Is Anxiety Contagious?

Overview

Anxiety is a gut-wrenching and dreadful feeling that can disrupt a person’s day, week and life! The feeling of dread and unhappiness accompanied with the threat of a panic attack is exactly what sets off anxiety. It may be an upcoming test, event or a small problem that makes a person think that the end of the world is coming. The smallest problem can turn into a colossal event because of an overreaction. Unfortunately, those who suffer from anxiety are literally suffering from a disease. Many people (who do not have anxiety issues) think that anxiety is brought upon oneself or that it can be self-controlled. Anxiety can be controlled to a certain extent, but no one should ever feel unworthy or blame themselves for having anxiety. Anytime you feel like your anxiety is too much to deal with, ask for help. There is always someone to listen to you when it comes to help for your anxiety. You are never in this alone, especially because science believes that anxiety is contagious.

Symptoms

  • A strong sense of fear is the biggest concern for those dealing with anxiety. Fear can interrupt your life and provoke emotional responses that can cause panic attacks and depression. If you have ever thought that you have a real lump in your throat and convinced yourself you might be choking? That is a symptom of anxiety. The fear of possibly choking may cause someone to stop eating because choking can lead to death (the irrational conclusion from the mind of a person with anxiety). Some of the symptoms that are associated with anxiety include:
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Déjà vu
  • Vertigo
  • Palpations
  • Sleeping problems
  • Inability to relax or be calm
  • Chest pain
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear
  • Apprehension
  • Itchiness
  • Impotence
  • Frequent need to urine
  • Jumpiness
  • Tenseness
  • Feeling out of control
  • Obsessions
  • Dread
  • Loss or increase in appetite
  • Fear of choking

Causes

Unfortunately, there are no specific answers that can determine the exact cause of anxiety. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase a persons’ risk of developing anxiety. Someone else’s stress may rub off on you and now you have become worried or anxious, feeling like anxiety is contagious. Some of the possible causes and risk factors of anxiety include but are not limited to the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Genetics
  • Problems in the neural circuitry system
  • Medical issues such as asthma or cancer
  • Drug use and abuse
  • Gender socialization
  • Physical abuse
  • Contagious Anxiety
  • Sexual abuse/assault
  • Stressful events

Is Anxiety Contagious?

The simple answer is that there is no real answer. Science and some doctors believe that stress and anxiety are contagious. For example, if you notice your partner is upset or stressed, you make ask them what’s wrong. This is completely normal but once the other person responds, you internalize their fears and worries but now all of a sudden you have anxiety. Their stress and anxiety have been passed onto you, leaving you feeling like you have been contaminated. That’s right, emotions are contagious and not always in the good way. Just like happiness is contagious, anxiety can be too. Most people tend to absorb our problems as well as the problems of others and feel responsible to resolve everything. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. People mirror the anxiety of others and sometimes unconsciously take in their anxiety.

Diagnosis

Most doctors will tell you that more than half of their ER visits for chest pain turn out to be people suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. Taking the time to visit a doctor can be beneficial for you and others if you are having trouble with anxiety. A physical exam and record of your medical history is usually all doctors need to determine you have suffering from anxiety. No official blood tests, urine samples or other tests are required.

Treatment

The most common form of treatment for anxiety is medication. Medications for depression such as Prozac or Xanax are the most prescribed legal drugs that can help people manage their panic attacks and anxiety. Other forms of treatment include: therapy and self-treatment via a holistic approach.

Keeping Your Symptoms At Bay

While there is no sure way to prevent anxiety, there are ways to reduce or manage the symptoms. Some of these methods are:

  • Cutting down on sugar
  • Exercising daily
  • Eating a proper diet
  • Sleeping
  • Taking the proper medication
  • Talking to a licensed professional and/or therapist