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Can excessive worry make me physically ill?

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Chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel. The hormones also cause physical reactions such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Nervous energy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling and twitching

From: How Worrying Affects the Body WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: “Anxiety Disorders” and "Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)."

Anxiety Disorders Association of America: “Brief Overview of Anxiety Disorders.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on August 10, 2017

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: “Anxiety Disorders” and "Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)."

Anxiety Disorders Association of America: “Brief Overview of Anxiety Disorders.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on August 10, 2017

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What are serious consequences of excessive worry?

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