How Fear Impacts Your Health

Fear is an intense emotion that is part of the human experience. It activates certain chemical processes in our bodies that make the memories more significant and causes us to think irrationally. Individuals who do not face their fears or overcome them may either develop Stockholm syndrome, where they begin to cope with terrible and frightening situations by becoming submissive and apathetic, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from long-term exposure to fear. It is not the fear itself that can lead to serious health problems but our inability to overcome it or logically escape it when we enter ourselves into it voluntarily. The long-term damage from fear can damage our brains, cardiovascular system, digestive system, and lead to premature aging or sudden death. The impact of chronic exposure to fear is also associated with mental disorders such as clinical depression, PTSD, anxiety, and fatigue.

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Sharpens Survival Functions In The Body

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Whenever we experience intense fear, our bodies kick into fight-or-flight mode and can cause us to feel like Superman. The reactionary adrenal gland release (chiefly epinephrine and norepinephrine) activated by the sympathetic nervous system sharpens survival functions in the body. These hormones cause our blood to circulate faster to provide instant energy to our muscles. Our eyesight, hearing, and sense of perception become more acute. As the name implies, the fight-or-flight response was traditionally thought to activate only the option of fleeing or fighting perceived dangers. However, it is now believed there is also a third response when individuals become incapacitated by the dreadful fear and are unable to react at all.

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HealthPrep Staff