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Can extreme anxiety damage your health?


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If you have an episode of extreme anxiety, not a panic attack, can this affect your physical health?

Can the racing heart bring on a heart attack or raise blood pressure in someone who has unstable blood pressure? Would fast breathing affect someone who has poorly controlled asthma?

Stress can have physical effects I think, like raise blood pressure etc. Is extreme anxiety the same as stress in any way?

Love to hear your thoughts.


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My understanding is that the para-sympathetic nervous system is there to keep things in check and prevent any serious/permanaent damage but I'm not a doctor. But I think the bottom line is that the sooner we get a handle on managing our anxieties the better it is for our long term health. I also like what Malign had to say about giving yourself another thing to worry about.

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  • 2 weeks later...

IMO, Yes. Prolonged and untreated , extremed Anxiety will have a negative affect on ones health. My Guess would be, High blood Pressure, Fast Heart rate, Breathing problems, Blood Circulation Problems, Chemical imbalances , Eating Disturbances, Sleeping Disturbance, Mood Changes, Fears, or Phobias, and the longer this is left untreated the worse damage it will have on the overall functioning and well being of the health of the individual.

I also have Anxiety issues, along with PTSD, which makes it extremely difficult for me to personnaly go outside and even to the store. the medication I take makes me very loopy, or tired, too relaxed, but very calm. However, as long as I stay at home, "well protected" I am safe .

Goose, I went back and re read your post, One eposoide , of anxiety even if it is that of an extreme nature is probably NOT going to damage ones health, however prolonged extreme Anxiety left untreated , then YES. I feel that it is something to discuss with your MD.

Edited by mscat
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  • 4 months later...

Paula, give cbt a try. It has helped me change my thinking and even though I am finished I still counter my thoughts daily in my TEA forms I have grown so much and reduced my anxiety and associated problems to a remakable degree. If you can't afford individual CBT you can still learn it through books. I would recommend checking out the one by Sam Obitz and trying out the TEA form exercise. Do them for a few months and I bet you will feel a lot better.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Goose,

Life always has issues that cause stress and that cause anxieties. It is how we deal with these stresses and anxieties that determines the health effects. Unbridled and uncontrolled and chronic stress reactions (fight vs.fight, adrenaline rushes, etc) can have an adverse affect on health. The key word here is "chronic" meaning it never goes away. This is why exercise, meditation, relaxation, healthy eating, are all so important.

In someone with asthma, the non allergic type, panic can set off an asthma attack. Drs. usually warn their asthma patients about that.

Increased rates of breathing due to anxiety and panic do not cause heart attacks.

Normally blood pressure goes up and down. Of course, someone with high blood pressure needs to have it treated to prevent problems whether they have stress or not.

More than anything, it is worrying about these things that is worse for health. Fear about anxiety makes anxiety worse. Whether you have asthma, high blood pressure or any other condition, see you Doctor and have it treated. No, people do not die of these things unless they ignore the symptoms for many years.

I hope this helps.

Allan :)

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