Can Anxiety Kill You?

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29 March 2024

6 Mins

Experiencing symptoms of anxiety can be overwhelming—your heart races, your stomach churns, and your mind floods with worries. While anxiety can certainly take a toll on your health, if you are wondering ‘Can anxiety kill you’ it's essential to know that anxiety itself won't directly lead to death.

However, if left untreated, it can contribute to health issues that may affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are effective ways available to alleviate anxiety symptoms, such as therapy and medication, which can help you feel better and live a healthier life.

Can Anxiety Actually Kill You?

As per a recent study, 88% of Indians are suffering from anxiety which shows an increase in stress and anxiety among people. However, if you are wondering ‘Can anxiety kill you’ know that anxiety won't actually kill you, but it can lead to serious health problems if it's not dealt with. When you're anxious for a long time, it can mess up your body and make you more likely to get sick or feel like hurting yourself.

Anxiety usually happens when your brain thinks something is unsafe, even if it's not. It's like your body's alarm system going off for no good reason. If this happens often, your body gets tired from pumping out too many stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart works harder, your stomach feels upset, and you can't sleep well. Plus, you might always feel worried, have trouble thinking clearly, and get easily annoyed. So, it's important to find ways to calm your anxiety and get help if you need it before it gets worse.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

When you're anxious, your body can react in different ways, like having tense muscles, a fast heartbeat, sweating a lot, or getting headaches. These reactions can change depending on how stressed you feel or your surroundings, but they can make it hard to feel good every day.

If you are wondering ‘Can anxiety kill you’, here are some symptoms to pay attention to.

Sleeping issues

Anxious people experience more difficulty sleeping than the average person because they spend more time feeling highly activated, which can lead to insomnia and other sleep problems. When you're stuck in a pattern of bad sleep, worrying about having another restless night can make it even harder to doze off. People with anxiety disorders also tend to have more upsetting or anxious dreams and unusual sleep cycles. However, many studies show a connection between sleep and anxiety without determining which one causes the other: poor sleep affects anxiety symptoms, and anxiety affects sleep. So, it's hard to figure out which comes first.

Gut health issues

Your brain and gut are connected through something called the gut-brain axis. This means what happens in your mind can affect your gut, and vice versa. You've probably heard sayings like "butterflies in your stomach" or "my stomach dropped," showing how connected they are. Sometimes feeling anxious or stressed can cause gut problems, and other times vice-versa. A study says that when you feel psychological distress, it can lead to gut issues. So, treating anxiety might help with gut problems.

Headache and migraine

Migraines are intense headaches that can come with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Stress can sometimes trigger migraines, but it's not the only cause. People who get migraines often also have anxiety. There's about four times as much anxiety in people with migraines compared to the general population.

What Happens If Anxiety Is Left Untreated?

Are you wondering ‘Can anxiety kill you’? If anxiety isn't treated, it can seriously disrupt your life and harm your body. Normally, having extra cortisol and adrenaline helps when you're in real danger, but when your body reacts this way to minor situations, it's always on high alert.

This constant overreaction caused by anxiety can result in:

  • Changes in weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Higher chance of developing other mental health issues like depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts
  • Being easily annoyed
  • Tight muscles
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Headaches
  • Gut problems
  • Feeling restless
  • Panic attacks

Can Untreated Anxiety Cause Brain Damage?

Are you on a quest of ‘Can anxiety kill you’? While untreated anxiety doesn't directly cause brain damage, it can result in lasting changes to the brain's structure. A study shows that anxiety disorders are linked to reduced activity in two key brain regions: the prefrontal cortex, responsible for functions like decision-making and memory, and the anterior cingulate cortex, which influences emotion regulation and impulse control.

Moreover, people with anxiety often show weakened connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, a region involved in processing emotions like fear. However, research indicates that proper treatment for anxiety can help improve functioning in these brain areas.

Can I Die From a Panic Attack?

Are you wondering ‘Can you die from an anxiety attack’? A panic attack won't kill you, but it might make you feel like you're dying. Panic attacks are intense but brief, usually lasting 5 to 20 minutes. They can feel similar to a heart attack as symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath can be the same.

During a panic attack, you might experience:

  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling like you're choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feeling like you're not in reality
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

What to Do When You’re Having a Panic Attack

When you are having a panic attack, it is important to remember that you are not alone. If you are on a quest of ‘Can anxiety kill you’, here are some steps you can take to help manage the situation:

  • Practice deep breathing
  • Focus on your surroundings
  • Repeat calming affirmations or mantras
  • Use grounding techniques such as counting objects around you
  • Engage in progressive muscle relaxation
  • Try visualization exercises
  • Use a stress-relief tool like a stress ball or fidget spinner
  • Seek support from a trusted friend or family member
  • Consider seeking professional help if panic attacks are frequent or severe

Anxiety Disorder Treatments

Anxiety may have disrupted your life, but it doesn't have to dictate your life. If you're looking to break free from anxiety's grip and wondering ‘Can you die from anxiety’, here are some options you can explore.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Medications (e.g., SSRIs, SNRIs, benzodiazepines)
  • Exposure therapy
  • Relaxation techniques (deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation)
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes
  • Support groups
  • Stress management techniques

How to Help Someone With Anxiety?

If someone you know is dealing with anxiety and wondering ‘Can anxiety attacks kill you’, there are ways you can help support them. Some of the ways you can find below.

  • Listen to them without judgment
  • Offer reassurance and emotional support
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if needed
  • Learn about anxiety disorders to better understand their experience
  • Help them practice relaxation techniques or mindfulness exercises
  • Be patient and understanding of their feelings and struggles
  • Offer to accompany them to therapy sessions or doctor appointments
  • Encourage healthy lifestyle habits such as exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep
  • Avoid making light of their anxiety or telling them to "just relax"
  • Be there for them consistently and let them know they're not alone

How Now&Me Can Help

If you're struggling with anxiety and wondering ‘Can anxiety kill me’ or ‘Can anxiety cause death’, Now&Me can offer you support. Our online platform provides a safe and welcoming space where you can freely share your thoughts and feelings. You can chat with qualified professionals for free, and if you need more support, additional conversations are just Rs 30/-.

But that's not all! We have plenty of articles, guides, and forums designed specifically for people like you who want to understand and overcome anxiety. And the best part? You're not alone in thinking ‘Can you die from anxiety’, we have like-minded people here! Our community is full of people who understand what you're going through and are ready to listen, share, and support each other.

So, don't wait any longer. Download the Now&Me app now and get your answer for ‘Can I die from anxiety’, all while knowing you're not alone.

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