How Does Anxiety Affect the Body?

Anxiety & Your Body

Whether we like it or not, stress is a feeling familiar to all of us. It’s a part of everyday life — anxiety from work, family issues, financial struggles, and more. Over time, anxiety (especially as experienced in an anxiety disorder) can leave unpleasant physical symptoms in addition to the way it affects you mentally.

Continue reading to learn more about how anxiety disorders affect the body over time, as well as treatment options available in Portland, OR, for these symptoms.

Some of the ways anxiety can affect the body physically include the following:

  • Stomach pain or gastrointestinal distress
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart
  • Sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling or shaking

Additionally, many with anxiety disorders suffer from panic attacks. Physical signs and symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • A fear of impending doom or death
  • Trouble breathing or the sensation of choking
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensations across the body
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Changes in body temperature

Other Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety affects the body in more ways than just physical. The mental or emotional symptoms of anxiety disorders can also include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty controlling your level of worry
  • Avoiding things that you feel may trigger your anxiety

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders take a number of different forms. These are not mutually exclusive, meaning you may experience two or more of these forms of anxiety at the same time.

The standard diagnosis is that of generalized anxiety disorder. If you experience panic attacks, you may instead have panic disorder.

  • Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder where you fear anything or place that might contribute to your panic, so much so you outright avoid it entirely.
  • Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood-age anxiety disorder where children have excessive anxiety for their age regarding separation from parents or authority figures.
  • Social anxiety disorder is characterized by high levels of anxiety during, and subsequent avoidance of, social situations, usually due to feelings of self-consciousness or embarrassment.

What Causes Anxiety?

The truth is, it’s different for everyone. It comes down to a number of factors like inherited traits or environment.

Medical problems or conditions sometimes linked to anxiety include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems
  • COPD, asthma, or other respiratory disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Drug or alcohol withdrawal
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Anxiety Treatment methods

Ketamine Infusions

You may be familiar with ketamine for its use as an anesthetic and pain reliever, but extensive research done in the last two decades points to ketamine also being a powerful treatment for conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, OCD, and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.


Psychotherapy, more commonly referred to as talk therapy or counseling, is a series of sessions with a trained therapist or psychologist who can walk you through various methods of combating your symptoms.


Some medications, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, have proven useful in treating anxiety disorders.

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