Yes, anxiety can make you feel physically sick. Symptoms of anxiety can include nausea and stomachache, headache, palpitations or rapid heart rate, fatigue, sweating, and trembling/shaking. Anxiety can also lead to a weakened immune system making it harder for your body to fight off illnesses such as colds or the flu.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, or uneasiness that can range from mild to severe and that can be triggered by real-life events or by thoughts out of proportion to the actual level of danger. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling/shaking, headaches and nausea. Anxiety disorders are treatable mental health conditions that affect how someone thinks, feels, and behaves in response to their worries and fears. Treatment typically involves talk therapy (psychotherapy) along with medication in some cases.
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, but some common symptoms include:
- Racing thoughts
- Racing heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling tense or on edge
Anxiety can range from a normal, helpful reaction to important situations or events such as public speaking and taking tests; but when it becomes persistent without any discernible cause, this could point towards an underlying anxiety disorder. In these cases the individual may need extra support in order for their body to process painful emotions and life experiences that are causing distress.
Types of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause persistent and excessive worrying, fear, or panic. They can be experienced differently between individuals – with varied types including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s important to note these issues should always be addressed by qualified medical professionals as they can significantly impact the quality of life otherwise left untreated!
- Living with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can often be overwhelming, causing people to worry excessively and irrationally about everyday things. Those struggling with GAD may find it difficult to manage their worries and feel anxious in seemingly mundane situations or events.
- Individuals suffering from panic disorder experience sudden, overwhelming episodes of fear and dread. Symptoms can range from racing heartbeats to difficulty breathing – even a sense that you are on the brink of losing control or dying. It’s an incredibly harrowing condition, but with proper treatment, it is possible to manage it productively.
- Social anxiety disorder is a condition that can make it difficult to navigate through social settings. Individuals affected by this illness may experience intense fear and worry about being judged or criticized, leading them to avoid certain situations altogether. Living with such an affliction could cause significant distress in everyday life but luckily there are treatments available for those who struggle with the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
- Specific phobias are irrational fears of particular objects or environments that can cause intense, debilitating anxiety in their sufferers. For those living with these anxieties, the things they fear can become overwhelming and avoidance is often sought as a means for managing distress.
How anxiety can make you feel sick
Individuals suffering from heightened anxiety may experience a range of physical symptoms that can make them feel ill, such as an accelerated heart rate and shallow breathing. This is in response to the body’s ‘fight or flight’ instinct – an intrinsic reaction when faced with perceived danger that triggers the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream; heightening awareness levels but often causing unpleasant physiological effects. These hormones can cause a number of physical symptoms, including:
- Racing heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Chest pain
In some cases, anxiety can also cause more serious physical symptoms, such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Choking sensations
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hot flashes or chills
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
Anxiety can have an intense physical effect, sometimes even producing symptoms that mimic those of serious medical conditions. This understandably leads to a lot of alarm for the sufferer – not only due to their own distress but also from having potentially unnecessary tests or treatments prescribed as a result. In such cases, it’s important for them and their caregiver(s) to get more information in order to manage anxiety effectively and with minimal disruption.
Managing anxiety and its physical symptoms
Experiencing anxiety can be a draining and uncomfortable experience, but there are simple steps you can take to ease your worries and the physical manifestations of that stress. Taking charge of both mental health and overall wellbeing will help reduce feelings associated with anxiousness. These may include:
- Practicing relaxation techniques: To reduce anxiety and help the body and mind reach a sense of peace, relaxation techniques can be employed. These may include deep breathing exercises to focus attention on breath patterns, progressive muscle relaxation to promote physical stillness as well as mental calm, or mindfulness practices which encourage awareness of present-moment thoughts.
- Exercising regularly: An exercise is a powerful tool for managing and preventing anxiety, as well as promoting overall wellbeing. Not only will regular physical activity help to improve your strength and endurance, but it can also have positive effects on mental health; allowing you to better cope with stressors in life.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can do more than just keep you feeling great – it can also help to reduce your anxiety levels. By nourishing our bodies with essential vitamins and minerals found in these types of foods, we are not only boosting the functionality of its many systems but promoting improved mental wellbeing too!
- Getting enough sleep: Getting a solid night’s rest is essential for keeping anxiety and other mental health issues in check. Shoot for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each evening to safeguard your emotional wellbeing.
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol are both associated with heightened anxiety as well as exacerbation of physical symptoms. This means that even if you’re feeling low, they can make your situation worse – something to consider the next time you reach for a cup of coffee or an alcoholic beverage.
- Seeking support: Is your anxiety taking over? A mental health professional can be a great support to help you gain back control. With their guidance, it’s possible to build new coping strategies that promote healthy ways of managing and decreasing levels of fear or worry in day-to-day life; don’t let anxiety hold you back!
Anxiety can be an insidious condition that can not only cause emotional distress but manifest itself in physical symptoms as well. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies available to help manage your anxiety and improve overall well-being, from relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly; all the way to seeking support systems when needed. With knowledge of how best to cope with one’s worries, it is possible for anyone living with anxiety to make positive steps forward toward improved mental health.