Anxiety disorders differ from normal anxiety because they are characterized by chronic, often irrational anxiety that can interfere with daily life. Besides that, anxiety disorders can cause people to feel anxious all the time, even when there is no reason to, or they may have sudden anxiety attacks about particular things.
How Anxiety Can Impact Your Daily Life
Several disorders can play a role in anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and specific phobia. Social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder are also common.
Listed below are common effects of anxiety you should know about.
1. Overall Health
Anxiety disorders can take a toll on your health in many ways. When you have anxiety, you feel like you’re constantly under stress, as if you’re in danger all the time. This can cause a lot of different problems.
Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders also have substance abuse problems. For example, 20% of people with social anxiety disorder, 25% with OCD, and more than half of people with PTSD have issues with substance abuse.
People with anxiety disorders often seek relief from their symptoms. Many people find that alcohol provides temporary relief. Doctors often prescribe benzodiazepines for anxiety; however, these are incredibly addictive, and regular use can lead to dependence in as little as two weeks. Unfortunately, pressure usually returns after taking benzodiazepines.
Stress is detrimental to your cardiovascular health. When you’re stressed or anxious, your heart rate and blood pressure go up. This can lead to stiffer blood vessels and an increased heart attack and stroke risk.
Anxiety disorders can cause several digestive problems, including nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. You may lose your appetite, leading to weight loss.
Anxiety disorders can make irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease worse. Also, chronic anxiety can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to ulcers.
Anxiety disorders cause your sympathetic nervous system to work overtime. The sympathetic nervous system, or SNS, is responsible for the “fight or flight” response to threats. This response is meant to be temporary, but when it is constantly activated, it can lead to health problems.
When the SNS is underactive, you may have difficulty sleeping, healing from injuries or illnesses, and increased muscle tension (which can lead to headaches and back/joint pain).
6. Quality of Life
Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Living with an anxiety disorder means living in fear, often for no specific reason. This can be very unpleasant and it can also limit your ability to do other things.
Also, anxiety can make it difficult to do new things, take risks, or even leave your house. People with anxiety may feel trapped. They may see something they want to do in life, but their anxiety prevents them from trying. This can lead to lost income and unfulfilled potential.
Since anxiety disorders make it hard to socialize and try new things. For example, it can be hard to meet new people and make friends when you’re anxious. This makes it difficult to find things to do with your friends that you’re both interested in.
Anxiety disorders can also damage relationships in other ways. For example, people with PTSD might become short-tempered and controlling, getting unreasonably angry with people they care about. This can make them feel alienated or even get them into legal trouble.
Anxiety disorders can make life hard, but they’re not impossible to treat. Some ways to reduce anxiety include therapy, lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of the two. The critical thing to remember is that you’re not alone, and help is available.
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