We hear a lot about anxiety. That’s probably because anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly 40 million adults annually. Unfortunately, though anxiety disorders are highly treatable, estimates show that a minority of affected individuals seek help from an anxiety treatment center. That said, compared to people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders, those who do are significantly more likely to go to the doctor because anxiety has many bodily manifestations that can have significant consequences for your physical health. The long-term effects of anxiety can be detrimental to your health.
At Harmony Hills, we understand the long-term effects of anxiety disorders and have designed treatment options to get you or a loved one on the road to recovery. Speak to a mental health professional today by calling 855.494.0357.
What to Know About Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a reaction to the release of stress hormones that play an essential role in our natural fight-or-flight response to danger. When stressed, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which keep our senses and reflexes heightened to react quickly and appropriately. Once the stress is resolved, hormone levels return to normal. However, when this natural system malfunctions, the chemical imbalance can develop anxiety disorders. Genetics, biology, trauma, and environmental factors are all also believed to contribute to the onset of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety attacks tend to be triggered by the anticipation of a stressful event. Anxiety is marked by excessive, persistent, and recurring worry or fear. Symptoms of anxiety attacks can vary widely from person to person and range from mild to severe. However, anxiety attacks can often trigger panic attacks that present suddenly and intensely and can produce an overwhelming fear of dying or being out of control.
Short-Term Effects of Anxiety
Chronic, persistent anxiety poses many risks to our mental and physical well-being. When you are experiencing an anxiety attack, the immediate effects are apparent and include symptoms such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
We understand that enduring the symptoms of anxiety can be frightening, and coping with these can often feel overwhelming. But remember, you’re not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate this journey towards better mental health.
Long-Term Effects of Anxiety
Less obvious are the long-term effects of chronic anxiety. Studies show that long-term exposure to the stress hormones that flood the body during an anxiety attack poses serious health risks, including:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome
- Frequent migraines
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Weakened immune system
- Tensed muscles causing joint, skin, and muscle aches
- Increased risk of inflammation and pain
Having a weakened immune system makes you vulnerable to viral infections and frequent illnesses, which may be why people who suffer from anxiety are more likely to go to the doctor than those who do not have anxiety. Further, those with anxiety disorders are more likely to have co-occurring disorders such as depression and substance use disorder.
The lasting, long-term effects of anxiety on the body are significant and can lead to a host of other health complications if left unchecked. Chronic anxiety doesn’t just impact your emotional well-being, but it can also lead to physical ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal problems, highlighting the utmost importance of seeking timely help and intervention.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Best Treated?
The exact causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, but research indicates that inherited traits, trauma, underlying medical issues, extreme stress, and substance use disorders can contribute. The severity of your anxiety and how it impacts your daily functioning determine how to treat your anxiety best.
For mild anxiety, lifestyle changes are a highly effective way to manage symptoms. Lifestyle changes include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, using mindfulness techniques, limiting or avoiding substance use, and taking prescribed medications where indicated.
For moderate to severe anxiety, the best course is to seek help from an anxiety treatment center. Anxiety treatment includes medication and psychotherapy. At Harmony Hills, we offer the following evidence-based therapies to help treat anxiety disorders:
Anxiety does not usually go away altogether, but effective treatment is available, and you can learn how to manage your symptoms.
The Benefits of Professional Anxiety Treatment
An effective anxiety treatment program can be an invaluable resource for individuals seeking help to manage their anxiety symptoms. Some of the most significant benefits of professional anxiety treatment include the following:
- Getting to the root causes of your anxiety in an effort to fully heal
- Learning how to self-regulate, calm yourself down, and relax
- Developing new and healthy coping mechanisms to replace old, harmful ones
- Learning to see things in a different light to be less fearful
- Having professional support on your journey to improved mental health
It can be hard to reach out for help, but doing so could significantly improve your mental health, give you a new lease on life, and help you regain control over your anxiety.
Learn About Anxiety Treatment at Harmony Hills
Living with an anxiety disorder can be mentally and physically exhausting. While you can’t prevent an anxiety disorder, you can effectively treat your symptoms through an anxiety treatment program at Harmony Hills.
Without treatment, your anxiety disorder will not go away and will likely become worse over time. Further, if you rely on alcohol or drugs to find relief from your anxiety symptoms, you may develop co-occurring substance abuse or addiction. At Harmony Hills, we also offer substance abuse treatment for dual diagnoses. Learn more about our anxiety treatment center by calling us at 855.494.0357 or filling out our online form.