Response to Fear & Anxiety causes Physical and Mental health Changes

“Impact of Fear and Anxiety”

*Facing Fear & Anxiety Home
*Impact of fear and anxiety
*Work with threats
*Manage chronic fear
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“Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. As such, it is an essential part of keeping us safe. However, when people live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, they can become incapacitated. How fear works: Fear prepares us to react to danger. Once we sense a potential danger, our body releases hormones that: Slow or shut down functions not needed for survival (such as our digestive system). Sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight). Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster. Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala to help us focus on the presenting danger and store it in our memory. Living under constant threat has serious health consequences. Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death. Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that. Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately. Mental health and other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD. So whether threats to our security are real or perceived, they impact our mental and physical wellbeing.” Ref