While occasional moments of anxiety are normal, people with anxiety disorders may frequently experience intense feelings of persistent worry and fear. Anxiety may also cause panic attacks or peak moments of terror and fear. Unfortunately, there’s a strong connection between anxiety and heart problems. Without anxiety management treatment, a person with a form of this disorder may suffer from permanent cardiovascular disease in the future.
What Is Anxiety?
Many people tend to confuse stress and anxiety. While the two are interconnected, they are different. Stress causes mental and physical symptoms like irritability, stomach problems, and difficulty sleeping. Anxiety, on the other hand, is characterized by persistent feelings of excessive worry, fear, and dread. Even if they were caused by a specific stressor, these feelings may not disappear in its absence.
If you’ve ever experienced moments of severe panic, then you may have wondered how anxiety affects your heart. Feeling anxious now and then is perfectly normal. Between a pandemic, jobs, school, and your personal life, you may feel overwhelmed from time to time. It’s when these moments of dread become more frequent that you may have to consider whether there’s an actual problem.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we understand that you can’t just “snap out of it.” Anxiety is a legitimate disorder that can have a severe impact on your mental and physical health. If you suffer from anxiety, we offer residential mental health treatment that can help.
How Does Anxiety Affect the Heart?
Although how anxiety affects your heart isn’t apparent in your physical appearance, it does affect your mood, behavior, and overall health. The impact of anxiety on the heart can weaken it, causing it to work twice as hard to regulate the body’s functions. Anxiety attacks can cause your chest to hurt and increase your heart rate, which are similar symptoms to those of a heart attack. Over time, anxiety symptoms can cause a host of problems.
The effects of anxiety on the heart include:
- Chest pains
- Increased heart rate (your heart rate can go as high as 150 to 250 beats per minute)
- Increase blood pressure
- Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
- Gastrointestinal problems (GU)
Frequent episodes of tachycardia (rapid heart rate) can increase the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease over time. Constant spikes in blood pressure can weaken the muscles of the heart, forcing it to work twice as hard. This may eventually cause cardiovascular disease and heart failure. Anxiety also makes falling asleep difficult. Getting enough sleep is important for regulating blood pressure and a lack of sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
How anxiety affects your heart can lead to a multitude of problems in the long run, especially for those who do not seek professional help. Rather than using natural remedies for anxiety relief, anxiety sufferers may turn to substance abuse in an attempt to manage their symptoms. This can not only worsen the symptoms of anxiety but can also lead to addiction.
If you’re struggling with your mental health or addiction, ask for help. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Palm Beach offers a variety of therapies and programs that may benefit you or a loved one. To learn more about our facility, call us now at 561-220-3981.