Understanding the effect anxiety has on your immune system


Anxiety is a way of life in modern times, and in the short term, this will increase the heart rate and the breathing, so that blood flow is optimized in the brain where you need it the most. If anxiety is too intense, lightheadedness and nausea can occur, and these have a detrimental effect on the immune system.

Here are the anxiety impact on the immune system:

  • GAD or generalized anxiety disorder: This sees a paralyzing fear of situations that are social, along with feelings of being judged by other people or humiliated by them. The immune system in this case kicks into overdrive and produces hormones that try to alleviate the situation. Most GAD cases have a deep and profound detrimental effect on the quality of life.
  • Social anxiety disorder: This makes the individual deeply fearful of social situations, and anxiety about being judged by peers. It can leave you feeling alone and ashamed. Needless to say, the immune system is overloaded in these cases ad function sub-optimally.
  • PTSP or post traumatic stress disorder: if you witness or go through something very traumatic, you can develop PTSD symptoms and this can go on for years. Your immune system will try to cope with this , but chances of success are limited. Common causes of PTSD are wars, physical attacks or natural disasters. These episodes will be triggered without a warning, putting pressure on the immune system.
  • OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: If you suffer from OCD, you will feel an overwhelming need to perform certain rituals and functions , that have no base in reality. You may also have unwanted and intrusive thoughts that will raise your anxiety levels and have a detrimental effect on your immune system. Some common compulsions include washing hands, checking if the door is locked, counting rituals, obsessions about cleanliness, impulses that are aggressive, and the overwhelming need for symmetry. Your immune system gets overloaded in these circumstances and affects your health.
  • Panic disorders: Here, you will experience panic attacks, excessive levels of anxiety as well as feelings of impending doom. The physical symptoms associated with this are chest pain, palpitations, as well as shortness of breath. This has the effect of overloading your immune system and causing problems with it.
  • Phobias: You may experience a fear of tight places, a fear of heights, and many other different types of phobias. These put an unnecessary amount of strain on the immune system and may cause diseases related to it. With phobias, you will have an overpowering urge to avoid stressful situations and objects that trigger phobias.

Anxiety in its many forms, will release chemicals and hormones like adrenaline into your body. By increasing the pulse rate and breathing frequency, the brain gets a lot of oxygen and helps you to respond to a challenging situation. The immune system also gets a boost in these circumstances. However if you are a chronic patient of anxiety, your immune system will be weakened, so that you will be prone to illnesses like viral infections.

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