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How Anxiety Can Increase Pain Sensitivity

How Anxiety Can Increase Pain SensitivityThousands of people across the country struggle with an anxiety disorder. Many anxiety triggers for these people are work-related and personal stress, financial difficulties, and residual effects from a traumatic event. An unexpected side effect for many anxiety sufferers is an increased sensitivity to physical pain.

How Anxiety Produces Increased Feelings of Pain

The physical response to anxiety can become extremely painful. The body reacts to anxiety by doing the following:

  • Releasing hormones – When stress is caused by feelings of anxiety, the body releases cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that signal danger. Adrenaline can trigger a person’s fight or flight response stimulating symptoms such as difficulty breathing, pressure on the chest, numbness in limbs, racing heartbeat, and muscular twitching. Cortisol can make it difficult for a person to understand that their reaction is due to their anxiety, as their cognition becomes impaired with its release.
  • Blood sugar and triglycerides – As both adrenaline and cortisol are released in the body, blood sugar and triglyceride levels begin to increase, which also cause physical pain in the body. This occurs as the body begins to use both the blood sugar and triglycerides in the body as fuel for the pain associated with the panic attack.

How Feelings of Pain Can Cause Illness

The very real feelings of pain that a user can experience during a panic attack can in fact lead to physical illness, as the immune system has been shocked by the physical exhaustion of the attack. Some of the illnesses associated with pain caused by panic attacks can include:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle tension
  • Heart attack

While some pain might seem temporary, the more extreme the panic attack, the more likely the person is to experience these health issues.

Getting Help

It is not healthy to live with a panic or anxiety disorder. Avoiding help can lead to these above symptoms growing worse or a continuous cycle of physical pain. In treatment, a person can gain coping skills through talk therapy as well as medication designed to help decrease the body’s response to anxiety.

Do You Need Help with Your Anxiety Disorder?

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to get the support you need to live without panic attacks. Do not let one more panic attack happen without getting help. Call us today.

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