Anxiety can strike any person at any time, and while there is no denying it is unpleasant, for most people, it is a temporary state brought on by a particular situation or event. However, for some people, anxiety becomes a way of life. Even when they are no longer in a stressful or traumatic situation, their body is poised for fight or flight.
Living in this state can be dangerous, with potentially severe consequences on both physical and mental health. We all know about the emotional and mental toll that anxiety can cause, including the behavioral signs of anxiety in ourselves and others, but this article explores the physical impact on someone who lives with chronic anxiety.
How does anxiety physically affect the body?
When we experience anxiety for a short period of time, common symptoms include a faster heart rate, increased breathing rate, sweating, palpitations, and/or feeling nauseous or lightheaded. We might feel this way before an important meeting, a date, a performance, or a job interview, but the symptoms subside when we are no longer in the situation. These feelings are related to the brain’s preparations for fight or flight and are a natural part of our physiology.
However, when someone is predisposed to feelings of anxiety and/or experiences a traumatic event, their body may be constantly in this state and prone to panic attacks for seemingly no logical reason. Over time, this can cause damage to the body in several ways.
Damage to the central nervous system
Anxiety and panic attacks prompt the brain to release stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) which are intended to help you deal with a threat. On a short-term basis, these hormones are useful, but when released too regularly, they can lead to dizziness, headaches, depression, and weight gain.
Damage to the cardiovascular system
When we are anxious, our heart rate increases, and we may experience palpitations and chest pains. When this happens on a regular basis, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and life-threatening coronary events.
Damage to the digestive system
Many people find that anxiety also impacts their digestive system leading to constipation, diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, and other issues. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often linked with chronic anxiety disorders for this reason.
Compromised immune system
When your body is in a state of fight or flight, adrenaline is released to speed up the heart rate and breathing. This is intended to increase the amount of oxygen received by the brain so you can avoid a potential threat. This response will strengthen the immune system in the short-term, and then return to normal. However, when you feel anxious on a regular basis, your body believes it is never safe to return to ‘normal.’ This can weaken the immune system over time, which makes you more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
Damage to the respiratory system
At times of high anxiety, we tend to breathe rapidly with shallow breaths. For people with existing respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anxiety can cause serious complications.
SGB treatment for anxiety
If you are living with chronic anxiety or PTSD or are looking for an anxiety attack treatment, it is time to act and prevent further damage to your mental and physical health. The stellate ganglion block injection for anxiety relief (SGB) can interrupt the symptoms of anxiety and help you return to a calmer, untraumatized state of mind.
Unlike other types of anxiety therapy, the stellate ganglion block anxiety and PTSD breakthrough injection can help in overcoming anxiety in as little as 30 minutes. In the SGB anxiety procedure, a doctor, uses an ultrasound or x-ray machine to guide an injection into the stellate ganglion, a cluster of nerves in the back of the neck that regulates the fight-or-flight instinct in your brain. The SGB injection for anxiety numbs this region, helping reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
If you’re interested in learning more about the SGB shot for anxiety, contact us for more information today. We can help you decide if getting an SGB injection near you is the right choice.