Effects of Anxiety: what happens to you in the long-run?

Anxiety is a mental-health reaction in an unfamiliar, stressful, and challenging environment. It’s a sense of uneasiness, nervousness and fear of what is about to happen. Anxiety is prevalent in today’s life. For example, you may feel anxious before taking an exam or giving a job interview. At mild stages, you would not be able to detect that you have anxiety issues. Instead, it can make you focused and help you give your best performance. But a constant effects of anxiety can be devastating, it may prevent you from living a life you really want.

This article encompasses the following subtopics related to anxiety:

  • What happens to men?
  • What happens to women?
  • Are children facing it too?
  • Mental-Health effects of long-term anxiety

Read ahead to better understand the contents mentioned above. 

What happens to men?

Studies have found that about 1 in 5 men faces anxiety disorders during their lifetime. It can be more problematic because a man is less likely to seek help than a woman.  

Main causes of anxiety: Problems at the workplace, meeting work deadlines, speaking in public, lack of self-confidence, relationship issues, being unable to meet the partner’s sexual expectations

Symptoms may include:
Excessive sweating, anger, irritability, restlessness, racing heart, and insomnia
Physical and behavioural effects of anxiety in men:Chest pain and heart attack, kidney disorders, low testosterone level, diabetes, depression, disinterest, smoking, and alcohol or drug abuse

What happens to women?

It has been proved that 1 in 3 women faces anxiety disorders in their lifetime. They are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (2)

Main causes of anxiety: Relationship issues, postpartum depression, struggles in social life, and fear of being judged
Symptoms may include:Increased heart rate, lethargy, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, irritability, panic, sweaty palms, loss of appetite
Physical and behavioural effects of anxiety in women:Weight loss, menopause at a younger age, hormonal imbalance, acne problem, mood swing, complication in pregnancy, diabetes, and alcohol abuse

Are children facing it too?

Just like adults, children also feel worried and anxious sometimes. 

Main causes of anxiety:Being away from parents due to their separation, health issues, first time going to a new school, phobia for dogs, injection, darkness etc. Physical abuse or any traumatic experience
Symptoms may include:Crying, irritability, sleeping problem, negative thoughts, difficulty in concentration
Physical and behavioural effects of anxiety in women:Shortness of breath, increased heart rate, feeling dizzy or shaky, obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Mental-Health effects of long-term anxiety

Constant worries can affect your confidence, sleeping, appetite. Long-term anxiety induces the release of excess stress hormones and thereby, increases the risk of various chronic health issues. In other words, some of the physical effects of anxiety are mentioned below-

Respiratory disorders:

When you are in a phase of consistent anxiety, you may feel rapid and shallow breathing. This may lead to an unhealthy breathing pattern where the amount of oxygen inhaled is more than carbon dioxide exhalation. Therefore, an excess amount of carbon dioxide restricts the blood supply to the brain, and so you may feel dizziness, tingling or loss of consciousness. In fact, anxiety can also deteriorate the symptoms of asthma (3).

Cardiovascular problems:

Anxiety induces a faster heart rate and increased blood flow. The constant rush of stress hormones may cause high blood pressure and thereby increases the risk of coronary diseases such as heart failure (4). 

Changes in digestive function:

A person with anxiety often faces stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and thereby loss of appetite. Moreover, studies have been shown that excessive stress leads to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (5).  

Impaired immune function:

Prolonged anxiety causes an immune system malfunction. The stress hormone, Cortisol prevents the release of factors that cause inflammation, and so it imbalances the function of the immune system. That’s why, if you are frequently getting into the flu, cough and cold, viral infections, it might be a reason for anxiety. 

Chronic muscle pain:

In response to the frequent stress signals, the central nervous system causes your muscles to contract, or tighten very often. Henceforth, constant muscle tension results in muscle cramp, stiffness and muscle aches that can tend to spread throughout the body. Therefore, it may lead to chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, joint pains, fibromyalgia, and so on.

Excretory malfunction:

Stress and anxiety generally increase the urge of urination. Hence, loss of control over urination or frequent high urge to urinate can lead to some kidney diseases. 

Memory loss and Depression:

If you are suffering from a persistent anxiety disorder, it may leave an impact on your short-term memory. As a consequence, you may forget some important deadlines, make mistakes or unable to manage your hectic schedules. Hence, it makes you further anxious and leads to a state of depression

Weight gain and Diabetes:

Studies showed that anxiety influences people to have sweet foods like chocolates, aerated drinks, cakes. This increase in blood sugar level further leads to weight gain and obesity.

Wrapping Up

Maybe, by reading this article, you are now aware of how and where anxiety can lead you to. Yes, this is something that you can’t ignore at all. To get rid of such drastic psychological disorder, the best thing you need is love and your family support. In addition to that, you can also overcome it by going through anxiety therapy or yoga and meditation.