If you’re one of the many adults and teens in the United States living with chronic anxiety, you might not be aware of all of the parts of your life your condition affects. Anxiety isn’t just a mental health problem. Over the long term, chronic anxiety can also seriously impact your physical health and wellness.
Dr. Ronald P. Winfield and the team of counseling experts at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates can diagnose your anxiety disorder and recommend a treatment plan to help and support you. These are some of the issues and symptoms that Dr. Winfield often observes in his patients living with anxiety from around the North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, area.
You don’t have to live with the debilitating effects of anxiety. Get in touch with Dr. Winfield this summer for effective care and long-term relief. By taking proactive steps, you can protect and improve your physical and mental health.
1. Sleep loss
Sleep loss is such a common problem for patients living with anxiety problems that it’s considered one of the primary diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. Anxiety, fear, and panic can keep you up at night, or cause you to wake suddenly after disruptive nightmares.
In the long term, regular sleep disturbance or insufficient sleep can have serious impacts on your health and ability to function. Your body wears down, becoming more prone to infection and disease, and your mind wears down, as well. If you’re suffering from sleep loss, you might notice problems with your memory, concentration, or focusing skills.
2. Weight changes
The feelings of nervousness connected with anxiety can impact your dietary behaviors, causing weight gain or weight loss. You might not eat enough as a result of an anxiety disorder, or you might binge and eat too much as a way of self-medicating away uncomfortable emotions.
When you take control of your anxiety, you can make the changes you need to get your weight under control, as well.
3. Dental problems
Gritting or clenching your teeth can cause dental pain and damage, especially over time. You might clench or grind during the daytime hours, or clench or grind your teeth unconsciously while you’re asleep at night.
While dealing with your anxiety in a therapeutic counseling environment is an important part of protecting your teeth, you may also benefit from using a custom night guard to prevent nighttime grinding.
4. Cardiovascular problems
The physical stresses associated with chronic anxiety can cause real physical health consequences. When you’re stressed, your body produces hormones to help you rapidly respond to a potentially dangerous situation, even if you’re not in any current physical danger. Over time, exposure to these hormones can cause damage to your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease.
Your blood pressure increases in stressful situations, often dramatically. After the stress passes, your blood pressure will return to normal. However, frequent temporary periods of high blood pressure can still damage your heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. Getting anxiety-related stress under control may be key to your long-term cardiovascular health.
5. Social isolation
In addition to physical wellness, you also need social and lifestyle wellness in order to stay balanced and on-track to meet your personal life goals. Anxiety disorders, particularly those associated with social anxiety, can severely limit your ability to lead a socially healthy life filled with meaningful interpersonal interactions.
Dr. Winfield and the team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates use a variety of therapeutic tools and approaches to improve your mental health condition. Depending on your needs and symptoms, you might benefit from psychotherapy or counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy to help you manage problem situations or triggers, lifestyle changes, or medication management.
With our help, you can work through your anxiety disorder and reclaim your full quality of life. Schedule your appointment at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates by calling 978-291-6978 now, or use the online tool to book your evaluation.