Psychosomatic Symptoms and Anxiety

The mind is a very powerful thing. It has the ability to heal you, as the placebo effect has shown. Unfortunately, it also can make you very ill. This is especially true if you are someone who is chronically negative. Anger and anxiety, two forms of negative emotions, have both been found to take a serious toll on a person's health. This is especially true when it comes to anxiety. Here are some of the ways that anxiety can cause psychosomatic symptoms, and how those symptoms can affect your health in real ways:

Stomach Issues
Stomach problems are one of the most common issues associated with anxiety. An anxious state can include heartburn, acid reflux, lack of appetite, overeating, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhea. Though this may be brought on initially by anxiety, constant stress can morph quickly into real medical problems like ulcers.

Headaches
Stress headaches and tension headaches are another common problem that anxiety can bring. These can be in the form of migraines or cluster headaches, but they can also be due to stress-related bruxism, or tooth grinding. This can escalate into larger problems like TMJ when left unadressed. Though tension headaches can happen to anyone with anxiety, migraine headaches need a genetic predisposition as well.

Heart or Chest Issues
Anxiety in its worst form can cause panic attacks, and these will often mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. They can include heart palpatations, pain radiating up and down one arm, massive pounding of the heart and a feeling of being crushed in the chest. A doctor can quickly diagnose the difference between a true cardiac issue and one that has been brought on by anxiety, and they will often prescribe medications for calming anxiety if you are admitted into the hospital. The fear and pain associated with a heart-centered panic attack can be extreme.

Miscarriage
One of the most real issues that can be brought on by anxiety is early miscarriage. There have been some studies that show that many women with high cortisol levels in their blood will spontaneously miscarriage, often before they even miss a period. The first three months, a fetus is very sensitive to the stress and anxiety hormone cortisol, and it may take special effort to keep a baby past the first trimester when this happens. This can be doubly complicated due to the fact that many antianxiety medications are not recommended during pregnancy. Several antidepressants, however, have been shown to be better on the growing fetus than leaving a pregnant mother unmedicated if she is shown to have a clinically diagnosed mental illness. Making this decision often requires a long, candid talk with your doctor about best case scenarios.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "Psychosomatic Symptoms and Anxiety," in PsychologyDictionary.org, March 25, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/psychosomatic-symptoms-and-anxiety/ (accessed August 24, 2019).
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