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  • Sara

Will your anxiety get worse over time?

Just like with any other type of illness, anxiety and other mental health issues are likely to get worse over time if left untreated and if unhealthy coping mechanisms are adopted. In fact, many people with anxiety disorders find that their symptoms worsen over time. This can be extremely distressing and can make it difficult to manage day-to-day life.

There are a number of possible reasons why anxiety may get worse over time. One possibility is that anxiety can become more severe due to stress. Stressful life events, such as job loss or bereavement, can trigger or worsen anxiety.

Another possibility is that anxiety can become more chronic over time. This means that the symptoms may not go away completely, even after treatment. Chronic anxiety can be very debilitating and can have a major impact on quality of life.

Here are some other things can make your symptoms worsen. Be aware of the following examples of how daily habits and actions can make your anxiety worse.

- Alcohol as a coping mechanism – If you're like most people, you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer now and then. But for some people, even moderate drinking can cause anxiety. Many people who have high anxiety will lean on alcoholic drinks as a form of liquid courage to help them feel more comfortable in social situations. While alcohol can help quite a bit with feeling more at ease around other people, too much of it or drinking too often can exacerbate mental health issues. There are a number of reasons why alcohol and anxiety might be linked. For one, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so it can have a calming effect on the brain. But alcohol also affects the way the body metabolizes GABA, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating anxiety. If you lean on alcohol too often to help you to feel calmer, your brain will associate that as your way of relieving stress which could then cause higher anxiety when you are not drinking. Drinking too much alcohol can also inhibit judgement and problem-solving, which can then lead to inappropriate or harmful decisions. Over time, you may develop physical withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, which amplify anxiety. If you find that drinking alcohol makes your anxiety worse, there are a few things you can do. First, try to drink in moderation or not at all. If you do drink, avoid drinks that are high in sugar or caffeine, as these can make anxiety worse. Finally, make sure to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep, as both of these can help reduce anxiety.

- The problem with moping – some people believe that “moping” and sitting around all day will help with their anxiety. On one hand, taking time to relax is definitely beneficial because anxiety has the added effect of completely draining you. You may feel more apt to “veg out” but you should ideally be getting out there and staying active, spending time with your friends, and finding ways to continue to improve your health. Too much inactivity will eventually lead to decreased mental health. Remember to keep staying active, set goals for yourself, and take care of your innate social needs. Exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your mood. It can also help to improve your sleep quality. However, it is important to find the right type and amount of exercise for you. If you are feeling anxious, try doing some relaxing exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi. If you are feeling energetic, try doing some cardio exercises such as running or biking.

- Effects of caffeine – Caffeine is often thought of as a harmless pick-me-up, but for some people, it can actually cause anxiety. If you're someone who feels anxious after drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you're not alone. While, for some people, caffeine may actually help them to feel more at ease because they enjoy coffee and their brain releases dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter, as a response others find coffee or other caffeinated beverages causes them to feel increased anxiety due to an increased heart rate and faster breathing. Caffeine is a stimulant, and for some people, it can make them feel more jittery and anxious. If you have anxiety, you may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. That doesn't mean you have to give up your morning cup of joe. Just be aware of how much caffeine you're consuming and how it makes you feel. If you find that caffeine makes your anxiety worse, try reducing your intake or switching to decaf. It is important to think about drinking caffeinated beverages in moderation and pay attention to your body’s reaction.

When considering habits that can increase anxiety, self-awareness is very important. Everybody reacts differently to things like alcohol, coffee, inactivity, and so on. Make sure to check in with yourself and ensure that you are doing what is best for your own mental health.

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