Approximately 40 million adults in the United States struggle with anxiety, preventing them from leading happy lives free from the grips of panic, fear, and worry. While moderate to severe anxiety is considered a mental disorder that stems from your brain, its effects can become physical if left untreated.
At Bowman Medical Group, our team of highly experienced and qualified mental health professionals treat anxiety disorders, helping our patients break free from the prison of mental agony that anxiety can build. Proper treatment also can ensure you avoid the negative impact unaddressed anxiety can have on your physical health.
Most people experience excessive worry or anxiety on occasion, which is perfectly natural, but anxiety disorders are an entirely different animal. An anxiety disorder can lead to:
- Panic attacks
- An unshakeable sense of impending doom
- Pounding heart
- Stomach upset
- Breathing problems
At its core, anxiety is a reaction to stress, and it’s both a physiological and emotional response. Humans have a basic fight-or-flight instinct, which is important in keeping out of harm’s way. When your brain registers a stressful situation, it sends out neurotransmitters that lead to a rapid heart rate, a rerouting of blood to your brain, and a tension in your muscles — all designed to prepare you to handle whatever is in front of you.
However, in people with anxiety disorders, this response malfunctions, placing you in this response state even though there’s no imminent danger. In other words, your brain takes over and continues sending these neurotransmitters, keeping you locked in a stress response.
While the mental and emotional side effects of generalized anxiety can be crippling, if left unmanaged, anxiety can also lead to, or contribute to, some severe health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory issues
- Gastrointestinal problems
Researchers have also found that people with anxiety feel the physical symptoms of unrelated illnesses more acutely.
Not to be overlooked are the side effects of anxiety that can indirectly lead to health problems. For example, people with generalized anxiety often have appetite problems, either eating too much or too little. Also, fatigue and loss of interest often lead to inactivity, even in people who once used to enjoy athletic pursuits.
In severe cases, anxiety can lead to depression, risky behavior, and even suicide if left untreated.
We want you to understand that anxiety casts a wide net on your health and can affect you in many direct and indirect ways.
Of the 40 million Americans with anxiety, only 37% seek treatment. Furthermore, anxiety sufferers are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders, which takes matters out of their hands to a large degree.
To take charge of your anxiety disorder before it leads to physical or worsening mental conditions, we urge you to seek our help. When you come in, we sit down with you to review your anxiety and develop a treatment plan to stop the vicious cycle of your condition.
From medications and psychotherapy to relaxation techniques and exercise, we can help you gain back control over your life. Contact our office in Beverly Hills, California, to schedule a consultation.