Did you know anxiety and stress disorders are the most frequent mental ailments in Australia, impacting 2 million individuals each year? While anxiety disorders are generally manageable, only few people who suffer from them acquire treatments.
Anxiety and stress are not fatal, but they can badly affect your mental and physical health. Moreover, if not addressed, anxiety can bring short-term and long-term effects.
This article will talk about anxiety disorders and how they can affect your brain health. So let's learn about it:
What is Anxiety?
If you think that anxiety and stress are the same things, then that is not. Anxiety is the response of your brain and body to distressing, frightening, or unexpected events.
Anxiety is characterized by a constant state of intense, overwhelming, and chronic worry and fear. Moreover, it is also acceptable to some extent.
For instance, a few minutes before a momentous occasion, you might feel nervous, worried, or even frightened. However, anxiety disorders are distinct, not the same.
When you have an anxiety disorder, the level of stress and panic you experience can be totally crippling. This is particularly evident if your anxiousness isn't triggered by anything particular.
Anxiety thoughts create a persistent sense of stress and panic when this transpires. When you're stuck and don't know what to do, your body unleashes a flood of stress chemicals.
4 Salient Effects of Anxiety On Your Mental Health
Anxiety Overflows Your Brain with Stress Hormones
When you're upset, your body turns into defense mode, signaling your mind to brace for a "flight or fight" response. Your central nervous system fills with cortisol and adrenaline to assist you in overcoming anything that has left you worried.
These chemicals alert your system that something frightening might be about to occur, with the primary job to assist you in dealing with risk.
They achieve your danger dealing abilities by sharpening your perceptions and quickening your responses.
And after the danger passes, the sympathetic portion of your neurological program gets over. It settles you up in a relaxed mindset. But that's for normal beings.
When you have an anxiety disorder, you might not be capable of achieving that sense of calmness even after the danger passes.
Instead, the rush of stress hormones causes your brain to release even more stress hormones until you're simply overwhelmed. Conversely, the surge of stress chemicals drives your system to generate extra until you're completely swamped.
The usual anxiety level can rise if excessive amounts of stressful chemicals enter the brain constantly. You could progress from minor stress, which most people deal with daily, to severe anxiety disorders.
Suppose your mind tends to be extremely reactive to anxiety. In that case, your anxiety may rise to the point where you're incapable of thinking appropriately. So seeking help in the beginning helps you cope with your anxiety disorders from getting worse.
2. Anxiety Makes Your Brain Agitated to Threats
Anxiety can lead your mind to become hypersensitive to dangers. Your amygdala expands whenever you experience anxiety continuously.
The amygdala is a little almond-shaped component in the limbic system, which is the region of your brain that controls emotional states. The amygdala is a gatekeeper in your central nervous system, always scanning for threats or dangers.
When the amygdala detects a threat, it transmits a communication to the hypothalamus, triggering the "fight or flight" response. The amygdala is a significant and reactive structure in the anxious mind.
As a result, the amygdala generates a lot of misleading signals. A hyperactive amygdala can be compared to a watchdog who barks too much.
The amygdala, which is hyperactive, gives out so many bogus signals that your brain perceives risks also in non-threatening settings. That's why persons with anxiety and depression are more likely to feel endangered than those who don't.
3. Anxiety Can Make It Hard for Your Brain to Solve Problems
Your rational thinking and logical response occur in the brain's prefrontal cortex or PFC part. Whenever your amygdala sends brain signals of danger, the PFC needs to take effect and assist you in making logical decisions.
But here is a catch. If you agonize from an anxiety disorder, the amygdala and PFC connection weaken.
The PFC might be thought of as your mind's experienced counselor. Your PFC guarantees that you can process circumstances logically, make well-informed choices, and assist you in problem-solving; this weak relationship can affect your problem-solving skills.
When the amygdala alarms, the prefrontal cortex replies sensibly in non-anxious brains. But in anxious brains, this procedure isn't the same.
The link between the amygdala and the PFC is inadequate. When the amygdala warns the PFC of danger, it leads to irrational thinking and chaotic actions.
4. Anxiety Can Train Your Brain to Hold Onto Negative Memories
When you suffer from anxiety disorders, your whole body suffers from stress. And this stress is undoubtedly not without consequences.
It shrinks your hippocampus, which is part of the brain responsible for processing long-term and circumstantial memories.
But how does the shrinking of the hippocampus affect your mental health? It might grow more challenging for the brain to keep onto thoughts as the hippocampal part shrinks.
Yet here's the catch: anxiety fools the hippocampus into believing that anxiety-related events are harmless to keep and remember.
As a result, some memories you retain will be associated with anxiousness. In other words, anxiety reprograms your brain to recall loss, danger, and disaster.
Experiences of happiness, success, and safety, for example, are tucked away at the bottom of your brain.
Get Help with Your Anxiety and Stress Disorders!
Anxiety disorder affects not only your mental health but also your physical health. So seeking medical attention is a must to relieve your anxiety disorder.