“The Deeper Your Understanding Of Anxiety, The Deeper Your Connection To What Is True Within Your Mind And Body.”
Anxiety is a mental and emotional condition that has adverse effects on both the body and the mind. The presence of anxiety causes abnormal chemical alterations in the brain as well as changes in hormone levels which can then subsequently trigger different issues like concentration difficulties and loss of memory.
Some of the major factors that are linked from anxiety to memory and concentration issues are mentioned below:
1. Increased production of stress hormones
Anxiety is known to trigger the flight or fight stress response in the body. This response exerts increased stress and workload on the body and may lead to abnormal effects on the functioning of the brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone which gets secreted in large quantities whenever an anxiety sufferer experiences an episode. Cortisol tends to adversely affect brain function and can cause recall issues and memory loss.
Experts are currently unaware of the manner in which cortisol causes memory and concentration problems, but research shows that anxiety sufferers are at greater risk of facing difficulties in creating memories or they have a higher tendency to forget life events and other memories over time.
Scientists however believe that memory, concentration, and other brain function problems triggered by anxiety are not permanent and that they are not associated with any type of deterioration or brain function loss.
2. Loss/Lack of sleep
It is a known fact that anxiety can result in loss of sleep and other sleep problems in anxiety sufferers. It is also known that sleep deprivation does have an adverse effect on recall, concentration, and memory.
Anxiety also plays a role in altering life priorities in a sufferer. This means that an anxiety sufferer is more likely to forget the good aspects of his/her life and remember all the bad outcomes/events. Anxiety also causes the sufferer to focus more than usual on the current situations in his/her life; this prevents any thoughts about the past thereby gradually causing the memories to disappear.
3. Easy distractibility and unfocused thought processes
The minds of people with anxiety are full of racing thoughts and almost always active. A brain that is increasingly active may prevent the mind from focusing on new events that are occurring as well as in effectively processing them. This hampers the creation of ‘complete’ memories.
A distracted mind fraught with anxiety that subsumes all the thoughts is also marked by lots of difficulties in trying to focus and remember events and personal experiences from the past. It can be said that normal everyday memories are in a constant battle for space with anxiety ridden thoughts in the mind of an anxiety sufferer. This can eventually result in the occasional loss of some general memories.
Concentration and memory problems caused by anxiety can be overcome by following some health guidelines and strategies such as keeping a daily journal, eating healthy, regular exercising, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, getting proper sleep with use of sleeping techniques, and most importantly a CBT focused problem solving approach.