IntroductionAnxiety disorders are very complicated. There are many causes which can trigger anxiety episodes. If exact cause is not known then it can only lead to increase in frequency of anxiety attack. Frequent episodes of anxiety and high stress levels can cause many physical and psychological changes in body and mind respectively. Once such physical effect that can be noted is nervous belly. A strange pain is felt in abdomen which is of varying intensity in different individuals. It feels like stomach gets twisted in knots. This itself is known as Anxiety and stress related stomach pain. More frequent the episodes of anxiety, more the symptoms worsen and therefore it is important to prevent anxiety attacks and treat the symptoms at the earliest.
DiagnosisIt is very difficult to come to a conclusion that stomach ache is caused by anxiety or because of some other health issue. It is a very common symptom which gets represented in majority of diseases. Many health issues like an infection or an underlying disease display the same type of response. It is important to undergo anxiety test to confirm that the stomach pain and all those digestion related troubles are actually caused by anxiety.
Treatment of anxiety related stomach painSeek medical advice from a doctor who will rule out other causes which can trigger abdominal pain. Once no other cause gets diagnosed, doctor will observe how patient reacts to stressful situations. First step in the treatment is to understand the nature and causes of all the discomforts and pain which are taking place. Stomach cramps need to be assessed from all the perspectives like biological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral etc. A healthy lifestyle and proper knowledge are essential to get rid of all the physical responses which are experienced due to anxiety. A combination of behavioral therapy with medication has been proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety related stomach cramps.
See a therapist for mental healthMind influences body and opposite is also true. Anxiety or stress is occurring in our mind which thereby triggers physical symptoms in our body. Thus, we need to learn to control our mind so that cause itself gets eliminated. Initially, a therapist helps patient to control emotions and then once learned patient himself will be able to do the same without the help of therapist. Therapy helps to look for positive approach i.e., to always look for silver lining in dark clouds. This in turn will prepare patient to very well deal in emotionally challenging situations and make him ready to deal with all those outburst of emotional reactions. Once emotions are under control, patient never shows high levels of stress or anxiety episodes. Instead of suffering form performance related stress or pressure related attacks and social anxiety, he learns to look at opportunities where things can be learned or shared.
Management of anxiety and stressCoping technique help a person to deal with an anxiety in a better way. These techniques if followed for a long time prevent occurrence of future anxiety episodes as person learns to deal with stress in a better way and controls his emotions well. Regular exercise is very essential. 30 minutes of daily outdoor walk can do wonders as it helps to ease out stressed body and heals over-excited mind. Deep breathing exercises and daily meditation too produce same effect. Distraction is very essential especially when facing an anxiety attack. Anything and everything that can distract and create soothing effect on body and mind should be practiced. Some find pleasure in others company whereas others play sports or amuse themselves in other outdoor activities. A simple act like watching television and gardening can also cause distraction. All those fears and situations which can cause an anxiety attack need to be conquered and for this, one needs to mentally picture them. It is more like planning well ahead. It will prepare a person to conquer the obstacles well when they approach him in real.
Live a healthy lifestyleEat right. Over eating can cause a guilt and worsen physical condition. Under eating does not provide enough strength to overcome anxiety. A healthy well-balanced nutritious diet is essential. Avoid alcohol and smoking as they worsens stress and anxiety. Initially, one may feel that these addictions are relaxing their mind. However, it is not true. They only worsen the whole scenario. Sleeping for adequate hours is also very essential. Anxiety not only tires mind but also body and thus resting both mind and body promote healing. Eat foods which can be digested easily. This improves stomach cramps. Enough fiber, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains are healthier options which put minimal pressure on digestive system. Hydrate well because dehydration worsens stomach cramps. Water on the other hand soothes stomach as it has cooling effect on it. On daily basis, drink enough water and also drink a glass of water if stomach is feeling nervous or cramping. Probiotics in the form of yogurt or supplements should be taken in case of diarrhea. Peppermint tea and ginger tea are great remedies for stomach cramps and will also create soothing effect on stomach.
Medications for anxiety related stomach painMedications like antacids and anti gas help in digestion related troubles. There is no harm in taking them as they relieve the symptoms. Vitamins can also be taken. This is because anxiety is also associated with deficiencies and thus if doctor diagnoses any then it is always better to timely cure those deficiencies with supplements.
Technique to prevent anxiety stomach crampsPrevention is better than cure. If anxiety is very well prevented then one can save oneself from lots of physical and psychological harms which are caused by high levels of anxiety and stress. One such technique that calms down both mind and body is breathing technique. It brings both mind and body at peace by decreasing the heart rate. Whenever high levels of stress is developed or anxiousness is been build, take long, deep breaths through nose and hold it for 5 seconds. Exhale through mouth very slowly. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes or unless stress has been wiped out. After each cycle, wait for at least 10 seconds i.e., between each cycle keep a difference of 10 seconds. During times of stress, we usually hold our breath or breathe in a very shallow manner. This in turn worsens stress and anxiety levels. As a result, stomach cramps and other digestive problems arise. This is because brain rings all the alarming bells, signalling danger. Breathing technique will there by help to reduce stress and anxiety level by calming mind and body. It can also be tried if already suffering from stomach cramps caused by an anxiety attack and high levels of stress. It will immediately improve the condition, decrease the pain and discomfort caused in belly. While breathing slowly, focus on positive thoughts which are very powerful and relaxing. These type of thoughts create a powerful distraction and an individual immediately deviates his focus from the situation which has bothered him to a situation which relaxes him. All these method help to prevent anxiety related stomach cramps.
ConclusionAnxiety attack occurs when we are not able to control our emotions in certain difficult situations. There are high levels of stress during anxiety episodes. Once in a while if such episode is occurring then it is of no harm. However, if frequent episodes of anxiety are developing then one needs to undergo its treatment cause anxiety is also known to exert physical symptoms like stomach cramps and other digestion related disorders. If left untreated then there is higher risk of stomach ulcers and open wounds in stomach and esophagus lining. It is better to bring a change in lifestyle. It means eating healthy, exercising regularly, sleeping for adequate hours etc. Alcohol and smoking should be avoided. Relaxation of mind and body and preparing one self to over come one's fear and anxiety along with certain medications will really help to cure anxiety related stomach cramps as well as will prevent future occurrence of anxiety episodes. When stress level comes down then automatically all the physical symptoms like stomach cramps too get resolved on their own.
Our state of happiness or sorrow or stress definitely affects our appetite and hunger. When a person is happy and in a cheerful mood he feels like partying. He likes to share his happiness with friends and family. Naturally, he eats more. Unless he is overdoing it, his stomach also co-operates with him.
But if he is under stress, sorrow or anxiety, he will lose appetite and will not take food properly. In due course, his stomach and intestines get affected. It starts with acidity, gas etc and lead to ulcers and even bleeding.
The body and mind are related and the ill health or wellness naturally reflects in the other. Hence a health body and healthy mind should co-exist.