4 Little-Known Things Anxiety Does To Health & 4 Ways To Beat It
Anxiety Is Far Too Rampant, & Needlessly So.
Did you know? Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, which is 18.1 percent of the population, every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
You could be one of them if unexplained stress takes over your mind and an everyday activity seems like a Herculean task. Numerous studies have found a strong link between prolonged anxiety and a host of physical conditions such as heart disease, digestive disorders, breathing problems, immune dysfunction, and the list goes on. In essence, now, we know a lot about the physical effects of anxiety.
However, we know only a little about the mental effects of anxiety, depression is an exception, though! Delve into the effects of anxiety on the brain and its functions. In addition, it will also give an insight of effective natural remedies that promote relaxation.
What Exactly Is Anxiety? Learn The Basics.
Anxiety is simply a reaction to a stressor. In an otherwise healthy person, a short bout of overwhelming emotions is the body’s way of preparing for a real or perceived threat.
In fact, it is a protective mechanism and helps your body better adjust to a stressful situation.
However, the real problem starts when your body reacts erratically even in the absence of any threat. Over time, this leads to an overwhelming situation where the blood is flooded with stress hormones. Then starts a sequela of bodily changes that can negatively affect virtually every system in the body.
Regrettably, in many people, especially older adults, subclinical anxiety may not be detectable at all.
How Does Anxiety Affect You Mentally?
Most studies have looked at the link between anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, they have found disturbing results. For example, a National Comorbidity Survey observed that 58 percent of those with lifetime depression also had at least one anxiety disorder.
It is only recently that researchers have started to look at the anxiety-associated mental illnesses beyond depression. Here are some findings from the latest studies.
Anxiety Can Increase the Risk of Dementia.
Being anxious persistently in midlife is a risk factor for dementia in late life.
Dementia is a group of neurodegenerative diseases that cause problems with memory and thinking skills so severe that everyday activities become severely affected.
The 2018 study, which was published in the journal BMJ Open, analyzed a huge amount of data constituting sample size of 29,819.
Most notably, the researchers found a positive correlation between anxiety and future dementia in every case.
Anxiety Can Impair Almost Every Aspect of Your Cognition.
In simple words, cognition is your brain’s ability to process acquired information and use them to meet the demands of everyday life.
It includes memory, perception, decision-making skills, attention, and control. In a 2013 study, researchers noted that anxiety affected every aspect of cognition. While some aspects including attention were found to heighten, control seemed to be on the lower side.
Likewise, being anxious did not seem to affect long-term memory but severely impact short-term memory.
Anxiety Can Make You Suicidal. Yes, that is True!
Specific types such as panic disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can actually increase suicide attempts, suggests one recent study.
Most notably, the risk is independent of other factors such as sociodemographic factors, mood, and substance use disorders.
These results corroborate an earlier finding, which had concluded that anxiety disorders increased the risk of both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adults.
Anxiety Increases The Risk Of Taking Up An Addiction.
Handling stress by gulping down a bottle of wine might seem like an obvious solution. However, such a habit can actually pull you deep into the abyss of addiction. Notably, alcohol abuse is common in anxious patients who have certain types of anxiety disorders that include OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and PTSD.
Together with an addiction problem, anxiety can be hard to treat and often leads to unfavorable treatment outcomes. According to one study, the high rates of substance abuse in anxious people could be due to the practice of self-medication in which patients tend to take potentially addictive medications without consulting a doctor.
4 Effective Ways To Beat Anxiety Symptoms Without Prescription Drugs.
For mild symptoms of anxiety, it is a good idea to use natural remedies as they have little to no side effects and are simple to use. Here are some remedies you should consider.
Exercise boosts the levels of mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. Any sort of exercise when done correctly boosts brain levels of endorphins and serotonin.
These chemicals promote relaxation and help you stay calm and motivated. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. You do not have to get an expensive gym membership to stay active. A 30-minute brisk walk or 10-15 minutes of meditation or yoga can provide beneficial effects without straining too much.
Therefore, it is important to take caffeine in moderation - one or two normal-sized cups a day.
Get Adequate Sleep.
An anxious brain is restless and sleep deprivation can further worsen it. If you are a night owl, the chances that you might have anxiety increases by many folds. For this reason, make sure to get eight to nine hours of sleep every night.
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