If you are suffering from chronic anxiety, it can destroy your life by interfering with the quality of your life. It can have some serious consequences on your physical health.
Effect on the body
When you have anxiety for a long time or it gets too intense for you, you will feel lightheaded and noxious. Long-lasting anxiety can have serious devastating effects on your physical and mental health.
Central nervous system
If you're suffering from long-term anxiety and panic attacks, your brain may release stress hormone regularly. When that happens, it can increase the frequency of symptoms like headaches, dizziness and depression. In general these hormones are necessary for dealing with stress but when you have long-term exposure to stress hormones, there will be a negative effects on your body. For example, when you have long-term exposure to cortisol, which is a stress hormone, it can result in weight gain.
Anxiety will also negatively impact your cardiovascular system. If you're suffering from anxiety disorders, you may have rapid heart rate, palpitations and chest pain. People who suffer from anxiety regularly may have a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also increase the risk of coronary problems.
Digestive and excretory systems
Anxiety will also directly and negatively impact your digestive system and the excretory system. It can result in stomachaches, diarrhoea, nausea and other digestive issues. Regular anxiety can also reduce your appetite drastically. Anxiety can also result in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you develop IBS, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation.
When you are exposed to anxiety for a long time, it can trigger your flight or fight stress response and they're very least lots of chemicals and hormones in your body. If you look at the short term, it can increase your pulse and breathing rate. That happens so that your brain can get more oxygen, which will prepare you to respond appropriately when you are in such a situation. At the same time your immune system may also get a brief boost. When the stress passes, your body generally returns to normal functioning.
However, when you are repeatedly exposed to stress and anxiety, the situation differs a lot. Your body will never get the signal to return to normal functioning and as a result of that long-term exposure to anxiety can weaken your immune system. If you have a weak immune system, your body will be more vulnerable to different types of infections, illnesses and diseases. In such a situation, your regular vaccine may also not work as it should.
Constant exposure to anxiety can cause repeat, shallow breathing. If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, you are likely to have a higher risk of hospitalisation from anxiety related complications. Anxiety can be more dangerous for you if you have asthma.
Some other effects
Repeated exposure to anxiety or long-term exposure can result in different other symptoms in your body. Such symptoms include headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, depression, social isolation and other such problems. It can be more difficult for people who have PTSD.