I know that anxiety leads to high blood pressure due to elevations of adrenaline.

It also can also increase cortisol levels which as the Mayo Clinic points out:

  • curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation
  • alters immune system responses
  • increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream and
  • suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.

According to Jayne Leonard in Medical News Today (2019):

having long-term high blood pressure — which doctors refer to as hypertension — can cause people to feel anxious about their health and future.

And, while interestingly she points out that:

some medications for anxiety can increase blood pressure

I am not talking about fears about health after being diagnosed with high blood pressure due to arterial atherosclerosis for example.

What I am referring to is the possibility of stress/anxiety being caused by the high blood pressure, maybe creating an elevation of adrenaline or cortisol through some kind of neural connection with the heart and blood supply.

Is this possible?

Anxiety can lead to aggression and/or other behaviours — as an example (as @starckman pointed out in the comments) there is a study by Kouchaki & Desai (2015) that showed a link between anxiety and unethical behavior in the workplace — and I was wondering if high blood pressure not caused by mental health problems could lead to those mental health problems and possibly elevate the blood pressure problems in a vicious cycle.


Kouchaki, M., & Desai, S. D. (2015). Anxious, threatened, and also unethical: How anxiety makes individuals feel threatened and commit unethical acts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(2), 360–375. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037796

Leonard, J. (2019). What is the link between anxiety and high blood pressure? Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327212

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In the link for "aggression", I didn't find the statement that "Anxiety can lead to aggression", although I am very curious to know the link between the two. Thanks for your question btw $\endgroup$
    – Starckman
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ I can see what you mean @starckman - it is not mentioned in the strict sense - but it does elude to it when saying "Support is also available if you're finding it hard to cope with stress, anxiety or depression". I will try and find a more direct link to it $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 10:34
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    $\begingroup$ There is a study that showed a link between anxiety and unethical behavior in the workplace (psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0037796) $\endgroup$
    – Starckman
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


Neuroticism can lead to hostility:

A key finding in this study is the influence of N on a variety of distress types; Suls and Martin (2005) have observed the ‘neurotic cascade’ produced by N. Hyper-reactivity, differential exposure to negative events because of the environments high-N persons select and create for themselves, differential appraisal for events (e.g., perceiving experiences as more troubling than they really are), negative emotional transfer, and problems changing maladaptive ways of coping with distress and challenges all combine to upset a high-N person, which may make them hostile. However, high N does not drive outwardly directed narcissistic aggression.

However, I am not clear about the difference between anxiety and neuroticism, as well as between hostility and aggression.


Egan, V., & Lewis, M. (2011). Neuroticism and agreeableness differentiate emotional and narcissistic expressions of aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(6), 845-850. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.01.007

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link. While your link is interesting, it doesn't really answer my question - please see my question with more emphasis on what I am actually asking $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers understood $\endgroup$
    – Starckman
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 10:07

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