7 Ways Stress & Anxiety Impact Your Health
Everyone knows that having anxiety and feeling distressed is not a pleasant experience, but not everyone is aware of the specific areas that these issues can be detrimental to your wellbeing. This article will cover some of the different aspects of your health that can be affected when you become stressed out so that you can become more mindful of them and find ways to reduce the harmful effects of anxiety.
1. Cardiovascular Issues
When you become stressed and anxious, your body produces hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that can increase blood pressure and heart rate. These neurochemicals are helpful when you are doing a strenuous workout, but chronically stressed people can put themselves at risk of cardiovascular diseases if it's unmanaged.
2. Respiratory Problems
During the fight-or-flight response, which occurs when people are placed in stressful situations, your breathing rate will increase alongside the cardiovascular symptoms mentioned before. It’s designed to allow blood and oxygen to be transported throughout your body; however, being in a constant state of being alert can not only be very uncomfortable but can also aggravate chest pains and asthma.
3. Body Tension & Pain
In addition to chest pains, people can experience discomfort throughout their bodies when they are stressed out. For example, headaches can happen when one worries excessively, and muscular tension can occur throughout the body. This tightness is often associated with fast and shallow breathing and can evolve into chronic pain if the individual cannot relax.
4. Sleep Dysfunction & Fatigue
Anxiety can make it very difficult to sleep, and it can lead to insomnia if a person finds themselves tossing and turning every night because they are stressed out. Not getting enough sleep can result in low mood and energy levels, making it difficult for people to function in their everyday lives.
5. Libido Troubles
People who are frequently stressed out often find that they lack the desire for sexual activity. This is not only caused by low energy levels and an inability to relax and find enjoyment, but it’s also due to the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can suppress the hormones responsible for your sex drive. If untreated, it can cause persistent medical problems, such as erectile dysfunction.
7. Additional Mental Health Disorders
Anxiety itself is a diagnosable mental health condition that is frequently associated with other ones. One of the most common conditions comorbid with anxiety disorders is major depression, which can arise due to an individual’s worries and perceived lower quality of life. If a person feels like they are being held back by anxiety, they can become chronically depressed, inviting more complications.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Not everyone has all of the correct answers, and people who are feeling distressed will often look for quick ways to find relief. For example, people might rely on smoking, alcohol, and other substances to help calm them down. Even food can be used as a coping device for many individuals. These can lead to additional health concerns that aren’t directly related to anxiety but can be life-threatening.
How To Learn How To Manage Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are amongst the most common mental health issues, and while it can be destructive to one’s overall health and wellbeing, it is one that can be managed through lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, medication, and therapy.
To learn how you can minimize stress in your life, BetterHelp has additional articles that can show you exactly how you can overcome anxiety. Click here to read more and start taking care of your health!
If anxiety has been a part of your life and has caused you health problems like the ones in this article, it’s time to take action. Your physical and mental health is essential, and it’s never too late to make it a priority - there are many ways to learn how to cope with stress and anxiety on your own and with the assistance of others, and by doing so, you can potentially make these issues of the past.
*This blog post was written by Marie Miguel
About Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.