The Short-Term & Long-Term Physical Effects of Anxiety & Impact On My Health
In the short term, anxiety can cause dramatic spikes in your blood pressure, but it doesn’t result in high blood pressure in the long term. However, if these episodes of anxiety start occurring every day, they can damage your blood vessels, your heart, and your kidneys in the same way that chronic hypertension does. Making matters worse, men with ongoing and untreated anxiety are at risk for heavy smoking, drinking too much, and overeating — all of which increase their chances of hypertension and heart disease. This is important for men to keep in mind, because they are at greater risk than women for both hypertension and fatal heart disease.
The amygdala (or amygdalae; there’s one on each side of your brain) plays an important role in the neurobiology of anxiety. It is responsible for processing and storing memories associated with emotional events — including anxiety and the “fight or flight” response — and works closely with high-level executive structures of the brain to regulate emotional processes. The amygdala is believed to be a major player in the learning of “conditioned” fear, in which a stimulus becomes liked with a behavioral reaction (think Pavlov’s dogs). People with an overactive amygdala may have a heightened response to fear, which can cause increased anxiety in social situations. In the majority of cases, anxiety therapy or talk therapy is effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of anxiety.
“Talk therapy” – or psychotherapy or counseling – is a proven effective way to reduce anxiety, and to feel better about yourself and your life.
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