Anxiety can be unruly – the fear of future events and excessive worry can feel crippling. Many people experience anxiety – the Anxiety and Depression Association of American estimates that approximately 6.8 million Americans are affected by generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) each year. Anxiety takes many forms; on top of GAD, one could experience social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, or panic disorder. WebMD has noted that anxiety can interfere with our appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. It can even cause us to pick up unhealthy habits, such as smoking, overeating, and using alcohol or drugs.
Harvard Medical School states that anxiety is a reaction to stress that has both physical and psychological features. Anxiety is said to arise in the amygdala, an area of the brain that dictates many intense emotional responses. As neurotransmitters carry the message to the sympathetic nervous system, we experience our heart rate increasing, muscles tensing, and our blood flow is directed towards the brain instead of the abdominal organs. This is all happening because our body is preparing us for a crisis – meaning that we will experience lightheadedness, nausea, diarrhea, frequent urination, and more.
Is anxiety truly harmful though? Yes and no. Although anxiety itself isn’t exactly deadly, the effects of anxiety on the body and mind can be difficult to manage. Anxiety can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, all of which can be hard to tolerate. Anxiety symptoms have been shown in people who have asthma and other respiratory disorders, and it has been linked to heart disease as well. In a study consisting of 3,300 postmenopausal women, it was found that those who had a history of major panic attacks tripled the risk of a coronary event or stroke.
Severe anxiety that causes panic attacks may cause a person to fear the panic attacks themselves, creating a negative cyclic pattern of perpetual anxiety. It can cause us to withdrawal from our normal daily functions, and can cause our body to remain tense. With many negative effects of anxiety, it’s best that we get it treated as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are several effective forms of treatment available. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an excellent tool used to help clients change negative thought patterns into more positive, productive ones.
If you are experiencing debilitating anxiety and it is preventing you from enjoy your life to the fullest, call us at New Vista Behavioral Health today. We have several excellent facilities that will make you feel at-home, and you will be supported by our licensed, caring health care professionals. We are California state-licensed and we offer a confidential, distraction-free environment where you can develop tools to overcome your anxiety. Call us today at 855-517-2669.