Most people have heard of the mind/body connection, how the psychological or emotional state can influence body functions. The stress response is especially powerful in the way it is reflected by the physical state. When anxiety hits, the body responds with a spike in cortisol, nicknamed the stress hormone. This causes the fight or flight response in the body, including heart palpitations.
Whether it is due to chronic generalized anxiety disorder or sudden panic disorder symptoms, heart palpitations are unnerving. The heart may beat rapidly, produce a flutter effect, or even seem to skip beats, causing the individual to fear an oncoming heart attack. While these symptoms can be a sign of heart conditions, such as arterial fibrillation, in most cases they are the direct result of anxiety.
Generally, when heart palpitations suddenly emerge the symptoms will fade away as nerves calm down. However, in some individuals anxiety palpitations last all day, creating a fear of a potential serious heart issue. When anxiety palpitations last all day long it is always advisable to see a doctor who can examine heart function.
About Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a natural psychological and physiological response when confronting a frightening or distressing situation. As humans, we are hardwired to recognize these symptoms in order to make a snap survival decision, to flee or fight. However, when the stress response becomes chronic and disordered it is referred to as an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders come in a variety of forms. Each type of anxiety with have excessive worry or fear at its central core, and then specific features that differentiate one type of anxiety disorder from another. Types of anxiety disorder include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
All of these types of anxiety can produce heart palpitations as a regular symptom. Some, however, have a more punctuated physical response to stress, such as panic disorder and PTSD.
How Anxiety Can Affect the Body
The effects of anxiety on the human body can be sporadic or persistent, depending on the type of trigger, the number of and prevalence of the triggers, and the severity of the anxiety disorder. In addition to heart palpitations, other affects of anxiety on the body include:
- Feeling restless
- Feeling tense, muscle tension, soreness around the neck
- Breathing rapidly
- Shallow breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Feeling weak or tired
- Sleep disturbance
- Chronic stomach problems
Anxiety symptoms can be the product of a medical condition or a side effect of medication, so a thorough physical examination is a good first step if one is experiencing these symptoms.
Stress Reducing Solutions
Whether the anxiety symptoms are occasional or anxiety palpitations last all day, one way to help manage the symptoms is through holistic methods. These activities all help manage the symptoms of anxiety in a natural manner and some can be accessed anytime of day throughout one’s day. These stress-reducing activities include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Mindfulness meditation
- Massage therapy
- Gardening therapy
- Equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Regular exercise
Having at least some of these techniques or services at your disposal will provide a sense of control over the symptoms when they strike. Some of these activities require practice, such as the deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation, so individuals are encouraged to access these methods often in order to really benefit from their stress-reducing capabilities.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment
When the symptoms of anxiety become so intense or constant that it causes impairment in daily activities or isolating behaviors, it is appropriate to seek psychiatric help to treat the anxiety disorder. A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax or Valium, which can quickly mitigate the symptoms. The psychiatrist can also provide psychotherapy, or refer the individual to a licensed psychotherapist. These two interventions, when combined with holistic approaches, can be very effective in managing anxiety symptoms and improving the quality of life.
When these measures are ineffective in adequately reducing the anxiety symptoms, or symptoms become more pronounced and life disrupting, the individual may benefit from a residential program. The residential setting allows for a more intensive treatment approach while providing a stress-free environment for the individual to focus on healing. Daily psychotherapy sessions, group therapy, and other therapeutic activities create a more focused, integrated approach to treating the anxiety disorder.
The Treatment Specialist Offers Free Anxiety Guidance
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for information related to the mental health and addiction fields. With a depth of free information available, the Treatment Specialist is a go-to source for learning about the symptoms of anxiety and why anxiety palpitations last all day in some instances. To learn more about how anxiety affects the body, and for treatment options, please contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.