Anxiety can be helpful when it prompts us to take action to solve a problem. We can use our anxiety as a clue, in fact, that there is a problem, and that we need to confront it. Public speakers, athletes, and entertainers have long known that anxiety can motivate them to perform much better. When we don’t recognize our anxious feelings, or don’t have the tools to deal with them, we may continue to expose ourselves to the causes of the anxiety – and this leads to more problems.
Prolonged anxiety is demanding on our bodies and our lives in general. The constant state of “fight or flight” may cause heart palpitations, dizziness, trembling or shaking, increased blood pressure, sweating, choking, high stomach acidity, nausea, chest discomfort, or muscle spasms. We may feel detached or out of touch with reality or think we are dying or going crazy. There is evidence that prolonged anxiety can lead to heart disease and a compromised immune system. It depletes our energy and interferes with concentration. We may become abrupt with other people and engage in emotional outbursts or even physical violence. Our relationships and job security may be jeopardized. People who experience prolonged anxiety are more prone to self-destructive behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, since they may turn to these substances as a form of self-medication.
Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT
San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.