The body and the mind is created to deal with short-term threats that occur. If you are too stressed all of the time, your protective mechanisms will turn against you and result in damage to important brain circuits. It is important to never let your anxiety go untreated or your disorder can impact the mental health of your body negatively.
Untreated anxiety can lead to impacted thinking or a lack of focus. You will not be able to stop these intrusive thoughts when they are on overdrive and these negative thoughts will keep repeating themselves. This will make it hard for you to concentrate on your work or to think of anything else. If your worries are too loud, you will not be able to calm yourself down. You could also develop other mental health issues if your anxiety is not treated like depression or substance abuse to self-medicate your symptoms. If your brain is used to more specific neural pathways, these pathways will be strengthened. The more anxious you are, the larger your anxiety is going to get.
Not doing anything about your anxiety can also make it even more difficult to go to sleep which can worsen your mental health. You can also be stuck in a fight-or-flight response even when nothing dangerous or threatening is happening. Your brain can be on a high alert for danger looking around for possible threats even without realizing it. This constant state can make it difficult to come back to calm. Your stem cells also have the potential to malfunction which can make a bad connection between the brain and the amygdala which controls your fears. If your hippocampus shrinks, these anxiety-provoking events will turn into memories. The quality of gray matter will decrease and will impact the size and connectivity of the amygdala.
The neuroendocrine system will also be impacted. The brain tells the adrenal glands to release stress hormones which prepares your body to deal with threats and other brain adaptations. When your adrenal glands go into overdrive as a result of anxiety, your immune system will be affected and the expression of your genes will change which affect behavior. The circuitry would also change between the prefrontal cortex, which affects your planning, and the amygdala which would become unbalanced and damaged. By treating your anxiety, you can learn how to cope with your anxiety in a healthy way.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.