I debated about whether I should write about medical causes for anxiety. I know that for someone suffering from anxiety talking about illness could bring on more anxiety. In the end though, I had to include it out of fairness. There are people who have serious illnesses that also suffer from anxiety because of these illnesses. Including this post lets them know that they are not alone.
Medical anxiety is understandable
No one can blame a person for having anxiety if they are dealing with illness. Just because you didn’t have anxiety before or don’t fit the “picture” of someone who suffers from anxiety disorder, doesn’t make your anxiety less real.
I have diabetes and there have been a few times where I was sure my kidneys were failing or I was going to go blind. Is that happening to me right now? No, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts from going through my head.
Heart issues, because of their seriousness, can be especially anxiety producing. Specialists say that anxiety, especially after heart surgery, is very common. However, if the anxiety gets bad enough it can interfere with recovery.
Some causes of medical anxiety
I’ve written about my brother’s Illness anxety before. He had an episode of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) one night. My brother had been going through a stressful time and all of a sudden he could feel his heart beating too fast. Now, it is common to have this happen once in a while but his continued non stop through much of the night. He ended up going to the ER and they shocked his heart back to beating normally. Needless to say this has caused him a lot of anxiety. even though he was told his heart is perfectly fine..
Illnesses like chronic fatigue or digestive issues that cause pain can bring on anxiety. The anxiety can actually be worse when the pain from an illness subsides. You’re then left worrying about when the next flare up is going to occur.
Then there’s waiting for test results. In my opinion that is one of the most stomach churning things to have to go through. I recently had a colonoscopy and the doctor found some polyps. They were removed and sent to a lab to be analyzed for cancer. To say that waiting for the results was anxiety producing is an understatement.
Sometimes the cure is the cause
Occasionally the side effects of medications taken for the illness can cause anxiety. Anxieties.com has a list of medicines that can induce panic attacks. Medication that contains caffeine, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine, can cause anxiety. Corticosteroids, drugs that are prescribed for asthma, allergies, arthritis and bronchitis, are known to cause anxiety in patients. Theses drugs work like some of the hormones in our body so they may cause an imbalance which then causes the anxiety.
Needless to say, the above list of medical issues and drugs that can cause anxiety is nowhere near complete. The point is that your anxiety is real no matter what illness you currently have. Even something as simple as a headache can cause anxiety. If you believe that your anxiety is a side effect of medication your doctor may be able to prescribe something else for you.
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“If you’re going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill