In the short term, anxiety increases your breathing and heart rate, concentrating blood flow to your brain, where you need it. This very physical response is preparing you to face an intense situation. If it gets too intense, however, you might start to feel lightheaded and nauseous.
Anxiety causes a heavy head feeling because of tension headaches common in people living with the disorder. Most people describe these headaches as feeling like a tight band wrapped around their heads. A tightening of the scalp and neck muscles also causes an anxiety headache.
Summary: Pathological anxiety and chronic stress lead to structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the PFC, which may account for the increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and dementia.
Some common mental symptoms of anxiety include:
Feeling nervous, restless or tense. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom. Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry. Having difficulty controlling worry.
Feeling nervous, restless or tense. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom. Having an increased heart rate. Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
The amygdala, located deep inside the brain, is part of the emotional brain. According to this theory, we only feel anxiety when signals from the emotional brain overpower the cognitive brain, and into our consciousness.
Brain fog can be a symptom of a nutrient deficiency, sleep disorder, bacterial overgrowth from overconsumption of sugar, depression, or even a thyroid condition. Other common brain fog causes include eating too much and too often, inactivity, not getting enough sleep, chronic stress, and a poor diet.
A little anxiety is fine, but long-term anxiety may cause more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension). You may also be more likely to develop infections. If you're feeling anxious all the time, or it's affecting your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.
If Left Untreated, Anxiety Wreaks Havoc on Our Brains
Untreated anxiety can result in changes to the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. This impaired functioning may increase the risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and dementia.
Episodic tension-type headaches can last from 30 minutes to a week. Frequent episodic tension-type headaches occur less than 15 days a month for at least three months. Frequent episodic tension-type headaches may become chronic.
But researchers don't know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role: Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
The dizziness that accompanies anxiety is often described as a sense of lightheadedness or wooziness. There may be a feeling of motion or spinning inside rather than in the environment. Sometimes there is a sense of swaying even though you are standing still.
Stress. Daily stressors like traffic jams or missing your train can cause anyone anxiety. But long-term or chronic stress can lead to long-term anxiety and worsening symptoms, as well as other health problems. Stress can also lead to behaviors like skipping meals, drinking alcohol, or not getting enough sleep.
It's okay to feel anxious, but not all of the time. If you feel that you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms in your daily life or to an intense degree, you may have an anxiety disorder. It's important to reach out to a mental health care provider to help confirm a diagnosis.
Epinephrine is just one chemical involved in your body's response to anxiety. Other chemicals may also play a role. For example, a serotonin imbalance¹ may contribute to anxiety, as can high cortisol levels. However, epinephrine is the primary chemical because it is directly involved in your anxiety symptoms.
feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax. having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst. feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down. feeling like other people can see you're anxious and are looking at you.
Brain fog anxiety happens when a person feels anxious and also has difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly. Many conditions may cause anxiety and brain fog, including mental health diagnoses and physical illnesses. It is normal to experience occasional brain fog and anxiety, especially during times of high stress.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders are thought to be a disruption of the emotional processing center in the brain rather than the higher cognitive centers. The brain's limbic system, comprised of the hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus and thalamus, is responsible for the majority of emotional processing.
Panic attacks are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. Physical symptoms can include trouble breathing, chest pain, dizziness and sweating.
The term "nervous breakdown" is sometimes used by people to describe a stressful situation in which they're temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. It's commonly understood to occur when life's demands become physically and emotionally overwhelming.
Stress or anxiety: Worrying, overthinking, and conflicts can trigger a tension headache. Hunger or dehydration: When your body is lacking in nutrients and fluid, it can manifest as a headache.
If you're concerned about your feelings of anxiety, that's reason enough to talk with your doctor — there's no need to wait. You don't need to have all of the anxiety symptoms to speak up about them, and you shouldn't wait until they worsen, or you develop new ones.
To diagnose an anxiety disorder, a doctor performs a physical exam, asks about your symptoms, and recommends a blood test, which helps the doctor determine if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, may be causing your symptoms. The doctor may also ask about any medications you are taking.