Hidden Ways Anxiety Disorder Can Damage Your Health
Anxiety disorder can damage your health in subtle, hidden ways that are not immediately apparent. While most of us are familiar with the more obvious health risks associated with anxiety disorder (sleep disorders and mental health, for example), anxiety can chip away at your physical health in little ways that can have a significant, cumulative impact over time. There are many hidden ways that anxiety disorder can damage your health.
Anxiety Disorder Can Damage Your Health in Hidden Ways
The thing all anxiety disorders have in common is excessive fear, whether it's the fear of being humiliated that accompanies social anxiety disorder, or the fear of being physically harmed that can go with posttraumatic stress disorder. Living with anxiety disorder means living with fear, and fear is a primal, physiological response that impacts the body in lots of different ways. We aren't really biologically adapted for constant fear, and that's why chronic anxiety can damage our health. Along with obvious concerns like digestive problems or coronary disease, here are some hidden ways anxiety disorder can damage your health. It can cause:
- A weakened immune system -- Chronic stress weakens the immune system, and, over time, increases the risk of contracting disease. Most of us think of our immune system in overly simplistic terms -- it's that thing that keeps us from "getting sick" with a cold or the flu. However, decreased immune response may also be a contributing factor in developing many other diseases as well.
- An increased risk of suicide -- Because there's a strong relationship between depression and anxiety, most people who suffer from anxiety disorder will likely struggle with depression. And depression is major risk factor for suicide.
- Addictive behaviors -- Many of us living with anxiety have used addictive behaviors to cope with it. Addictions, whether they involve substances or not, do one thing very well: they numb pain. And the pain of anxiety disorder can be very intense. The problem is, addiction can become its own huge health issue, and usually just makes anxiety disorder worse in the long term.
- Dental problems -- While it's a struggle for most people to take good care of their teeth, it's especially hard for those with depression and anxiety. It can just feel like one more impossible task. And yet, poor dental care is linked with heart disease, dementia, and complications for diabetes. Anxious people also tend to grind their teeth. This is called bruxism, which damages tooth enamel and speeds up tooth decay.
Because anxiety disorder can damage your health in lots of small, hidden ways, it's very important to find out how to treat anxiety in a way that works for you. Fortunately, there are now many anxiety treatment options available to help undo the hidden ways that anxiety disorder damages your health.
Weber, G. (2015, April 22). Hidden Ways Anxiety Disorder Can Damage Your Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2015/04/hidden-ways-anxiety-disorder-can-damage-your-health