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Thursday, 03 September 2015 22:26

Our Health: THE PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ANXIETY Featured

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The body can act inappropriately to the strains and toils of everyday living and adrenalin production may be unnecessarily initiated in response to a minor stressor. A chain reaction is then set in motion: one starts to sweat, feel sick and suffer palpitations and the whole stress response takes over, resulting in anxiety. You may wonder, what is this anxiety we talk about?

 

Well, anxiety is a reaction to stress that has both psychological and physical features. The feeling is thought to arise in the amygdala, a brain region that governs many intense emotional responses. As neurotransmitters carry the impulse to the sympathetic nervous system, heart and breathing rates increase, muscles tense, and blood flow is diverted from the abdominal organs to the brain. In the short term, anxiety prepares us to confront a crisis by putting the body on alert. But its physical effects can be counterproductive, causing light-headedness, nausea, diarrhea, and frequent urination. And when it persists, anxiety can take a toll on our mental and physical health.

 

Anxiety Disorders and their Symptoms

 

DISORDER: Generalized anxiety disorder.


SYMPTOMS: Exaggerated worry about health, safety, money, and other aspects of daily life that lasts for six months or more. It is often accompanied by muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, nausea, breathlessness, and insomnia.

DISORDER: Phobias


SYMPTOMS: Irrational fear of specific things or situations, such as spiders (arachnophobia), being in crowds (agoraphobia), or being in enclosed spaces (claustrophobia).

DISORDER: Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)


SYMPTOMS: Overwhelming self-consciousness in ordinary social encounters, heightened by a sense of being watched and judged by others and a fear of embarrassment.

 

DISORDER: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


SYMPTOMS: Reliving an intense physical or emotional threat or injury (for example, childhood abuse, combat, or an earthquake) in vivid dreams, flashbacks, or tormented memories. Other symptoms include difficulty sleeping or concentrating, angry outbursts, emotional withdrawal, and a heightened startle response.

DISORDER: Obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD)


SYMPTOMS: Obsessive thoughts, such as an irrational fear of contamination, accompanied by compulsive acts, such as repetitive hand washing, that are undertaken to alleviate the anxiety generated by the thoughts.

DISORDER: Panic disorder


SYMPTOMS: Recurrent episodes of unprovoked feelings of terror or impending doom, accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, or weakness.

Sources from which relief can be obtained to help the individual control anxiety are correct breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, stress management, regular exercise and diet. In theory, anxiety management is relatively simple and easy to do, and can be carried out by everyone. Nevertheless, to achieve success and sustain recovery requires a great deal of commitment and effort on the part of the sufferer.

 

So are you a sufferer of anxiety? There you have it! Maybe a little bit of breathing exercise or a change in diet could go a long way in helping you. Spread the word. Help someone today.

 

By: Kindness Okoli

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