Chronic Illness or Clinical Anxiety?: How to Identify Symptoms
Pain, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, muscle aches, tooth pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, changes in appetite, sleeplessness … Just reading the list can make a person anxious!
When someone starts experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it can lead to immediate assumptions that something is physically wrong and (obviously) it is. But the important question becomes: Why are you experiencing these things? Is the cause damage or illness within any of these areas of the body… or is it anxiety?
A little anxiety can be good for us. It can prompt us into action when things become unsettled and can lead us to take some extra precautions when awareness in a situation may be needed. But too much anxiety can become a real problem.
When a person feels anxious, physical changes in their body take place. The rate of one’s heartbeat and breathing both increase. Also, muscles tense and blood flow is diverted from abdominal organs to the brain. If one frequently experiences these changes or remains in a constant, hypersensitive state, lasting physical changes in the body can occur.
These changes are being increasingly linked to diagnoses of chronic illness. In gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and upset stomach, the nerves regulating digestion seem to have a heightened sensitivity to the stimulation anxiety causes. Anxiety has been linked to heart attacks and the advancement of heart disease. Anxiety has also been found to increase the rate and frequency of respiratory attacks in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In part two of this article, we are going to discuss causes of anxiety with hopes of helping you to better identify whether or not you are being affected. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from chronic anxiety, there is hope, and we are here to help. Feel free to contact our clinicians by clicking here: we will be happy to answer questions you may have or to schedule an appointment for you.