, or with your immune, digestive, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems. You also may be at higher risk for developing a mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression. Read more about anxiety disorders.
So, how do you know when to seek help?
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What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
‘When you are put into an anxiety-provoking situation, an automatic chain of events begins, often known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. This response happens without us thinking about it because it is triggered by the part of our nervous system whose job it is to control our automatic functions . This part of our nervous system is called the ‘autonomic system’ and is split into two components: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic systems. These work opposite each other and only one can dominate at a time. When we are in any situation that causes us anxiety, our sympathetic system starts to dominate and the ‘fight or flight’ reaction begins . ‘
It is important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently. An individual may feel all or none of the following symptoms or combination of a few. There can also be more unique physical symptoms that may not be listed here. Here are 13 common physical symptoms of anxiety…
How Does Stress Affect The Body
- Sat, Apr 17, 2021
Stress is a natural, essential part of our bodys response system. It stems from an innate survival instinct that we share with many other animals. When we experience something frightening or dangerous, stress is what drives us to react quickly, triggering our fight or flight impulse.
But chronic stress is completely different. While short-term stress can help us achieve important goals, long-term stress can actually cause serious health problems. Symptoms of stress include nagging feelings of worry, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and even physical illness.
Long-term stress can cause a multitude of physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension and digestive problems, says Dr McClymont, Lead GP at Livi. In turn, these symptoms often make us feel anxious, worried, and even more stressed! Recognising signs of stress, and taking action to reduce it, is important for breaking this negative cycle.
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The First Step: Acknowledging The Issue
Getting the right help for psychosomatic symptoms involves acknowledging the issue as being psychological in nature. This can be the hardest part. Many of us can cope with the idea of having headaches from sinusitis but admitting they are caused by stress or worry can be difficult, perhaps because it makes us feel weak. There is still a stigma around mental health issues however minor, and it is almost easier in our society to disclose a physical health need rather than a mental health one. This often leads to patients searching for a physical cause for their symptoms with countless investigations and tests. This is not only costly and inconvenient for the patient but actually worsens the problem as it adds to the anxiety and stress.
When To Get Help
If youâre struggling with stress and donât know how to cope, you may want to seek help from a specialist. Your primary care doctor can be a good starting point. They can help you figure out if the signs and symptoms youâre experiencing are from a medical issue or an anxiety disorder.
They can also refer you to a mental health expert and provide you with additional resources and tools.
Some of the signs itâs time to get help:
- Your work or school performance is suffering
- Youâre using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco to deal with your stress
- Your eating or sleeping habits change significantly
- Youâre behaving in ways that are dangerous to yourself, including self-mutilation
- You have irrational fears and anxiety
- You have trouble getting through your daily responsibilities
- Youâre withdrawing from friends and family
- You think about suicide or hurting other people
If your stress has gotten to the point that youâre thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. You can also call one of the free suicide prevention helplines, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You donât need to give your name.
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The Physical Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can result in many physical symptoms, some of which are less well known.
For example, stress, particularly chronic stress, can aggravate many skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, and even acne.
Some of us might break out in hives in response to the physical impact of stress, Dr Beverley Flint from HelloSelf, tells Metro.co.uk.
It is well known that stress can also cause problems with our digestive systems.
People can often be left feeling very nauseous when stressed, and can also experience very loose stools, says Beverley. Ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease can often be linked to the experience of chronic stress, and can certainly be exacerbated by it.
Stress can also cause the digestive system to slow down, causing bloating and constipation, and even heartburn or reflux.
Elsewhere in the body, it is not uncommon to suffer from aches and pains.
Pain across the top of the shoulders and neck can sometimes be caused by stress, Beverley explains. When stressed, we tend to carry our shoulders too high, often for a prolonged period of time, which can cause the muscles to become strained. This can often result in aches, pains and tension headaches.