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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Anxiety is a psychological and physical reaction to stress. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Anxiety isn’t solely a psychological problem. It creates physical symptoms that can make it difficult for you to live a happy and healthy life. It’s not just about managing your stress when it comes to treating anxiety; it’s also about managing how the symptoms influence your mind and body. You may notice that your heart rate and breathing rate both rise when you are concerned.

It’s also possible that you’ll feel sick. You may feel a little nauseous during a period of intense anxiety. It’s the sensation of having “butterflies in your stomach” before giving a public speech or going on a job interview. This type of nausea should go quickly. Anxiety-related nausea, on the other hand, might make you feel sick to your stomach. Your stomach is churning so violently that you have to hurry to the restroom. You might even vomit or dry heave. Anxiety is something that everyone experiences at times. It isn’t unusual, and it isn’t always a bad thing. However, if you experience anxiety and nausea frequently, it can be an issue. Continue reading to learn more about anxiety-related nausea, including how to treat it and when to seek medical help.

Yes, anxiety can cause nausea and other stomach issues. Your digestive system has the second-highest number of nerves in your body, after your brain. Your gut has been dubbed the “second brain” by some experts. It’s no wonder, then, that the hormones and chemicals released when you’re worried might lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Indigestion

Nausea can be caused by a variety of factors. We don’t know why this happens, but it appears to be a physiological reaction to something that irritates or disturbs the natural state. Nausea is linked to a variety of ailments, and it’s frequently accompanied by emotions of revulsion. The evolutionary aim of nausea is supposed to be to alert a person to something and prevent them from repeating it. Although inexplicable nausea is possible, sickness is usually your body’s method of telling you that it doesn’t like what happened or the consequences of that action.

Nausea is a condition that is brought on by internal impulses. From the cerebral brain to the chemoreceptor trigger zone to the peripheral and vestibular systems, these signals might originate anywhere in the body. The messages make their way to the brain stem, where they set in motion a chain of events that result in nausea and the migration of stomach contents up the digestive canal.One of the most prevalent anxiety symptoms is nausea. But why does this happen, and what can be done to prevent it?

Anxiety-induced nausea can be caused by several factors. Anxiety produces nausea in the majority of people. Separately from the stress response, worry can cause nausea in certain people. Anxiety is a natural reaction, and in small doses, it’s healthy. It is thought that some of the symptoms of anxiety — including nausea — developed to tell your brain that there was something dangerous or new in the vicinity so that you would make a smart decision regarding your next action. When you are under stress but not facing any present danger, nausea can be especially distressing.

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When faced with stress, the body goes into the “fight or flight mode,” triggering the autonomic nervous system — specifically activating the sympathetic nervous system and inhibiting the parasympathetic nervous system. The hormone epinephrine, sometimes known as “adrenaline,” is released as a result of this activity. Other adrenal-related hormones may be triggered by additional stress. These hormones affect the stomach lining and food digestion, divert blood away from the digestive tract and induce dizziness, hyperventilation, and other symptoms.

Stress can also induce muscle tension in your abdomen, which can tighten your stomach and make you feel nauseated. The gut is also densely packed with neurotransmitter receptors and closely linked to the brain. Anxiety’s effects on neurotransmitter levels in the brain likely have an impact on the gut. Finally, digestion is slowed during “fight or flight,” which can influence how you metabolize food and stomach acid, as well as cause nausea.

Anxiety is a natural reaction to unknown and dangerous situations. However, some people’s anxiety is so severe that it interferes with their daily lives. Anxiety disorders may be present in people who experience this form of anxiety. Anxiety disorders come in a variety of forms, each of which can cause nausea and other gastrointestinal problems. Here are a few examples: 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is defined as a six-month or longer period of intense worry over ordinary areas of life, such as health, safety, or money.

A phobia is an irrational dread of something or a circumstance, such as spiders or being in confined areas.

An overpowering sense of self-consciousness in social circumstances is known as social anxiety. The feeling that others are observing or judging you can exacerbate your problems.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur as a result of a stressful event. Vivid dreams, flashbacks, or painful memories may occur. Other signs and symptoms include: unable to sleep or concentrate rage outbursts emotional withdrawal

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Fear of contamination is one of the most common forms of OCD, which typically leads to excessive hand washing.

Panic disorder is characterized by emotions of panic or impending doom that occur frequently and without warning.

Nausea itself isn’t hazardous in the case of anxiety-related nausea.

It’s comforting to know that your body isn’t in any danger as long as you’ve ruled out other medical issues and your doctor or therapist has confirmed that anxiety is the cause of your nausea. You must instead manage your anxiousness to regulate your nausea.

Your body is likely under a lot of stress as a result of your anxiousness. Controlling how your mind and body are influenced by anxious symptoms is critical when treating anxiety.

It could be useful to keep track of when you get nausea, what’s going on at the time, and how you tried to get rid of it. This can help you understand how nausea is linked to anxious feelings rather than being sick. The following are a few ways for dealing with anxiety: Light and Healthy Eating – Your diet does not always have an impact on your anxiety nausea. However, it can have an impact on the degree of your nausea. Meals that are heavy, fattening, and unhealthy cause greater nausea than healthy meals. Drink water – Water, like healthy food, can help keep your body fed because it contains no elements that can aggravate an upset stomach. Furthermore, dehydration is known to cause increased anxiety, so drinking water can be used as an anxiety treatment.

Just be careful not to drink too much water too quickly or you may experience minor nausea. Jogging – jogging is a great way to combat anxiety. It relaxes your muscles, lowering the amount of stress they place on your stomach. Endorphins, or “feel good” hormones, are also released, which improve your mood. It also helps to decrease anxiety by regulating hormones and depleting adrenaline. Deep Breathing – deep breathing is one of the stress-reduction practices that can help you manage your stress reaction. Deep breathing is a technique for calming your heart and mind by taking slow, controlled breaths. Sitting in a chair and gently inhaling through your nose for 5 seconds (aiming to breathe into your abdomen), holding your breath for 4 seconds, then slowly exhaling through pursed lips is one way (7 seconds is ideal).

This should be repeated ten times. Progressive muscle relaxation and visualization are two other relaxation approaches. Tums, peppermint, and Pepto-Bismol are OTC medications that can help with anxiety-related nausea. They can be used to treat nausea that happens only on rare occasions, but they should not be used by those who suffer from anxiety-related nausea regularly. These are all easy ways to alleviate anxiety sickness. Fighting anxiety, on the other hand, is a long-term problem. If you have a lot of anxiety at home, at work, at school, or in social circumstances, you need to learn how to manage it effectively. The chance of nausea will reduce after your anxiousness is under control.

It’s time to contact your doctor if anxiety-related nausea is interfering with your quality of life and you can’t manage it on your own. Ask for a referral to a mental health specialist if it isn’t caused by a medical ailment.

Anger and Anxiety

People with anxiety disorders can benefit from talking therapy. Aside from ordinary talk therapy, there are some specific therapies for anxiety that can be very helpful.CBT focuses on modifying problematic thought processes. During CBT, a therapist assists the client in identifying anxious thoughts and teaching skills for responding to them more positively and constructively. Through self-reflection and self-examination, psychodynamic therapy tries to address the source of a person’s anxiety. It could help with anxiety brought on by a traumatic event or a profound emotional struggle.

Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to danger or threat. When the brain releases neurotransmitters to prepare the body for fight or flight, this occurs. When some of these

Neurotransmitters enter the digestive tract, they disrupt the gut bacteria, resulting in nausea and other stomach symptoms. Anxiety is a typical physical response to stress for the majority of people. People can utilize a variety of ways to deal with stress and anxiety in their daily lives.

Anxiety emotions that occur frequently may suggest an anxiety disorder. If anxiety is interfering with one’s daily life, they should see a doctor.



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