Having good mental health is as important as having good physical health. Though many people do their best to maintain their physical health, they often tend to ignore or not give much importance to their mental health. And suffering from mental health issues can take a drastic toll on your life. One such issue is anxiety. If you are too stressed or have experienced a traumatic event or any other issue, your chances of developing an anxiety disorder increases. Anxiety can cause you to feel irritable, tense, and restless without any actual cause being present at the moment. You can also have problems concentrating, and you may end up being constantly worried. Anxiety can also exhibit some physical symptoms that resemble the flu because anxiety is a result of your body’s fight or flight response.
What Are The Flu-Like Symptoms Caused By Anxiety?
It is important to remember that your mind and body are deeply connected. So if your mind is suffering, it can manifest as physical symptoms. You may feel you are coming down with or have the flu even when you are completely healthy physically. You may experience symptoms like lethargy, dry throat, lightheadedness, headaches, cold sweats, chills, aches, pains, nausea, upset stomach, and feeling feverish. These symptoms can be accompanied by episodes of fear, nervousness, and elevated stress, which may occur all of a sudden when you least expect it. The severity of the symptoms may also vary and can range from slight to moderate to severe. Though these symptoms are all in the mind, they will feel very real for those suffering from anxiety and it can make it very difficult for some to go about their daily lives.
Why Does Anxiety Cause Flu-Like Symptoms?
When you experience an anxiety attack, it activates your body’s stress response. This results in the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones travel to specific target sites in the body to cause specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that prepare the body to either fight with or flee from a potential threat (which is not actually there in case of anxiety).1 The hormones can also bring about physical changes such as tensing up of muscles that can result in aches and pains, changes in blood flow that can cause dizziness, and an increase in nervous system activity that can result in weakness. These changes are important for survival if there is an actual threat present but otherwise, it can feel like the symptoms of flu.
When you are anxious, it adds stress to your body, which ends up using more of its resources than is normal. If you are anxious for an extended period of time, you can start to feel rundown and exhausted most of the time. You also increase your chances of actually becoming sick as stress weakens your body’s immune system.2
How Can You Get Rid Of The Flu-Like Symptoms Caused By Anxiety?
The first thing you should do when you experience flu-like symptoms due to anxiety is to recognize what you are feeling is all in your mind. You should then try to calm yourself (which is much easier said than done) by taking deep breaths and distracting yourself from your stressful thoughts. You should take your time as it can take you up to 20 minutes to recover from a major anxiety attack. And do try to reduce your stress levels even when you are not experiencing anxiety. You can try yoga, meditation, deep breathing practices, and exercise to help you feel less stressed.
|↑1||Anxiety and physical illness. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑2||Khansari, David N., Anthony J. Murgo, and Robert E. Faith. “Effects of stress on the immune system.” Immunology today 11. 1990.|