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Flu-Like Symptoms And Anxiety
You've had headaches on and off, or possibly nausea, or muscle pain. It could be emotions, rather than a physical illness, driving your symptoms. Blame your autonomic nervous system. This is a system in your body that you don't consciously control, but that regulates things like
- your heart rate,
- urination, and
- sexual function.
It's also the system that reacts when you are under a physical threat. The autonomic nervous system produces your fight-or-flight response, which is designed to help you defend yourself or run away from danger.
When thinking about anxiety disorder, you probably consider the classic signs — shortness of breath, racing heart, and constant overthinking. But physical symptoms of anxiety disorders are real, too. Anxiety is a complex mental illness that gives those who experience it a wide range of symptoms.
It’s important to know and be mindful of the physical impact anxiety can have on people, because it can feel quite frightening when it happens to you. If you find yourself nodding along in response to the symptoms listed below, you might consider reaching out for help. And as a reminder, more than 30% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, so you're definitely not alone.
As we’ve expanded our knowledge on the human body over the years, one conclusion we’ve reached is that the mind and body have a complex connection, but a connection nonetheless. When it comes to our mental health, the symptoms that we feel certainly affect our mood, behaviour, and emotional processing. But what about the times that we feel a negative impact on our bodies?
When we consider conditions such as anxiety, a lot of us can probably think of how our nerves or worries make us physically feel. Maybe you feel sick to your stomach. Maybe you sweat or feel your heart rate increase. A lot of us have and will experience feelings of anxiety from time to time that affects us mentally and physically.
For many others who struggle with an anxiety disorder, the vast effects it can have on the mind and the body can result in distress and challenges in daily life. Regardless of the extent to which you experience anxiety in your life, it is important to understand not only the symptoms we experience mentally but the physical ones as well.
The psychological symptoms that classically define anxiety disorders are excessive worry, phobias that are fears of one specific thing, fear of social situations and intrusive and obsessive thoughts.
The physical symptoms that the medical community and literature classically associated with anxiety disorders are the symptoms of a panic attack: a pounding and racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of choking and trembling.
However, people who suffer from severe anxiety have many other physical problems that they believe are caused by anxiety. Many people believe that their anxiety causes them to have flu-like symptoms, and the fact that so many people with an anxiety disorder report that they have flu-like symptoms has to be taken seriously.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a general term that describes a feeling of uneasiness or tension that can make you feel on edge. For many, anxiety can be triggered by a specific event or event that you just can’t avoid. For some people, anxiety can be an entirely out-of-their-control condition that forces them to feel a heightened sense of anxiety throughout the entire day, hour, or even minute. Whatever the case may be, anxiety is an emotion that can result in the body and mind feeling off-kilter and is often accompanied by negative thoughts.
When it comes to the body, people who experience anxiety often have physical symptoms such as sweating, feeling sick to their stomach, dizziness, and a racing heart.
For many people who live with or have struggled with anxiety, there is a fear of being misunderstood when they explain what they’re feeling. The exact same thing can be said about others who live with chronic illness, however. It can be scary for people to talk about their pain, their food intolerances, or even their allergies because they fear that they won’t be understood or that people may pity them is a major hurdle that we face when living with illness.
When it comes to chronic illness, it can be challenging to find ways to talk about our symptoms or conditions without suffering from the added judgement and emotional pain that the fear of being misunderstood causes.
Anxiety can feel completely out of your control. When you feel anxious, you’re worried about the future, and you’re panicking or feeling confused. You may even feel like you may need to throw up. When you’re panicking, you may feel like you’re going crazy or you may think that there’s no way you can make it through the next two hours without a panic attack.
Panic attacks can feel like the world is ending. You may not know how you’ll make it through the rest of the day. You may feel like you can’t get out of bed or you may think of staying in bed all day. When you’re experiencing anxiety, you may have a short, moderate, or long-lasting episode.
Anxiety isn’t always so easy to identify. Symptoms can go away after a short time, but they may come back later.
How Does Anxiety Affect Us Mentally?
There are various ways that anxiety affects us mentally, and there are also many symptoms that show us that it’s a disorder. Many symptoms of anxiety can be felt in various ways throughout the body and include but are not limited to, but are not limited to, chest pains, shortness of breath, stomach aches, sweating, and dizziness. However, anxiety isn’t just feeling uncomfortable or uneasy.
This is a much broader form of anxiety. This anxiety is distressing and affects everything you do, and every thought and feeling you have. It can manifest as intrusive thoughts and an inability to concentrate on anything else in the moment. It can be so bad that your mind goes blank, and you may not be able to make a decision about what to do or what to eat, or what to do for work or your health.
Since anxiety affects the body, we know that it can also affect the mind in a similar way. So when we consider anxiety as a mental health concern, we have to realize that the body is just one of the ways in which anxiety is felt. However, we must also take into consideration that anxiety symptoms are unique in that they can trigger physical changes as well.
Symptoms that the mind and body can experience in the same anxiety disorders include the following: inability to control one’s thoughts and actions, overwhelming feelings of fear, uncertainty, or dread, and irritability.
It’s sometimes difficult to keep in mind that the body is affected by anxiety as much as the mind. Often, our anxiety manifests as physical symptoms that aren’t recognized by others around us, and even sometimes by ourselves. For example, you may experience nervousness, racing thoughts, rapid breathing, or even physical symptoms that you believe are completely unrelated to your anxiety.
We may notice that when we make certain movements or our heartbeat speeds up that we’re more anxious, but when we notice that these physical signs match our mindsets and moods, we may begin to take them as signs that we’re actually anxious.
How Does Anxiety Affect Us Physically?
With anxiety, sometimes the most seemingly benign thoughts, images, or statements can cause us to experience physical sensations of the body, the mind, and emotions. For example, if you are feeling stressed and anxious about something you’re supposed to do in a few days, one of the ways that your body response can be to feel dizzy or light-headed.
Or if you are nervous about an upcoming test, your body might get a little hot or your palms might sweat. Even in situations when you know and are prepared for something, your body will still sometimes respond to the anxiety with uncomfortable or unwanted physical symptoms.
Anxiety can actually manifest itself in a wide range of physical issues that involve things like mood changes, sweating, heart palpitations, sweating, a pounding headache, trembling hands, an upset stomach, anxiety attacks, or even the passing of gas or farting.
Anxiety and Gas. Let’s say you’re having an anxiety attack and you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety and maybe a little bit of fear. In this type of situation, the body can feel “tight.” Many of us can remember experiencing this feeling before when we were in the midst of a panic attack. It’s an instinctive response that happens right before our bodies work on our defence system to defend us from the feared threat, especially if we feel like we’re in danger.
The nervous system is constantly sending signals to the brain about your body and the world around you, and this involves using chemicals, like adrenaline, in the body. The nervous system responds to threats, and by sending chemicals to the brain you may feel nauseous, can get scared, or even anxious. These are called “nervous system effects,” and they help your brain and body react to things that cause you to feel afraid or threatened.
Along with this, the nervous system helps your body respond to other conditions that can happen to you, such as nervousness. Anxiety can also decrease the ability to control your body, so that you may have a harder time getting out of bed in the morning or having a meal or making simple decisions that most of us take for granted.
The Link Between Mental And Physical Symptoms
Research suggests that there’s a link between physical and mental symptoms. For example, a group of researchers found that patients who had gastrointestinal complaints, such as colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, were more likely to have anxiety, but not necessarily depression. They found that the gut can physically cause some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as bloating and diarrhea.
According to Harvard Medical School, anxiety disorders can result in physical symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, or even tingling in the hands. The most common anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, may not cause these physical effects, but the stress it can create can.
You’ll feel the tension in your neck and shoulders, for example, and your heart will race. Even if you don’t experience these physical effects, there are still a lot of other associated mental symptoms that you’ll experience.
High anxiety, according to Harvard Medical School, can cause heightened sensitivity and heightened startle responses, which may result in physical symptoms like muscle tension, headaches, or nausea.
How Anxiety Affects Our Sleep
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 1 in 4 American adults will experience some form of anxiety in their lifetime. That’s a frightening statistic for many of us, but it means that the exact number of people suffering from anxiety can never truly be known.
Many people who are experiencing anxiety symptoms can’t tell you exactly when it started. Some of us don’t even recognize the signs or symptoms in the first place. But if you are living with anxiety, your physical state will undoubtedly affect your ability to function and function at optimal levels.
Being anxious, especially in the short term, is tiring. As many of us can probably imagine, when we are worried about something, our muscles tense and relax repeatedly.
There is no question that anxiety can be hard to manage. It often leads to irritability, chest pains, chest tightness, irregular heartbeat, panic attacks, and even bad dreams. This is often a symptom that affects people as they’re falling asleep, and oftentimes causes sleep issues and many people are unaware of these issues. But have you ever noticed that your anxiety is worse when you try to sleep? If you have experienced this, you may be suffering from some type of anxiety disorder.
However, even if your anxiety is limited to just worrying about something or the worry itself is gone, the physical impacts of anxiety on sleep are still there and can interfere with you being able to get a quality restful night’s sleep.
What Are Flu-Like Symptoms That Are Caused By Anxiety?
Flu-like symptoms are a way of describing the different ways that an anxiety disorder can impact us. A flu-like symptom is just one of many ways that anxiety can manifest in us, causing a wide range of symptoms that can include
- severe muscle tension,
- a racing heart,
- racing thoughts, and many others.
The range of symptoms that a flu-like experience can produce, however, is what makes the topic so complicated and mysterious, as we’ve only been able to define symptoms such as nausea and gastrointestinal issues.
The biggest challenge with flu-like symptoms that arise from anxiety is determining whether or not these symptoms are a result of anxiety or an actual physical ailment.
The symptoms of anxiety might appear like the ordinary flu, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, but that’s where the similarity ends. Anxiety can produce very different symptoms than the flu, and these may include: Shortness of breath, Irritability, Persistent or uncontrollable feelings of fear and worry, Weakness, Trouble sleeping, and Memory problems.
If you experience these signs or symptoms, you may have been suffering from an anxiety disorder for some time.
Ways To Resolve Flu-Like Symptoms And Anxiety
Just because your nerves and stress affect your body doesn’t mean you can’t successfully face anxiety, which is an anxiety disorder.
So how can we resolve the ways that our body and mind show signs of flu-like symptoms? We know that certain mental health problems can produce symptoms that are similar to our physical ailments, and if we’re experiencing the flu-like symptoms of anxiety, we can know for certain that there is a correlation.
Although we know that some mental health conditions can cause flu-like symptoms, it’s important to note that not everyone who has a mental illness will feel some of these symptoms. And in fact, there are so many symptoms that it can be confusing at first if you’re a mental health patient. Some mental health conditions are more obvious than others, but even some mental health conditions that may appear to be less severe or with less noticeable symptoms may cause these types of symptoms.
Eating habits: I’m sure you’ve been told at some point that one of the best ways to get rid of anxiety is to make sure you’re getting enough calories, protein, and vitamins. But when we have anxiety, that doesn’t happen. When we’re anxious, we’re eating for all the wrong reasons. Eat healthily. Focus on your food and do not be swayed by other thoughts while eating.
What we’re telling ourselves: When we’re anxious, we’re likely thinking about the worst things that could happen. Control what you think.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Treating Anxiety
When we’re worried about something, we tend to put ourselves in a different state, and it can be as simple as sweating and having a slightly increased heart rate. However, when we have an anxiety disorder, there can be physical symptoms as well that we experience as a result of our mind and body’s response to anxiety.
As many people know, anxiety can be a debilitating disease and can impact the body in several ways, including your skin. But a healthy treatment for anxiety that is very effective at treating the emotional component of the disorder is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
This treatment helps you learn to take control of your thoughts, change your perceptions of your stress and anxiety, and deal with the anxiety that you experience in your life in a more effective way. CBT can also provide valuable insight into how your body is reacting to the stress you experience on a daily basis.
Talk To A Health Professional
Anxiety and other symptoms like these can have a negative impact on your physical well-being. For that reason, it’s important to consult with a qualified health professional to see what can be done to help you get your anxiety under control. Anxiety and stress can affect both your physical health and mental health, so it’s important to discuss these issues with a mental health professional to make sure that your mental health is getting the care it needs.
If you or a loved one has a history of anxiety or any other mental health condition, it’s vital that you talk to your health professional to get the support you need. In many cases, anxiety can have effects on the body that we can’t even notice unless we learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders, and it’s important that we do so for our own sake.
There are tons of different mental health diagnoses that can cause anxiety symptoms, and there’s more than one type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders come in a variety of forms, and sometimes the different types can go undiagnosed or untreated. And when people do receive treatment for mental health conditions, it’s common to experience anxiety-related symptoms as a side effect.
Overall, the mind and body are two of the most crucial aspects of our health and well-being, and when we understand how the two are connected, it can be a very helpful asset for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A lot of the benefits of integrating the mind and body into your routine can result from simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing the amount of physical activity that you perform and reducing the number of unhealthy foods that you consume.
In addition to these changes, the medical field has been studying the link between diet, mental health, and even different aspects of the body, such as the nervous system, in recent years. In these studies, mental health has been found to be linked to the diet that you eat.
Anxiety affects us all to some degree, but what we tend to forget is that if we’re not properly treating anxiety, it can lead to negative mental and physical health effects, or even prevent us from being able to find the best work and school environment for ourselves. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat anxiety and overcome it, while keeping ourselves motivated to live the best life possible.
I trust you enjoyed this article about Flue-Like Symptoms And Anxiety. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly.
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