Science

Learn to recognize the symptoms of anxiety in your body

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In Spain, around 6.7% of the population (more than three million people) suffers from anxiety. A percentage that only includes those people who have been diagnosed.

The percentage of women suffering from depression or anxiety it is significantly higher than that of men, according to data from the World Health Organization. While 70% of them have mental health problems, in them the probability is reduced to 30%.

Gina Rippon, neuroimaging specialist, explains in a Article that there is no scientific basis that can explain why women suffer from certain disorders more frequently or why they are more prone to mental health problems. However, it does indicate that cultural construction and gender role they can influence.

[Navidad tiempo de ansiedad: ¿por qué no siempre son días felices?]

symptoms of anxiety

One of the ways to recognize whether or not we have anxiety is knowing precisely how it manifests itself in our body. The Mayo Clinic defines the following physical signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep disorders

  • Muscle tension or muscle pain

  • tremor, agitation

  • Nervousness or tendency to startle

  • sweating

  • Nausea, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome

  • Irritability

Beyond the physical symptoms, it is also important to mention other symptoms that are equally common in an anxiety disorder and that should not be overlooked:

  • excessive worry: In anxiety disorders, a disproportionate concern about the events that are triggering it is usually experienced. For this to be taken into account in a case of anxiety disorder, the worry should be present on most days and be difficult for the person suffering from it to control.

  • Agitation: With anxiety, part of our sympathetic nervous system is enhanced, which triggers a series of effects in the body such as: accelerated pulse, sweaty palms, tremors, dry mouth…

    It is a defense system of the body that is put into operation by that supposed threat in the form of anxiety that it is perceiving and that causes blood to be diverted from the digestive system to the muscles in case we need to run or fight against that threat. This translates into a high level of agitation.

  • Feeling tired or fatigued: Fatigue is another of the common symptoms in cases of generalized anxiety and this can be a fatigue caused after an anxiety attack or chronic fatigue. Still, it’s not clear whether that tiredness may be associated with insomnia and muscle tension or the hormonal effects of chronic anxiety.

  • Lack of concentration: Another symptom that is often related to anxiety is difficulty concentrating, especially in the case of children and adolescents. Something that could be related to the fact that, according to some studies, anxiety can interrupt working memory, which is responsible for retaining information in the short term.

  • Difficulty to sleep: Sleep disorders are also related to anxiety disorders, to the point that some studies suggest that suffering from insomnia in childhood may be related to the development of anxiety in adulthood. What is not entirely clear is whether insomnia contributes to anxiety or, conversely, anxiety is responsible for insomnia.

What to do to reduce it?

In addition to going to therapy, it is important that you combine this help from an expert with a lifestyle and habits that can help you keep that anxiety under control.

  • reduce caffeine: Both caffeine and tea are drinks that stimulate the nervous system and can accentuate the symptoms of anxiety. This is one of the main reasons why you should reduce your consumption.

  • healthy diet and exercise: In addition to guaranteeing good health, eating well and exercising helps reduce that feeling of stress and improves our mood thanks to the release of substances such as: dopamine, serotonin or endorphin, among others.

  • give yourself time to rest: It is as important to stay active as to know when it is time to rest your body and mind or directly to sleep. Staying rested will help you leave anxiety behind.

  • Meditation: Nowadays, there are different adapted meditation programs. Through them and helping you to control your breathing or relaxation, you will be able to relax the body on a physical level and the mind, controlling thought. It is a practice that, carried out constantly, can be very effective in reducing anxiety.

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