Nausea when nervous

Can Anxiety Cause Nausea? (& 5 More Questions About How Anxiety Might Feel)

WHEN SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT... May 26, 2021 - Katie McCallum

You're likely familiar with the emotional manifestations of anxiety:

  • Nervousness
  • Worrying
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Avoidance

But anxiety comes with physical symptoms, too. We have our fight-or-flight response to thank for this.

In the face of danger, whether real or perceived, your body reacts via the fight-or-flight response — revving up your autonomic nervous system, which controls respiration, heart rate, digestion and several other important bodily functions.

Everyone feels anxiety slightly differently, though.

For instance, maybe your muscles tighten and you feel like you're trembling. Or perhaps the first thing you notice is the butterflies — a sign that your heart rate is on the rise. Or maybe your body goes straight into emotional sweating mode.

Given the various potential physical symptoms of anxiety, how do you know if what you're feeling is truly anxiety or something else?

Can anxiety cause nausea?

Yes, anxiety can cause nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Outside of your brain, your digestive system contains the second largest number of nerves in your body. Some scientists even call your gut your "second brain."

It's no surprise then that the hormones and chemicals released when you're anxious can cause gut-related issues, including:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Indigestion

Can anxiety cause chest pain?

Certain anxiety disorders can cause feelings of chest pain.

Chest pain is not a common symptom of the general anxiety you feel here and there.

However, if you suffer from a type of anxiety disorder called panic disorder, you may experience feelings of chest pain during a panic attack.

The most important consideration any time you're experiencing chest pain is the possibility of heart attack, which is a medical emergency.

Unfortunately, panic attack symptoms and heart attack symptoms can feel similar. So, whether you have a history of panic attacks or not, you should go to the emergency room if you're experiencing chest pain.

Can anxiety cause high blood pressure?

No, but it can cause a temporary spike in your blood pressure.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which your blood pressure is chronically higher than it should be. This places extra force on the walls of your blood vessels and, over time, can lead to several health conditions, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Metabolic disease

General anxiety can cause a temporary, significant increase in your blood pressure, but the effects typically don't linger long enough to have a lasting impact on your health or cause long-term high blood pressure.

However, if you regularly experience blood pressure spikes due to chronic anxiety issues, your blood vessels can be affected in ways similar to high blood pressure.

Can anxiety cause dizziness?

Anxiety disorders may be associated with dizziness.

People with anxiety disorders, particularly those with panic disorder, often complain of feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

However, the link between dizziness and anxiety isn't completely clear.

It's thought, though, that stress-related hormones or compounds released during the fight-or-flight response might affect the vestibular system within the inner ear, which coordinates balance and movement. This, in turn, may be the source of feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness in some individuals with anxiety disorders.

Can anxiety cause shortness of breath?

Certain anxiety disorders can cause feelings of shortness of breath.

General anxiety increases your respiration rate, causing you to breathe more rapidly than usual. This faster breathing, also called hyperventilation, isn't the same as shortness of breath, however.

Shortness of breath feels like a tightening in your chest and often comes with trouble breathing. It's not a common symptom of general anxiety.

However, similar to feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath is associated with panic attacks and panic disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder.

Since it can be a sign of heart attack or another life-threatening condition, unexplained shortness of breath is a medical emergency. Whether you have a history of panic attacks or not, you should go to the emergency room if you're experiencing sudden and/or severe shortness of breath.

Can anxiety cause headaches?

Headaches are associated with chronic anxiety.

Headaches are common in and of themselves, but they aren't necessarily a common symptom of the general anxiety you might feel here and there.

However, headaches — including migraines — can be a complication of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive worrying that disrupts a person's day-to-day life.

The concerning symptoms of anxiety and the anxiety loop

When stress hits and your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens or you start trembling, it can be alarming. So alarming that, in some cases, you might even feel anxiety about your anxiety symptoms. This can lead to a worsening of the anxiety you're already feeling.

When anxiety hits, try to calm yourself with these tips:

  • Take deep, controlled breaths
  • Close your eyes and try to clear your mind
  • Release tension from your body by relaxing
  • Accept your anxiety, challenge the validity of your concern and try to shift your focus

If your symptoms become severe, including chest pain and/or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room — even if you think it's related to anxiety.

And, if you're experiencing general anxiety more frequently than usual, consider talking to your doctor or finding a mental health provider — especially if it's disrupting your day-to-day life. He or she can help you understand why anxiety happens and what to do about it.

Stay up-to-date

By signing up, you will receive our newsletter with articles, videos, health tips and more.

Please Enter Email

Please Enter Valid Email

Categories: When Should I Worry About...
Tags: Mental Health, Digestive Disorders, Headaches & Migraines, Heart & Vascular

Why It Happens and How to Stop It

Anxiety is a response to stress, and it can cause a variety of psychological and physical symptoms.

When you feel overly anxious, you might notice that your heart rate speeds up and your breathing rate increases. And you might experience a bout of nausea.

During a moment of high anxiety, you might feel just a bit queasy. It’s that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling that you might have before giving a public presentation or going on a job interview. This kind of nausea may pass fairly quickly.

But sometimes, anxiety-related nausea can make you totally sick to your stomach. Your stomach churns so much that you have to make a dash for the bathroom. You may even reach the point of dry heaving or vomiting.

Everyone feels anxiety occasionally. It’s not abnormal and not necessarily a bad thing. But it can be problematic if you frequently feel anxiousness accompanied by nausea.

Read on as we explore anxiety-related nausea, ways to manage it, and when it’s time to see a doctor.

Anxiety can trigger your fight, flight, or freeze response. Basically, your body is preparing you to face a crisis. This is a natural reaction to a stressful situation and, when called for, can help you survive.

When you feel stressed or anxious, your body releases a rush of hormones. Neurotransmitters in the brain react by sending messages to the rest of your body to:

  • get the heart pumping faster
  • increase the breathing rate
  • tense the muscles
  • send more blood to the brain

Anxiety and stress can affect virtually every body system. This includes your cardiovascular, endocrine, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

In the digestive system, stress can cause:

  • nausea, vomiting
  • heartburn, acid reflux
  • stomachache, gas, bloating
  • diarrhea, constipation, painful spasms in the bowel

If you’re one of the 7 to 16 percent of Americans who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or the 12 percent who have chronic upset stomach, feeling anxious might prompt symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

anxiety disorders that may cause nausea
  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), also known as chronic anxiety
  • panic disorder
  • phobias
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • social anxiety disorder

If you’re having this type of response often or for no apparent reason, it can negatively affect your quality of life.

Anxiety disorders that aren’t addressed can lead to other conditions, such as depression.

The symptoms you feel due to anxiety are very real. Your body is responding to a perceived threat.

Assuming that it’s not a true emergency situation, there are some things you can do to help to control anxiety and nausea.

Coping with anxiety

When anxiety takes hold, try to focus on the present rather than stressing about what may happen later.

Consider what’s happening in the moment, and remind yourself that you’re safe and that the feeling will pass.

Take long, deep breaths. Or try to distract yourself by listening to your favorite song or counting backward from 100.

It takes time for your body to get the signal that you’re not in immediate danger, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Ways to cope with anxiety

There are also a few things you can do to cope with anxiety in the long term, such as:

  • exercising regularly
  • maintaining a healthy, balanced diet
  • limiting alcohol and caffeine
  • getting enough sleep
  • keeping up with your friends and maintaining your social network
  • having a plan in place (meditation, aromatherapy, or deep breathing exercises you can use when you feel anxious)

If you have chronic anxiety, see your primary care physician for a thorough checkup. Your doctor can refer you to licensed professionals who can help determine your triggers, address your anxiety issues, and teach you how to keep it from spiraling out of control.

Coping with nausea

What to do when nausea hits

Try these when you feel nauseated:

  • Eat a small amount of something dry, like plain crackers or plain bread.
  • Slowly sip water or something clear and cold.
  • If you’re wearing something tight, change into clothing that doesn’t restrict your stomach.
  • Try to calm yourself by taking long, deep breaths.

Avoid these things when you feel nauseated:

  • fried, greasy, and sweet foods
  • mixing hot and cold foods
  • intense physical activity

If your nausea continues or worsens there are things you can do to help prevent or stop vomiting. If you’re vomiting:

  • Drink water and other clear liquids in small sips to replenish lost fluids.
  • Rest and avoid physical activity.
  • Don’t eat solid food until it passes.

In the long term:

  • Try to avoid heavy, greasy foods.
  • Stay hydrated, but limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than three big meals.

If you frequently need over-the-counter nausea medications or vomit often, talk with your doctor.

If anxiety-related nausea is interfering with your quality of life and you can’t manage it on your own, it’s time to see your doctor.

If it’s not due to a medical condition, ask for a referral to a mental health professional.

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point. There are steps you can take to lower stress and deal with occasional bouts of nausea.

There is help. Anxiety, nausea, and anxiety disorders can be identified and effectively managed.

8 strange symptoms of stress skin rashes

Our body sends us S.O.S. signals that we must not ignore.

1. Pain in the muscles

Pain in the neck, which you attribute to long work at the computer, can actually be a sign of stress. “Stress certainly affects our musculoskeletal system, manifesting itself as pain or muscle spasms,” explains psychologist and physiotherapist Elisabeth Lombardo. “It prepares us for the conditions of survival that our ancestors needed. But, nevertheless, unlike them, today our body does not need such a reaction.

2. Eye nerve irritation

Have you ever felt the muscles of the eye contract involuntarily, causing it to twitch slightly? If this happens often enough, it causes anxiety and discomfort, and in some cases, it is a symptom of stress. “This condition is known as tonic blepharospasm,” says Debbie Mandel, a wellness expert. "Constantly give your eyes a rest. While working on the computer every 20 minutes, take a break and look at the landscape outside the window, if there is none, just close your eyes and imagine walking in the park." Watch the news on TV less, information that causes negative emotions is especially harmful.

3. Untidy nails and cuticles

Do your cuticles or nails look messy, torn? This condition may be the result of a nervous habit caused by stress. “Nervous habits like nail biting are exactly what we do to distract ourselves from stressful thoughts,” says Mandel. She also claims that in this way many women “chew stress”. If this is how you calm down, then try to always keep an object at hand, like a soft ball, which you can hold in your hand during periods of stress, for example, during a conversation with a difficult client. Such a substitution allows you to “squeeze stress out of the body”.

4. Caries

We all know that neglect of oral hygiene is the first step on the road to caries, but according to experts, stress can also cause the development of the disease, especially if you have such a habit as grinding one's teeth. The problem is that this bad habit damages the teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Mendel suggests redirecting your anxieties to paper and pen. “Take the time to write down all your problems on paper, analyze them objectively, and then write a list of the solutions you see,” she added.

5. Rash

It sounds strange, but your skin can be a very good indicator of stress levels. “Stress can cause redness, usually red patches or rashes on the abdomen, back, arms, or face,” notes Lombardo. “While we don’t know the exact reasons for what is happening, but some experts believe that this is how our immune system reacts to stress: histamine is released, as a result of which the body begins to itch.”

6. Nausea

Stress can upset the stomach, and nausea is nothing more than a side effect. If you're worried about nausea, try this trick that Mandel claims will work: When you're feeling sick again, run your hands under running warm water.

7. Drowsiness

Feeling lethargic? Stress can be the culprit. “The stress hormone causes our body to produce an excessive amount of adrenaline, which eventually leads to drowsiness,” says Mandel. “Stress also invariably affects the quality of sleep, so often a person wakes up tired and irritated.” To solve this problem, she suggests going to bed earlier or setting aside half an hour in the afternoon for sleep. In addition, you should pay special attention to your health and try to lead a healthy lifestyle as much as possible.

8. Forgetfulness

Research shows that chronic stress literally shrinks the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for storing memories. But, fortunately, its size returns to normal as soon as the stress level decreases. Lombardo advises to devote more time to physical activity to maintain the functioning of the brain at an optimal level. This will help you be more prepared for future stressful moments.


Age category of the site 18+

Online publication (website) registered by Roskomnadzor, certificate El No. FS77-80505 dated March 15, 2021


I.O. chief editor of the site - Kansky Viktor Fedorovich

Messages and comments from readers of the site are posted without preliminary editing. The editors reserve the right to remove them from the site or edit them if the specified messages and comments are an abuse of freedom mass media or violation of other requirements of the law.

JSC "Publishing House "Komsomolskaya Pravda". TIN: 7714037217 PSRN: 1027739295781 127015, Moscow, Novodmitrovskaya d. 2B, Tel. +7 (495) 777-02-82.

Exclusive rights to materials posted on the website, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation for the Protection of the Results of Intellectual Activity belong to JSC Publishing House Komsomolskaya Pravda, and do not be used by others in any way form without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Acquisition of copyright and contact with the editors: [email protected] ru

How to cure "diseases from nerves": psychosomatics and digestive disorders ., Associate Professor

126 thousand views

Today we will talk about a “hot” topic: diseases on a “nervous basis”. Answer 3 simple questions, check yourself.

Have you noticed that:

  • Abdominal heaviness, pain, cramps, nausea, bloating, stool problems occur when you are tense, upset or stressed?
  • Symptoms of digestive disorders are not related to the nature of the diet - do you feel discomfort even when you follow a strict diet?
  • In addition to digestive disorders, do you experience insecurity, anxiety for no reason, feelings of guilt, fatigue, do you have sleep and appetite disturbances, does your weight change?

Answered yes to at least one? You are in the "company" of those who suffer from psychosomatics. There are 6-7 such patients at the appointment with a gastroenterologist out of every 10.

Where does psychosomatics come from, or what really distinguishes us from animals?

When you are faced with a serious problem in work, relationships, your body, figuratively speaking, or prepares for a fight, when adrenaline "rolls over" and your heart is pounding. Or you want to run and hide. It's called the "fight or flight" response.

What kind of digestion can we talk about in such a stressful situation? The GI tract just "turns off". This is where the differences lie. After the fight, the animal hides in a secluded place and rests. The person continues the "battle" or "scrolls" the situation of defeat in his head. The body continues to work in a stressful mode. And illnesses are not long in coming.

What are the diseases of digestion "from the nerves", and when is it time to see a psychotherapist?

Stress and nervous tension are always reflected in the gastrointestinal tract. He is one of the first to get "hit" by stress - he is figuratively called the "sounding organ of emotions. " After all, the first emotions of man and animal were associated with the pleasure of eating. In turn, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are often accompanied by disorders in the psycho-emotional sphere. Everything influences everything.

Therefore, if you suffer from:

  • pain in the upper abdomen, stomach area, heaviness or cramps
  • vomiting immediately after eating, regardless of the quality of the food esophagus
  • bowel disorders - bloating, rumbling, constipation, diarrhea or their alternation, imperative urge to defecate in an uncomfortable situation


  • no result of treatment
  • you feel better for a while, but all symptoms return during stress
  • you see a connection between your physical symptoms and your emotional state, but you can’t figure out how to deal with it
  • you are depressed, you have been in a bad mood for more than a month - contact to a competent gastroenterologist and psychotherapist.

Remember: psychosomatics is a diagnosis of exclusion. There are "masks" of diseases, and first you need to make sure that there is no organic cause for the symptoms.

Why are “nerve diseases” dangerous?

  • Stress due to poor health - you have to constantly control yourself, limit yourself, change your lifestyle, experience your difference from others.
  • Loss of time and money - the patient goes to the doctors as if to work, but there is no result.
  • Side effects of medications - too many unnecessary medications can make health problems worse.
  • Loss of motivation - the patient becomes frustrated, begins to think that he cannot be helped, may stop being treated altogether.
  • Relationships in the family deteriorate - relatives are involved in all the "vicissitudes" of the disease.

How to help yourself - 7 quick tips for those who suffer from psychosomatic disorders

  1. Change your attitude if you cannot change the situation.
  2. Stand up for your boundaries and your opinion, don't be a victim.
  3. Try relaxation techniques and try to be quiet for at least 15 minutes a day.
  4. Walk outdoors for at least half an hour a day.
  5. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week.
  6. Try to eat healthy food.
  7. Do not use alcohol or drugs as a stress reliever.

And the last thing - contact a competent specialist to choose a treatment.

What can we do?

  • Exclude the organic nature of the disease with the help of a detailed examination, make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Find the psychological "roots" of the disease - with the help of a psychotherapist and psychosomatologist with more than 20 years of experience.
  • Work in a team. If necessary, narrow specialists participate in the examination and treatment - a gastroenterologist, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist.
  • Choose a treatment - both medication and psychotherapy.
  • Recommend what techniques to use at home - the doctor will teach you how to deal with stress.
  • Don't quit when you feel better - check every 3-6 months and monitor.

In conclusion: an example of our work

About the intestines, difficult family relationships and complex treatment

Patient V., 31 years old. She turned to the "Expert Clinic" with complaints of intense aching pains all over her stomach, mushy stools up to 2 times a day, increased gas formation.

Over the past 3 years, the patient has visited more than a dozen gastroenterologists, twice in the last year she was hospitalized by ambulance to surgery and an infectious disease hospital with abdominal pain and diarrhea. Previously, she was examined in detail, infection and inflammation in the intestines were ruled out. The condition was regarded as irritable bowel syndrome, standard treatment was prescribed. According to the patient, the condition did not improve, and she lost confidence in the doctors.

Learn more