What Can Happen if Anxiety Goes Untreated?
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Sometimes the symptoms of anxiety can be hard to recognize or easy to ignore. Anxiety makes a person feel nervous and tense and can cause restlessness. However, it is a perfectly normal feeling to have when facing something in your life that you may be stressed or concerned about, like a big school project or public speaking engagement.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can develop if feelings of anxiety become too intense or don’t seem to lessen over time. If you are experiencing GAD, you might feel like you’re under a constant cloud of stress or dread. These feelings can impact your ability to fulfill your obligations and affect your quality of life. In some cases, it can have serious long-term health consequences if left untreated.
What Happens Physically When You Are Experiencing Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health challenge, but there are some physical symptoms that your body experiences in response to anxiety. You may feel like your heart is pounding and you can’t catch your breath. This may cause you to feel dizzy or nauseous. Sometimes anxiety can lead to unexplained headaches or other aches and pains. You may also sweat more or need to use the bathroom more frequently.
Anxiety can also interrupt your sleep habits. You might find it very difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Feeling exhausted because you are constantly stressed and unable to rest is common. This can contribute to feelings of irritability or affect your ability to concentrate. A vicious cycle is then created because being tired, feeling irritable, and having lower productivity can cause you to feel more anxious as well.
If left untreated, anxiety can have long-term mental and physical effects on your health. Anxiety disorders can increase your risk for things like obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Lack of consistent and quality sleep over a long period of time can contribute to these risks.
Co-Occurring Mental Health Concerns
There are some mental health disorders that can occur at the same time as anxiety disorders. Sometimes these challenges can develop at the same time. Other times, one condition may trigger another one to develop. If a person is experiencing symptoms of more than one mental health challenge, it is vital to be correctly diagnosed and treated for each one individually.
Depression and Anxiety
Living with constant anxiety and feelings of stress can be overwhelming and lead to the development of depression. A person might begin to feel hopeless and unfulfilled. Depression and anxiety disorders are commonly experienced at the same time and can have some of the same long-term effects on health. Both depression and anxiety symptoms can be debilitating if left untreated.
Bipolar disorder is another common mental health disorder that can occur alongside anxiety disorders. Bipolar disorder is a mental health challenge that causes a person to experience alternating states of mania and depression. When a person is experiencing a manic episode, they may feel invincible and euphoric and have trouble with impulsivity.
During a depressive episode, they experience the opposite, feeling extremely low and unable to accomplish anything. Anxiety can accompany both manic and depressive states, and a person may experience anxiety worrying about when the next extreme mood swing may hit.
Substance Use Disorder
Sometimes anxiety disorders can contribute to the development of substance use disorder (SUD). When a person is struggling with an anxiety disorder, they may turn to substance use as a way to cope with feeling uncomfortable or out of control. If substance use replaces healthy coping skills, this can become a bigger problem.
Treatment Options for Anxiety
Treatment for anxiety disorders often includes a combination of prescription medications and psychotherapy. A medical professional might recommend various medications for anxiety symptoms, the most common of which affects how the brain responds to serotonin. It is crucial to follow our treatment plan consistently and communicate with your doctor about how you are feeling during the process of finding the most suitable medication for you.
An essential part of treatment for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy. Learning to understand the root of your anxieties by examining your thought patterns and discussing your feelings can be extremely helpful. You can also develop coping skills to deal with your anxiety on a day-to-day basis. Working through your uncomfortable feelings and thoughts with a mental health professional can help you make changes that will benefit your overall mental health.
Treatment at Alter Wellness Care
At Alter Wellness Care, we have a variety of evidence-based treatments and resources that can help you manage any mental health concerns you may have, including anxiety. One of our most effective psychotherapy options for anxiety treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps you examine the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can help you address any unhealthy factors contributing to your anxiety.
Our unique holistic approach to mental health at Alter Wellness Care allows us to address our clients as whole people. It is our philosophy to look at all the things that you need to feel satisfaction and overall wellness in your life. We will do everything we can to help you feel welcome and taken care of.
Dealing with symptoms of anxiety can be challenging day-to-day, but if left untreated, anxiety can contribute to long-term mental and physical health problems. Finding healthy coping skills and ways to manage anxiety is essential, including medication treatment and psychotherapy if necessary. At Alter Wellness Care, we understand the effect that anxiety can have on a person’s life, and we want to help you reduce the symptoms affecting your life. We are dedicated to working with our clients to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets their needs and fits into their lifestyles. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 to find out more information on the resources we have available for you.
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