Although often considered a “mental” condition, there are any number of physical symptoms of anxiety and stress. Not to get too holistic here, but the mind and the body are one unit: what happens in the mind will be expressed through the body. That’s not to say that everyone will experience the same symptoms, however – some may suffer one or two physical symptoms while other s may be experience many more.
On their own, these symptoms are generally not harmful but when mixed together at a frequent rate, they can lead to serious illnesses. Individual patients will be affected differently, so being aware of what the physical symptoms are, and how they can cause a body to react, is the key to diagnosing the severity of anxiety and stress. Physicians generally recommend that individuals suffering from 4 or more physical symptoms of anxiety or stress should seek a medical opinion.
Physical symptoms of anxiety or stress can consist of dizziness, headaches, chest pain, racing heart, sore eyes, queasy stomach, panic, weak legs, disturbing thoughts, visual nightmares, tingling sensations, and tremors. If whatever is causing the anxiety is temporary then these symptoms will likely disappear as quickly as they occurred. But if any of these physical symptoms are long-lasting and disruptive, they may be signs of a more serious problem. That’s when talking with a physician is crucial.
When physical symptoms of anxiety and stress produce physical illnesses they become a time bomb ready for combustion. Anxiety feeds on the symptoms, which in turn aggravates the illness, causing more anxiety. This process becomes an endless circle of pain and suffering as the patient’s physical and mental health deteriorates.
If the causes are not addressed and the anxiety is left unchecked, it could eventually lead to an anxiety disorder. This is a serious medical illness. Anxiety disorders affect approximately 19 million American adults and almost as many children and adolescents. In fact, anxiety disorders as a group are considered to be the most common mental illness in America.
Now a word of caution: just because you’re feeling anxious does NOT mean you’re suffering from a disorder – only a physician can make that make that diagnosis.
Overwhelming anxiety and fear dominates the life of a patient with an anxiety disorder. These disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.They are linked to a number of physical problems, including arthritis, migraines, allergies, thyroid disease, respiratory disease, and gastrointestinal issues. Left unchecked they can also lead to other mental disorders such as panic, phobia, obsessive-compulsive, and agoraphobia. Treatment must be administered as soon as possible to avoid the complete shut down of the immune system.
Physical symptoms of anxiety and stress are not meant to be hidden: they make themselves known because the body is trying to heal itself, and it wants these things dealt with. Fortunately these symptoms are fairly easy to spot; they’re not as silent as, say, symptoms of cancer or heart disease. They are not shy and, because of this, they give a person every opportunity to hunt them down and treat the underlying causes.
Awareness and education about the physical symptoms of anxiety and stress are important to patients, physicians, psychiatrists, and the general public. No one is immune to these to anxiety and stress so knowing how to subdue them will benefit virtually everyone.