Anxiety isn’t dangerous when it only happens occasionally and with good reason. It may feel like something bad is about to happen but it’s mostly psychological. You may have heard someone ask, “Can anxiety kill you?” This may sound like a silly question at first. However, when someone has an anxiety disorder, it can definitely prove dangerous to someone’s long-term health.
Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure?
Anxiety does not cause you to have high blood pressure in the long run but it can cause sharp temporary spikes in your blood pressure that can harm your health. If you get these blood pressure spikes frequently, this can wreak havoc on your blood vessels, heart, and kidney over time.
Having an anxiety disorder, according to health institutes, comes with an increased risk of suicide and heart attacks. Worrying obsessively and regularly being overstressed can trigger many health issues. These issues occur when someone’s “fight or flight” response is always triggered by excessive anxiety. This same response makes the body’s sympathetic nervous system release several stress hormones. These harmful hormones, like cortisol, boost blood sugar levels and blood fats that can cause negative physical reactions like:
- Rapid heart rate
- Having difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Intense headaches
- Anger or irritability
- Muscle pain or aches
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the chest
- ‘Jitters’ or nervous energy
- Shaking or twitching
Anxiety scares you. Whatever it is you are afraid of, it shakes you up and overwhelms you to the point that it disturbs your life. It can also bring about, or worsen, conditions like:
- Sleeping disorders (insomnia or others)
- Digestive issues
- Immune system suppression
- Premature coronary artery disease
- Bruxism (grinding of teeth)
- Substance use disorders
- Short-term memory loss
Anxiety disorder sufferers are at a higher risk for addiction (nicotine, alcohol, and others). Studies have shown that those who are addicted to alcohol are most prone to having anxiety disorders. Likewise, those with social phobia tend to rely on alcohol to boost their confidence or to relieve their anxious feelings when they’re with other people. For those who suffer from PTSD, it is common to have substance abuse and smoking addictions.
- It’s a fact that alcohol can cause anxiety. It has the potential to do so in several ways:
- You can become dehydrated which in turn, can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and weakness and this sense of being ill contributes to a person’s anxious feelings.
- You can experience a big blood sugar drop which will make you feel fatigued among other things and it can trigger anxiety due to how ill you feel as well.
- Alcohol can negatively affect the serotonin level in your brain and cause the perfect storm for an anxiety attack.
- Your nervous system can be greatly affected as your body tries to recover from the effects of alcohol. Your body goes into a hyperactive state which can make you jittery.
Mild drinking (one or two ounces a day) probably won’t affect most people but if you get zonked every Friday and Saturday at Bobby Joe’s Tavern, you are probably setting yourself up for disaster with hangover anxiety if you tend to suffer from this condition!
Aside from affecting a person’s physical, emotional, and mental health, it also overlaps to someone’s relationships with school, work, and their social circle. Studies have shown that more than 10% of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder missed at least one week of work within a month. A survey of OCD sufferers reported that around 40% of them had to resign or stop working because of how their disorder affected them. A study on those with social phobia showed that they were far more likely to drop out of school or score lower than average regardless of whether they were depressed or not.
So, Can Anxiety Kill You or Not?
Having an anxiety disorder doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Though there are many risks if it’s left unattended or untreated for too long, there’s no better day than today to start healing. It is highly treatable and many have found freedom from their debilitating fears.
Getting back to the original question, “Can anxiety kill you?” the answer appears very clear. Taking many points into consideration, it’s clear that it can definitely contribute to many conditions and illnesses which can lead to death. So, the answer is a resounding “yes”.