Anxiety doesn't cause long-term high blood pressure (hypertension). But episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in your blood pressure.
If those temporary spikes occur frequently, such as every day, they can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart and kidneys, as can chronic high blood pressure. In addition, when you have anxiety you're more likely to resort to other unhealthy habits that can increase your blood pressure, such as:
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
Some medications to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions, such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can also increase your blood pressure.
If you have trouble controlling your anxiety or if anxiety interferes with daily activities, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider to find an appropriate treatment.
Apr. 08, 2014
- Stress and blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Stress-and-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301883_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 9, 2013.
- Greenage M, et al. The role of anxiety and emotional stress as a risk factor in treatment-resistant hypertension. Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2011;13:129.
- Hildrum B, et al. Effect of anxiety and depression on blood pressure: 11-year longitudinal population study. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2008;193:108.
- Ginty AT, et al. Depression and anxiety are associated with a diagnosis of hypertension 5 years later in a cohort of late middle-aged men and women. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2013;27:187.
- Watts SW, et al. Serotonin and blood pressure regulation. Pharmacological Reviews. 2012;64:359.