- Anxiety and numbness
- How anxiety causes numbness
- Contact a doctor
- Other symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety and panic can cause numbness and tingling. When a person is concerned about their health, these symptoms may exacerbate their anxiety.
When a physical problem arises from a psychological problem, the doctor will attribute the symptoms to the psychology. Usually, mental numbness is not serious and can usually be improved by anxiety treatment.
In this article, we explain how anxiety and panic attacks can cause numbness. We will also discuss some other common symptoms of anxiety and when to contact a doctor.
Does anxiety cause numbness?
People with anxiety disorders experience physical symptoms as well as emotional and psychological symptoms. Numbness and tingling are the most common complaints.
Although people with this type of numbness usually notice it on their hands or feet, it can happen anywhere in the body.
In some anxiety patients, numbness triggers a fierce cycle of numbness and anxiety. This happens when a person notices numbness, results in a panic attack, and then feels more anxious and numb.
Some people also notice other symptoms, such as increased heart rhythm, which may increase anxiety and numbness.
How does anxiety cause numbness?
Anxiety can cause numbness in many ways.
In moments of panic, blood vessels constrict, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This will reduce blood flow to different parts of the body, especially the hands and feet, which may cause tingling, numbness or chills.
Feeling anxious can also change behaviour. A person may tighten their muscles unknowingly, which may cause abnormal muscle sensations or numbness.
Some people respond to strong fears by “freezing.” This may make their body uncomfortable, such as sitting on their feet or tying their legs tightly. This may cause numbness and tingling.
In addition, people who self-treat for anxiety disorders may feel numb due to drug or alcohol abuse. When a person feels “high”, certain medications may cause temporary numbness.
In addition, excessive drinking can lead to alcoholism, which occurs when alcohol damages the peripheral nerves. In turn, this can cause numbness and tingling, even if the person is not anxious.
Some evidence suggests that, in rare cases, certain anti-anxiety drugs may also cause numbness. A 2004 study detailed the situation of patients with narcolepsy who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants and some for anxiety disorders.
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Treat numbness caused by anxiety
The numbness caused by anxiety is caused by the anxiety itself. Therefore, the root cause of anxiety must be addressed, not the symptoms.
Some treatment options include:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Self-care strategies, such as exercise or minimizing stress exposure
- Perform grounding or breathing exercises to help people regain a sense of control
- Support from family and friends
Education about anxiety, including how to cause numbness
It is important to note that people with anxiety disorders may also have other conditions that cause numbness or tingling. Therefore, if anxiety improves and numbness does not appear, or if numbness persists, you should seek medical care for numbness as another matter.
Some other possible causes of numbness include:
- Nerve damage caused by injuries or diseases such as diabetes
- Spinal cord or head injury
- Circulation issues
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nutritional deficiency
- Certain drugs, such as chemotherapeutics
When to call the doctor?
Unless the person has other symptoms (such as chest pain) that does not improve after anxiety subsides, numbness is not a medical emergency.
Similarly, anxiety can be seen as an emergency, but panic usually disappears on its own. Although chronic anxiety disorder can have a negative impact on people’s health and quality of life, panic disorder itself is not fatal.
However, you should contact your doctor in the following cases:
- Their anxiety has improved, but the numbness has not
- Anxiety can interfere with their daily life or relationships
- Numbness after injury, persists or seems to get worse
- Home therapy doesn’t work
- Anxiety medication does not work or stops working
- People experience anxiety or numbness after they start taking new medicines
Other symptoms of anxiety.
Numbness is not the only manifestation of anxiety. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heartbeat or feeling of the heart beating
- Pain or tension
- Feeling cold
- Brain fog
- Inability to concentrate
- Intrusive thoughts
- Concentrate on death or other potentially frightening concepts
- Hard to fall asleep
- Can’t relax
The specific anxiety pattern a person experiences usually depends on the diagnosis.
For example, people with a generalized anxiety disorder may feel anxious or have physical symptoms. People with panic disorder may suddenly experience severe physical anxiety to the point that they are dying.
On the other hand, people with PTSD may have memories, nightmares or memories.
Numbness is a common symptom of anxiety. The person experiencing it does not necessarily indicate the underlying situation.
It is wise to focus on solving the causes of anxiety and seek treatments.
However, even if the numbness persists after the anxiety subsides, the person should see a doctor rule out other possible causes.