What Happens to Your Body When Anxiety Attacks?

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Anxiety Scream

Anxiety is a mixture of fear and “What if?” curiosity. It can be temporary or last weeks and months. A situation of uncertainty that seems to be about one issue when it’s actually about another, anxiety can cause problems within your body, a spiraling downward cascade of complications.

The superficial things that we tend to be worried about aren’t always the genuine source of the tension. They’re often just cover stories for more serious issues. Think of it this way: You’re scared to make phone calls so you choose not to use phones. But your true fear is not the phone. It doesn’t frighten you. The real issue is your fear of being turned down when you use it to seek a relationship, a job, information, etc. You might even fear the need to deal with debt issues by phone, or having debt issues at all. Another example of anxiety is the fear of driving across bridges or crosswalks. You believe that you fear an accident, and that dangerous things will be out of your control. The true problem, though, is that you doubt your ability to deal peacefully with death. You might not have accomplished specific goals that you ache to reach before your last day on earth. You might be longing to develop your spirituality, too. The list is endless, with blanks to be filled in by every individual facing fears of some sort. Ever dreamt that you were standing naked in front of a crowd? That common nightmare bespeaks the fear of being exposed as a liar, as a faker, perhaps as unprepared for a specific endeavor, or in need of strengthened self-confidence. The dream jerks people awake and they feel sleepy the next day. That’s just one physical symptom of anxiety. There are many more.

Let’s return to anxiety’s effect on your body. In 2009, Medical News Today stated that “Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms.”

Mental and medical health professionals know that before you reach clarity on what’s truly bothering you, several seemingly unrelated physical problems might occur: Several physical and mental symptoms of anxiety are the result of stress hormones (e.g., adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), adrenaline, catecholamines, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), cortisol, glucocorticoids and prolactin) flooding your bloodstream. After the rising levels of those chemicals have been in the body long enough, they leave a person feeling tired, confused, clumsy, prone to anger or sadness and unfocused. Headaches, nausea, digestive problems including embarrassing bouts of gas, muscle twitches and even headaches can become problems. Thoughts might seem to escalate and recycle in your mind, a problem called “processing” by some therapists. Once these problems affect your ability to get through a day, or interfere with your life for weeks and months, you and/or your medical practitioner might realize that you’re anxious, stressed out.

Therapists can help you to overcome anxiety and the problems it causes with cognitive behavioral therapy, in which you discuss your concerns together, identifying potential solutions for them. Calming medications might be recommended. Clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge decries them as short-term solutions only. She recommends calming meals and specific foods for long-term calming results. Dr Neal Barnard of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in Washington, DC recommends powerful foods for a powerful brain. The recommended foods strengthen the body so that the mind can be at ease. Exercise is another non-drug option: Brisk walking and other regular exercises can also soothe body and soul.

All people tend to wonder if we’re pursuing the right paths for our personalities, at times. When you finally connect to or identify the soulful ideals you want to reach, then figure out a plan to do so sensibly, following the plan with goal-oriented action,  you’ll ultimately feel at ease, even happy. Why? Because you’ll have identified your sense of purpose and have begun to fulfill it. The happiness is the result of your contentment at unconscious and conscious levels.

Feeling down? Strap on some sneakers and work out. Eat better. Consult a doctor if those strategies don’t help.

References:

Medical News Today – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety

Stress and Hormones – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/

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Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.