Anxiety

Can Anxiety Make You Feel Physically Ill?

For most individuals, the thought of experiencing anxiety brings to mind moments of excessive stress and worry. They think of their personal fears and experience a constant sensation of worry that something is going to go wrong at any moment.

In addition to extreme stress and worry, anxiety has a significant impact on a person’s physical health. One of the most common effects is feeling ill when anxiety begins to set in.

This doesn’t even take into account how an addiction impacts feelings of stress and anxiety, or how anxiety can drive someone to continue abusing substances.

This type of emotional experience and coexisting substance use disorder is like a perpetual cycle in which you vacillate from symptoms to substance use and back, never really knowing which one started first or how to stop both from controlling your life.

Does Anxiety Make You Ill?

Feeling sick or ill is a common symptom associated with excessive anxiety. Anxiety activates your stress response, which has a tremendous impact on your overall health. The changes caused by the stress response can make your body feel ill.

Some of the actual physical reactions to anxiety include:

  • An increase in blood sugar to give your body an instant boost
  • An overly stimulated nervous system
  • Tightened body muscles in preparation of perceived danger

Many of these stress responses can leave you feeling ill with muscle pain, nausea, excessive sweating, and a general feeling of sickness. This feeling of uneasiness isn’t related to any one symptom, but there can certainly be an overall sensation that there’s something physically wrong that you can’t describe or put your finger on. This is anxiety.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

The list of physical symptoms associated with anxiety can be extensive, depending on how long you’ve been experiencing excessive stress and how severe your addiction has become.

Here are a few examples of how excessive feelings of anxiety impact your physical well-being.

  • Experiencing Consistent Headaches

It’s common to experience frequent headaches when you deal with excessive anxiety. The actual start of your headaches may happen when you’re in a situation that is causing your stress to spike. However, they may also develop as a result of the stress your body is going through due to the constant feeling of anxiety.1

  • Dealing with a Rapid Heartbeat

In the middle of an anxiety attack, you may start to experience a rapid heart rate or feel your heart pounding in your chest. This can frequently happen if you often feel anxious due to the stimulation that your nervous system is constantly experiencing.1

  • Experiencing Shortness of Breath

Many people who deal with excessive anxiety report they have a hard time breathing when faced with anxiety-inducing scenarios. Your breathing may become short and rapid, and you may even hyperventilate.

  • Feeling Nauseated

Many individuals deal with feeling nauseated when they experience an excessive amount of anxiety. You may feel nauseated right after eating or whenever you’re in a nervous situation due to the excessive emotions you’re constantly processing.

  • Dizziness and Feeling Lightheaded

Due to shortness of breath and rapid heart rate, many people also experience lightheadedness when they’re having an anxiety attack or are in high-anxiety scenarios.1

  • Unexplained Pain

Research has indicated some people have unexplained pain (that has no medical cause) when they’re excessively anxious.

One study found that, in a vast number of patients with unexplained painful physical symptoms, many of them had high anxiety. Approximately 45% of people dealing with high anxiety report experiencing unexplained pain as well.

The Link Between Anxiety and Substance Use

Dealing with excessive anxiety commonly overlaps with substance use disorders. While the exact reasoning why a person develops co-occurring anxiety and addiction remains unclear, self-medication is thought to play an important role.

When an individual decides to use a substance to manage their excessive anxiety and stress, it’s commonly referred to as self-medicating.

Anxiety and Substance Use Are Co-Occurring Disorders

Having a dual diagnosis is when you experience mental health issues alongside a diagnosed substance use disorder.

If you find yourself living with a substance addiction and, at the same time, trying to consistently manage feelings of excessive anxiety, you may be dealing with a co-occurring disorder and need clinical assistance.

Finding a treatment facility that can accurately diagnose both disorders and treat them effectively is imperative to reclaiming your life and achieving sustained sobriety.

This clinical focus enables you to address all the symptoms you’re experiencing and learn improved methods to manage and maintain your health and well-being.

Holistic Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

With customized treatment plans that fit your unique recovery needs and offering an alternative to the traditional twelve-step program, Ranch Creek Recovery’s holistic dual diagnosis treatment services will help you better understand and learn how to manage your mental health issues; stop abusing drugs and/or alcohol; and forge a fulfilling, clean future.

Our treatment programs only accept six clients at a time. This allows us to provide your loved one with complete, individualized care and 24/7 support.

Through every dual diagnosis treatment program, holistic mindfulness and addiction recovery walk hand in hand, helping you center your mind, body and spirit as you begin to forge a new, sober life.

Learn more about our dual diagnosis addiction treatment programs.

Contact us today to get your questions answered.