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At some point in life, we all experience anxiety. The racing heartbeat and shallow breaths prepare you to either face your fear head-on or run from it. We can’t avoid anxiety since it’s a natural response meant to keep us alive. However, anxiety does become an issue when it becomes chronic and affects our physical health.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is more likely to affect women than men, but that doesn’t mean it can’t influence everyone at some point. The stress of life, significant changes, and everyday scenarios can cause anxiety, but it’s how our body holds onto it that matters. At Brain Forest Centers, we take pride in helping people navigate and overcome their generalized anxiety disorder. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool, and all of our patients walk away feeling mentally clear and physically great. Here are just some of the physical effects of anxiety.

Central Nervous System

GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) or long-term anxiety can cause your brain to release a continuous flow of the stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are responsible for your fight or flight response and usually leave you with that all-too-recognizable knot in your stomach. These hormones can also cause dizziness, frequent headaches, and depression. While your nervous system must be ready to react to high-stress events, staying at this high level of alertness is not healthy and good for the rest of your body. In many cases, long-term exposure to cortisol contributes to weight gain, especially in women.

Cardiovascular System

When your nervous system sends out adrenaline, you might notice a racing heartbeat, palpitations, or chest pain. This hormone also increases your blood pressure as more blood is concentrated on the brain to help you make split-second decisions. However, remaining in this state can lead to issues with high blood pressure and heart disease. If you already have heart disease or are predisposed, anxiety can increase your chances of a coronary event.

Immune Response

GAD causes your body to remain in an anxious state that doesn’t allow it to return to normal. While it’s essential that you respond appropriately in intense situations, what’s not appropriate is your nervous system remaining in this state. While the occasional stress can give your immune system a boost, not addressing your long-term anxiety can weaken it. With a weakened immune system, you’re more vulnerable to viral infections, the flu, or other frequent illnesses.

How to Identify Anxiety

Identifying whether or not you have anxiety requires a deep understanding of your body and how it functions. If you don’t have a medical reason for your symptoms, then you could have anxiety. While there’s no medical test for anxiety, seeing a mental healthcare expert is always a good idea, especially if you’re experiencing signs of depression as well.

Symptoms of anxiety often look like:

  • Stomach pain, nausea, or digestive trouble
  • Frequent headaches
  • Insomnia or sleeping issues
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Pounding or racing heart rate
  • Chronic sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Persistent muscle tension or pain

Let Brain Forest Help with Your Anxiety

The body heavily reflects what’s happening in your brain. It often keeps score, and many physical ailments can be explained or treated by taking care of your mental health. At Brain Forest Centers, we help individuals of all ages mitigate their mental and physical symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and concussions. If you’re ready to discover a new you, it starts with understanding the physical effects of these mental health issues and how your body is dealing with a high-stress level.

To find out more about your brain and how it’s functioning, give us a call at (317) 288-9828 and schedule your free consultation today.