Hives panic attacks
Anxiety rash: Symptoms, treatment, and prevention
Anxiety can increase the release of certain chemicals in the body which then produce physical reactions. This can lead to an itchy skin rash or hives, which may occur anywhere on the body. Learning to manage anxiety can help to treat and prevent anxiety rash.
An anxiety rash may appear as an itchy rash or as hives on the body. It is due to high levels of anxiety, rather than other causes such as allergies.
Topical treatments or antihistamines may help to relieve symptoms short-term, but long-term treatment will involve coping techniques for managing anxiety and reducing stress. Reducing anxiety can help to treat and prevent anxiety rash.
In this article, we look at symptoms, causes, and potential emotional effects of anxiety rash. We also look at treatment, prevention, and how to tell if a rash is due to anxiety or another cause.
An anxiety rash is an itchy rash that may look similar to hives. It is due to anxiety rather than any other factors, such as certain foods or medications.
Research has found that chronic anxiety increases the sympathetic nervous system response to stress. This response releases histamine, a substance the body usually releases to respond to any injury, inflammation, or allergic reaction. An increased release of histamine may lead to a rash or hives.
Emotional effects of an anxiety rash
Anxiety rash may cause people to feel more anxiety or embarrassment, due to the symptoms or appearance of the rash. Although people may try to hide the rash, covering the rash with makeup, lotions, or tight clothing may worsen the rash.
A rash from stress or anxiety usually resolves in 24 hours, and topical treatments may help to reduce the rash and any uncomfortable symptoms.
Focusing on calming techniques and tools to reduce anxiety may help people feel less anxious, and also help to treat the rash.
An anxiety rash may affect anyone who experiences anxiety. People may experience anxiety for a number of reasons, which include:
- Genetics. Research has found people with relatives who have an anxiety disorder may be more likely to also experience anxiety.
- Environmental factors. Stressful life events, trauma, grief, abuse, or prolonged illness may all contribute to anxiety.
If people have an anxiety rash, they may have the following symptoms:
- rash feels itchy or irritated
- small bumps or papules on the skin
- hives, or raised welts on the skin
- rash may appear in relation to high levels of anxiety or stress, with no other clear factors
- rash may resolve in 24 hours
Alongside rash symptoms, people may be experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress. Symptoms of anxiety can include:
- feeling apprehension or dread around nonthreatening situations
- feeling jumpy, tense, or on edge
- feeling restless or irritable
- anticipating the worst happening, (which mental health professionals call catastrophizing)
- being watchful for any signs of danger, (which some experts call hypervigilance)
Other physical symptoms of anxiety may include:
- pounding or racing heart
- shortness of breath
- increased sweating
- tremors and twitches
- upset stomach or digestive issues
- frequent need to urinate
If people experience anxiety symptoms on a consistent basis, they may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are common and have a range of highly effective treatment options.
To tell if anxiety is causing a rash, or if it is due to another cause, people can try to eliminate all other possible causes. Other factors that may be causing a rash can include:
- allergy to certain food or medication
- contact dermatitis, due to a reaction to ingredients in topical lotions, makeup, bathing products, jewelry, or clothes detergent
- contact with certain plants, such as poison ivy
- illness, such as measles or chickenpox
- skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis
If people have eliminated all other possible causes, and notice a rash develops in relation to experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress, it may be an anxiety rash.
A 2016 case study notes that controlling anxiety may be an effective treatment for anxiety rash. Although medication may also have been a factor, a female who developed a rash in relation to panic attacks found that the rash resolved with improved anxiety control.
Treatment for anxiety may include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is the most researched form of psychotherapy to treat anxiety disorders. It helps people to develop strategies to change thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that cause anxiety.
- Exposure response prevention: A type of psychotherapy to treat specific forms of anxiety, such as phobias or social anxiety. It exposes people to the source of their anxiety in order to develop coping strategies and reduce anxiety over time.
- Medications: Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications may help to relieve both emotional and physical anxiety symptoms.
Topical treatments may help to relieve symptoms and reduce a rash. Taking an antihistamine may help to control hives. Antihistamine medication works to block the histamine response in the body, which can help to prevent any new hives from forming.
Applying a cold compress or topical steroid, such as hydrocortisone, to a rash may help to relieve itching.
According to The American Institute of Stress, some people may find applying full-fat milk to irritated skin may provide soothing effects, due to the fat content in milk.
If a rash worsens or is not responding to treatment, then people should see their doctor.
People can also see their doctor if anxiety is affecting their day-to-day life, or if anxiety and any symptoms are having a negative effect on a person’s well-being.
A doctor may prescribe topical treatments to relieve symptoms and can suggest a treatment plan for managing anxiety.
A rash can sometimes be a sign of a serious infection or severe allergic reaction. People will need to seek help straight away if they have a rash with any of the following symptoms or features:
- covers most of the body
- appears suddenly and spreads quickly
- wheezing or difficulty breathing
- blistering or open sores
- swelling or warmth around rash
- crusting, a red streak, or yellow or green fluid coming from the rash
Managing anxiety may help to prevent anxiety rash. A range of lifestyle changes and coping strategies may help. People may want to try the following techniques to find a combination of tools that work best for them:
- regular meditation
- mindfulness activities
- breathing exercises
- regular exercise, in particular aerobic exercise
- understanding personal triggers
- setting aside a set time to worry before releasing it, to allow more control over each day
- listening to music
- eating a nutritious, balanced diet
- getting regular, quality sleep
- limiting alcohol and caffeine, which may trigger panic attacks
- counting to 10 slowly when feeling anxious
- finding humor and laughing
- focusing on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones
- connecting with a local community (find a support network, or volunteer as a break from everyday situations)
- talking to friends, family, or a healthcare professional if feeling overwhelmed
Anxiety can cause physical reactions in the body, including a rash or hives.
If the body is in a constant state of “fight, flight, or freeze” mode, it can cause an increase in certain chemicals, such as histamine. This can lead to the development of a rash or hives.
Topical treatments can help to treat the rash in the short-term, while long-term management of anxiety can help to treat and prevent anxiety rash from reoccurring.
Can Anxiety Cause Hives, Rashes or Itchiness?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you’ve gathered that anxiety is more than just a psychological issue and can manifest itself in a myriad of different ways. One unusual physical symptom sometimes attached to anxiety is the way fear can cause you to itch or break out with a rash or hives.
Anxiety can cause or make skin problems worse
The itchiness can be related to skin problems that anxiety makes worse, or caused by anxiety directly. People can even experience stress urticaria, or stress hives, that develop due to chronic stress, anxiety or tension, and appear as red, raised and swollen areas on the skin that appear suddenly. These stress hives can cause itching, and some people report having a burning or stinging sensation whenever they appear. Stress hives can appear on any part of the body – face, hands, feet, arms, etc., – and can vary in size from as small as a pencil eraser to as large as a dinner plate. Stress hives have been known to spread from place to place on the body, and smaller areas of hives can blend together to form larger areas. Urticaria can be acute, meaning that hives last less than six weeks, and also chronic, which is when hives last longer than six weeks.
Stress and your immune system
Itchy skin or hives caused by anxiety aren’t exactly “common” in the general sense, but anxiety causes a significant amount of stress, and stress can have a detrimental effect on organs and on the body’s immune system. Since the skin is the largest organ on the body, anxiety can lead to a rash, hives, and an overall itchy feeling. Furthermore, when the immune system starts to falter from stress, it starts sending histamine into the body to fight off what is ailing it – all the anxiety. So, in the simplest terms, the body forms an allergic reaction to stress. The stress can’t be eliminated with histamine, so the histamine causes hives to appear on the body.
Connection between stress and urticaria
Dermatologists are learning that there is a definite link between the mind, the immune system and the skin. More research is focusing on the relationship between stressful life events and the onset of urticaria. Dermatologists are seeing that it’s not uncommon to see urticaria occur after a major life stressor, or that the patients who are most impaired by urticaria have more limited stress management skills. They can see a connection in patients with relatively minor dermatological symptoms and a seemingly disproportionate amount of distress about these symptoms, which might suggest the patients don’t have the capacity to recognize the psychological component to their distress and/or suffering.
Examples of stress related skin problems
It’s very difficult to determine the exact cause of itchiness from anxiety without a full examination, because it could be caused by a variety of different factors. But, the most common causes include:
- Stress hives. As previously mentioned, hives are itchy bumps on the body that can be triggered by stress. Anxiety causes a considerable amount of stress on the immune system, so those prone to hives are likely to get them.
- Sweat rash. Anxiety also causes sweating, and sweating can lead to a sweat rash, otherwise known as a heat rash. This type of rash is non-threatening, but can be extremely itchy and may take as long as two weeks or more to disappear.
- Specific triggered itch. Although less common, anxiety also triggers skin conditions that a person already has. Anxiety is known to trigger eczema, herpes, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. None of these is life threatening or dangerous if triggered.
- Worse or heightened sense of itch. Itching and rashes are fairly common experiences in life, even when nothing is the matter. However, if one suffers from anxiety, physical sensations can often feel worse than they would if he/she didn’t suffer from anxiety. Thus, it’s possible that a very light rash that could otherwise be ignored feels much worse, and causes the person to focus on it more.
- Unexplained. It’s also possible to experience an itch for reasons that simply can’t be explained.
What to do about it
At any time, if your stress hives are coupled with swelling of any part of the throat or face and it causes restricted breathing, you should seek treatment immediately from your closest emergency room.
Some cases of hives will go away on their own without any course of treatment. If something is definitively causing a person to experience hives, the doctor will recommend avoiding that trigger. Particularly with stress hives, the trigger that is causing anxiety needs to be addressed with the help of a trained therapist.
If hives are very itchy, the doctor may recommend taking an antihistamine (medicine) to block the release of histamine to the bloodstream. It may take some time for your doctor to help you find the right treatment. Most of the time, once the anxiety trigger(s) are addressed, hives will go away on their own. Even chronic hives can sometimes clear up on their own within a few months to a year. Stress hives have shown significant improvement with histamine when treated with relaxation techniques and other anxiety management tools.
Get Help With Anxiety
Take our Anxiety Quiz to see what level of anxiety your child is experiencing. The results give you advice on what next steps you should try.
Our Turnaround Program is available as Digital Download or Classic CD.
“Hives.” Teens Health. Retrieved on April 1, 2016 from www.kidshealth.org.
“Learn what to do when anxiety makes you feel itchy.” Calm Clinic. Retrieved on April 1, 2016 from www.calmclinic.com.
Schwanke, J. (2012). “Clinicians examine mind-body connection of urticarial, stress.” Dermatology Times. Retrieved on April 18, 2016 from www.dermatologytimes. com.
“Stress Hives: Causes, symptoms and cures of stress hives.” Hives. Retrieved on April 1, 2016 from www.hives.org.
Featured Image Photo credit: janielianne via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
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A panic attack is an attack of uncontrollable fear, often accompanied by a deterioration in well-being. It is important to understand that the occurrence of PA is in no way connected with an objective (potentially dangerous for the psyche or physical health) situation. The attack is sudden, so the person feels unprotected from the repetition of similar episodes in the future. In this article, we'll show you how to help yourself.
In order not to confuse a panic attack with another condition, it is important to know its main symptoms:
- Sudden onset. Sometimes an attack occurs within a few seconds, while its duration, as a rule, is about 20 minutes. Attacks do not indicate the presence of pathologies of the psyche and are the result of constant stress, nervous tension and experiences. It is necessary to differentiate PA from diseases accompanied by neurotic disorders.
- Lack of air. There is shortness of breath, heart rhythm disturbance, increased blood pressure.
- Dizziness and blurred vision.
- Stupefaction, expressed in the inability to speak or move.
- Excessive sweating, chest discomfort and nausea.
Acute anxiety is often accompanied by fear of death. The main task of first aid is to stabilize the condition. The next stage is an appointment with a neurologist in Ufa.
How to help yourself?
If a feeling of sudden fear arises, it is necessary to normalize breathing as soon as possible. By pressing the palms of the palms collected by the boat to your mouth and nose, you will restrict the flow of air, which means you will cope with oxygen saturation. In addition, you need:
- Activate touch. Try pinching yourself or rinsing your face with cold water.
- To establish control over the body. During a panic attack, you may make unconscious movements or go into a daze. Focusing on the muscles of the arms and legs and relaxing them should help. It would be useful to study the basics of breathing exercises, yoga helps to "adjust" the emotional state.
- Switch attention. Do not focus on inner experiences, try to count or observe what is happening around you, outside the window, etc.
Having coped with the attack, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of a relapse, and therefore, seek qualified medical help.
Treatment methods: acupuncture, medical massage
The treatment of panic attacks should be comprehensive. Competent psychotherapy will help to cope with stress, overstrain and other problems that provoked an attack. In addition to it, the following are highly effective:
- Medical massage in Ufa. Effective for chronic fatigue syndrome, stress and other neurological problems.
- Acupuncture. The method is aimed at eliminating pain, improving blood circulation and relieving muscle tension. The almost complete absence of contraindications allows you to treat not only adults, but also children.
To make an appointment with a specialist, acupuncture in Ufa and other procedures, call +7 (347) 216 00 22.
causes, symptoms, signs, first aid, treatment for children and adults
Urticaria is a classic allergic skin disease associated with a violation of the permeability of the vascular wall and edema, often accompanied by damage to the cardiovascular and other systems.
Causes of urticaria
- Many medicines.
- Food products.
- Pollen, household, epidermal, bacterial and fungal allergens.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Intestinal helminths.
- Insect bites.
- Physical factors (cold, ultraviolet radiation).
- Sometimes benign and malignant tumors.
An allergic disease that occurs with humoral, circulating antibodies. The main mediator of an allergic reaction is histamine. Mediators cause dilation of capillaries and increased permeability of blood vessels, leading to flushing, blistering, and edema.
Urticaria is manifested by itching and burning of the skin against the background of the appearance of blisters. The rash can be the size of a penny coin or in the form of merging separate large foci of irregular shape. If the urticaria lasts more than 3 months, it is called chronic.
In giant urticaria, the deep layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissue are edematous. Quincke's angioedema, arising on the mucous membranes, can cause dysfunction of various organs and systems. With swelling of the larynx, difficulty in breathing up to asphyxia is possible, with localization on the mucous membranes of other organs - dysuric phenomena, symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, intestinal obstruction. Angioedema lasts from several hours to several days and disappears without a trace. With food allergies, with helminthic invasion, edema can take a recurrent course.
In case of contact urticaria arising from contact with ragweed, primrose, poison ivy (phytodermatitis), glandular contents of caterpillars, cosmetics, other haptens in the conditions of production, rashes can appear acutely, quickly or many hours later, when scratched, spreading over limits of contact of these substances with the skin.
With children's urticaria, the appearance of small blisters is noted against the background of exudative diathesis, hypersensitivity to a number of foods.
In cases of laryngeal edema, abdominal syndrome, a solution of adrenaline and a solution of ephedrine, prednisolone or hydrocortisone are injected intravenously, drip or intramuscularly.
Dehydration therapy is additionally recommended for Quincke's edema localized in the larynx.
If asphyxia worsens and the therapy fails, tracheostomy is indicated.
Main therapeutic methods:
- Allergen avoidance.
- Hypoallergenic diet and detoxification therapy.
To improve microcirculation and reduce the permeability of the vascular wall, ascorbic acid and calcium gluconate are prescribed.
In chronic urticaria, the patient should be carefully examined to identify concomitant diseases and their correction. Hyposensitizing therapy may be recommended in the form of intravenous administration of a solution of aminocaproic acid in isotonic sodium chloride solution No. 5 once a day, sodium thiosulfate solution or histaglobin according to the scheme.
Antipruritics can be recommended locally in aerosols Allergodil or Histimet or lubrication with menthol solution, citric acid solution. Corticosteroid ointments or creams (elokom), radon baths or hypnotherapy have an antipruritic effect.
The author of the article:
Ivanova Natalya Vladimirovna
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