Bodily Symptoms of Anxiety

What anxiety can do to your body?

Anxiety is our natural threat response when we feel fear. The anxiety disorders can produces a number of fear responses, you can read what the different types of anxiety disorders are here. Our body's anxiety symptoms are physical reactions getting us ready for our fight or flight mode. 

Increased breathing helps us  gain oxygen into the bloodstream, the increased heart rate is pumping the oxygen and fuel to the muscles for action (running or fighting).  All this energy is felt as tension in our muscles, ready to go, and we can start to shake.  Butterflies, or turning stomach, is caused by the diversion of blood from the guts and spleen.  In an emergency our reserved blood is not needed for digestion, but required to transport more blood filled with oxygen and fuel to the arms and legs.  The energy has a by-product of heat, and we start to feel hotter. Our body’s cools down response bring blood to the surface for the skin (flushing red).  To help with cooling we increase perspiration leading to sweating.  To make us lighter, for fighting or running, we have an urge to go to the toilet. In higher states of anxiety, again with the view to making ourselves lighter we can experience nauseous or actually vomiting.  Feeling anxious burns a lot of energy so people, while feeling on edge, can also feel weak or tired.

What are the symptoms of anxiety? 

Your GP might refer to these as the autonomic symptoms of anxiety.  Due to the threat response described above everyone experiences anxiety differently. These are the commonly reported symptoms:

  • Physically feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger or doom.
  • Palpitations - having an increased heart rate.
  • Hyperventilation - breathing rapidly.
  • Light headed and feeling faint without fainting
  • Feeling hot and sweating.
  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired, leading to exhaustion.
  • Trouble concentrating and a focus present worrying thought.

When we are in a state of panic our pulmonary, cardiac, endocrine, intestine, urinary, gastric, neurological systems are all activated, but is anxiety dangerous?

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