5 Sneaky Ways Anxiety Makes Your Body Sick

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5 Ways Anxiety Is Making Your Body Sick

There's a lot of stigma against mental illness in this country — heck, in this world! The fact that all of this stigma exists is part of why I make it my business to talk out loud and often about my own experiences managing my mental illness. If I can reach one person and not make them feel alone, isolated, or like a weirdo, then I've done my job! 

When people don't understand the side effects of anxiety or even the signs of anxiety, they often say it's "all in your head." These people may be well-intentioned and they may be right, but telling a person a problem is just in their head... that's not going to make them feel better at all. Because your head is the only one you have, and, if you're even remotely hip to how the human organism works, your "head" is directly responsible for everything else that goes on in your body.

RELATED: How To Explain Anxiety To People Who Always Ask What You Could Possibly Have To Worry About

Anxiety can make you feel keyed up, nervous, panicky, sweaty, embarrassed, and crazy — and those are just a few of the mental symptoms sufferers like me enjoy on the regular. Lots of people with anxiety experience their own vast array of bizarre symptoms — I get tingly everywhere and also music sounds wrong! Whee! 

But it isn't just mental symptoms that afflict people with anxiety. In fact, some people aren't even ever diagnosed with the condition until they go to see their doctor for some other totally random physical complaint. That's because a lot of the worst parts about having anxiety actually effect your body, too.

Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you it's all in your head, and then kindly tell them to explain that to your near constant state of nausea and flailing immune system.

Anxiety is real. It isn't just not wanting to go out. It isn't being worried that you have a big test coming up, or an important meeting with a boss. It isn't worrying that your crush hasn't texted you back.

It's being unable to let yourself sleep because you're sure you'll die. It's fainting on the train when you think about the amount that is expected of you. It's being rushed to the hospital with heart palpitations. It's real, and in some cases if left untreated, it can absolutely be deadly. 

There are many, many ways that anxiety can make your body sick. I've chosen 5 of the big ones just to give you a taste of the side effects of anxiety. I'll be frank with you: it's anything but pretty. 

1. You're constantly sick.

Hey, guess what? Anxiety lowers your immune system. So if you're an anxious person, chances are you're probably also a person who is frequently ill. This is not a coincidence. With your body constantly in "flight" mode, it can take a real toll on your body and this is a perfect example of that.

RELATED: 5 Ways Anxiety Affects Your Life (That No One Ever Talks About)

2. You suffer from dry mouth and acid reflux.

When you are stressed or anxious, your body produces more acid. That's right, more acid leads to acid reflux making for lots of GI woes and for one very dry mouth. 

3. You have a loss of appetite.

You know how sometimes when you're nervous you lose your appetite? That's again because of your body being in fight-or-flight mode. It's not normal to stop and graze when a predator is getting ready to strike, and that's what your anxious body in "flight" mode looks like.

4. You experience chest pain.

You aren't having a heart attack when you have a panic attack, but it can feel that way. That's because when you're anxious, you change the way you breathe (your body thinks you need to get ready to run away from something). Sudden changes in your oxygen levels can lead to issues with breathing and the chest pain that so many people associate with anxiety. 

5. You're nauseous. 

When you're anxious it sends waves of different hormones through your body. One of those hormones is adrenaline which essentially rapidly changes the rate at which different systems in your body operate. One of those systems is the alimentary system, known to us common folks as the gut. If you feel like you're going to puke or pass out and you're an anxious person who is otherwise healthy, this could be why! 

RELATED: 30 Reasons People With Anxiety Can't Fall Asleep At Night

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark, on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.