Most of us know that nauseous feeling you get before a big event. Even if it’s a happy situation, like a wedding, we still feel ill.
Everyone suffers from anxiety at some point in their lives. Kids often have anxiety before a big test at school. This kind of anxiety is normal and only lasts a few days.
But for some people, anxiety is a familiar feeling. It might stick around for weeks, even months and years.
The longer you feel anxiety, the worse it becomes. It can affect your daily life, and even your physical health. This type of anxiety is actually a disorder, and it affects more than 40 million adults in America.
If you always feel under the weather, you could be suffering from anxiety. Keep reading to answer the question “Am I sick, or is it anxiety?”
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
When Spider-Man is in a dangerous situation, his “Spidey-sense” starts firing. It’s a sixth sense that alerts him to danger and heightens his fight or flight.
Anxiety works a lot like that. When you feel anxious about a situation, your brain starts sending out high alert signals. It’s how your body prepares you to fight, flee, or freeze. In the right circumstances, anxiety can save your life.
Chronic anxiety is a different story. It stretches your nerves, the same way you can stretch out an elastic band. If your nerves stretch for too long or too often, it’s hard for you to return to normal.
Common symptoms of anxiety are:
- Feelings of panic, danger, or dread
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle twitching or shaking
- Increases nervousness, or a feeling of restlessness and being tense.
- Increased breathing, or hyperventilation
- Difficulty focusing on anything other than what you’re worried about
- Digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, or constipation
- Obsessively focusing on or avoiding a thing that triggers anxiety
- Heightened anxiety about a life situation that triggers a memory of past trauma
If you experience these symptoms often, then you might be showing signs of anxiety.
Am I Sick or Is It Anxiety?
Another side effect of anxiety is flu-like symptoms. Do you remember the description of the stretched elastic band? If you stretch the band too often or too fast, it loses its elasticity. This makes it harder to do its job, like keeping your hair in place or holding together a bunch of pens.
In the same way, anxiety causes your body to exert itself as a response to danger. But if you experience trauma, or you’re over-stressed for a long time, your body’s new default is in danger mode.
“Danger mode” is exhausting for the body. It causes muscle tension, which brings aches and pain. It increases your breathing, which makes you short of breath. Anxiety also causes increased blood flow, which can make you dizzy and warm. All these symptoms can be mistaken for the flu.
Over time anxiety can cripple your immune system, causing you to feel sick and weak. This also makes it easier for viruses like the flu to attack your body.
How To Treat Flu-Like Anxiety
If you’re asking yourself “Am I sick or is it anxiety?” then this might not be the first time you’ve felt ill in a stressful situation.
There are two common situations where anxiety will make you feel sick.
Situational illness is the most common kind of anxiety-induced sickness. This is the result of a stressful situation.
Stressful events can include happy moments as well as sad ones. You could feel sick to your stomach the morning before an important interview. Confronting a bully at work can cause nausea. Even proposing to the love of your life might make you feel sick.
The best way to treat this kind of situational illness is in two parts. First, treat your nausea with home remedies or over the counter products. This can calm some of the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Next, try to address your anxiousness. You can do deep breathing exercise or meditate. You should also ask yourself pointed questions that address the heart of the problem.
These treatments should solve the problem for the time being, and help you get back to normal.
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, then you might be dealing with chronic illnesses. This kind of anxiety-induced sickness is much harder to address, but you can manage it.
First, you need to speak to a licensed professional about managing your anxiety. You can find a counselor online, or speak to someone in your area. If you need medical treatment, then consult a psychiatrist.
Other things you can do to manage your chronic illness and anxiety are:
- Get educated about yourself, your anxiety, and your triggers.
- Find a support network of trustworthy people who can help you.
- Exercise, even if it’s only a thirty-minute walk every day.
- Follow a healthy diet, with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
- Get enough sleep, about 6-8 hours for an adult. Any more than that, and you might be hurting your body more than helping.
- Practice mindfulness, like meditation or guided journaling.
- Go outside! Being out in nature has proven benefits, like health and relaxation.
At any point you feel like your chronic illness is interfering with your daily life, contact a doctor. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek out immediate medical help.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
If you’ve asked yourself “Am I sick or is it anxiety?” then you’re looking for a solution. We offer many services to help you and your loved ones. You can meet our team here.
Anxiety is not something that has to control you. We can help you manage your symptoms and get your life back.