Vertigo Sufferers Predisposed To Anxiety
Unfortunately, almost everything about the experience of vertigo, dizziness, or general disequilibrium predisposes a sufferer to also experience intense anxiety and panic.
Take vertigo for examplewhen you experience it for the first time, its absolutely terrifying because you dont know what it is or why its happening.
Vertigo can be terrifying the first time youexperience it, predisposing you to anxiety.
Imagine walking along, enjoying your day, when all of sudden the world starts to violently spin around you. You fall to the ground immediately, panicking and holding on for dear life, unable to stand or move to safety.
The waves of intensifying nausea hit next. Your brain, suddenly in shock, thinks you might have been poisoned and wants you to vomit to get the poison out. But there is no poison, so the vomiting brings no relief.
Minutes turn to hours, and when the horror show finally ends, you are left with no answers, exhausted and afraid.
You think it must have been food poisoning. You tell your friends to avoid the restaurant where you ate lunch. But then it happens again.
Can Dizziness Cause Anxiety
Anxiety is caused by apprehensive behavior. So, no, dizziness doesnt cause anxiety. But dizziness can cause involuntary startle, postural reflex, and stress responses that can produce similar symptoms to anxiety. If a person doesnt like feeling dizzy and becomes afraid of it, she might worry about feeling dizzy, which does create anxiety.
If you have become afraid of the dizziness anxiety symptom, you might want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists to help you overcome this fear. Since fear drives anxiety, and anxiety stresses the body, which is a common cause of anxiety dizziness, overcoming your fear of dizziness can eliminate anxiety-caused dizziness.
Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder, including the many fears anxiety disorder often establishes.
For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including this one, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.
Its been long known that anxiety and stress cause an increase in activity in the fear center of the brain and a decrease in activity in the executive function parts of the brain .
We explain this change in brain function in more detail in our Stress Response article.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you’ve experienced a panic attack, and especially if you’re dreading another panic attack or changing your behavior to avoid one, it could be worth talking to your primary care provider. They may refer you to a psychiatrist for diagnosis or a psychotherapist for treatment.
Panic attacks are a symptom of a variety of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia-related disorders, social anxiety disorder, and more. It’s important to get the correct diagnosis so you can seek the most effective treatment for you.
Your healthcare provider will discuss your treatment options with you and help rule out other conditions.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing panic attacks, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
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Always Seek Professional Advice
Always seek medical advice if you are not sure whether your symptoms, or another persons symptoms, indicate a panic attack. In an emergency, dial triple zero for an ambulance. Its important to see your doctor for a check-up to make sure that any recurring physical panic-like symptoms are not due to illnesses, including:
Why Do Anxiety And Dizziness Occur Together
We still dont fully understand all the ways that anxiety and dizziness are related, but evidence suggests that there are multiple potential ways that they can occur together and exacerbate each other:
- Peripheral vestibular system disorders are the leading cause of dizziness, and they can make it difficult to carry out normal tasks without becoming dizzy. People can develop potentially debilitating anxiety about becoming dizzy, and if dizziness and anxiety are not managed, people are increasingly at risk for developing a psychiatric disorder or worsening a pre-existing mental health condition.
- Brain imaging studies have identified a bidirectional connection between the parts of the brain that are involved with anxiety and dizziness. This means that when the part of the brain that causes anxiety becomes active, it sends signals to the parts of the brain that cause dizziness to increase activity. Similarly, when someone becomes dizzy, the part of the brain that causes anxiety becomes more active.
- The brain consumes more energy than any other organ, and without adequate blood pressure it does not receive enough oxygenated blood or glucose . Low blood pressure and low blood glucose are two common causes of dizziness, and they may also be associated with increased anxiety. Thus, the circulatory system can play a role in some episodes of dizziness with anxiety.
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Blurred Vision May Be A Symptom Or A Trigger
When youre hyperventilating, blurry vision may actually worsen your anxiety symptoms. Thats because those experience blurry vision may start to experience more anxiety as they worry about why their vision has changed. They may also notice their blurry vision more than someone without anxiety because those with anxiety attacks have a tendency to become over-sensitive to changes in their body.
Hyperventilation itself is also a known panic attack trigger. As youre hyperventilating and your eyes become blurry, you may start to experience a panic attack. That panic attack may cause you to hyperventilate further, which causes your vision to become more blurry.
Furthermore, every once in a while your eyes may be a bit blurry for no reason. Short term vision changes happen to everyone. But if you suffer from anxiety, you may unintentionally respond to those vision changes in a way that makes your anxiety worse, as they may trigger an anxiety attack or further anxiety.
Cbt Treatment For Anxiety And Dizziness
Given the list above of the many things that can cause dizziness, its important to first see a physician to make sure your dizziness isnt due to a medical condition.
If your dizziness doesnt seem to have a medical cause, or treating any medical conditions doesnt treat your dizziness fully, treatment for anxiety might be helpful.
In cognitive-behavioral therapy , clinicians help patients learn and practice a variety of skills for improving mood and wellbeing. CBT uses several proven tools to treat anxiety and dizziness, including:
- Changing your thought process
- Altering your responses to feeling dizzy, which can help reduce anxiety
- Helping you become less reactive to uncomfortable bodily sensations like dizziness
When used together, these CBT techniques can break the cycle that keeps anxiety and dizziness going. Working with a CBT therapist can help you find some relief from these challenging issues.
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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.
Hospital Admission And Medical Costs
A 1996 study found that people who have panic attacks or panic disorder have a much higher rate of medical services utilization, along with higher medical costs. For instance, experiencing chest pain might lead you to believe you’re having a heart attack, which could lead to hospital admission.
This elevated use of medical services can be expensive over time, for both the patient and the medical system. However, more recent demographic studies are required to update whether this is still the case for people who have panic attacks today.
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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.
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:
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.
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I’m Going To Pass Out
Temporary dizziness leads people with panic to feel that they may pass out. This is not possible because, during panic, your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises. As the blood pressure rises, it becomes impossible for you to “pass out”. When people faint or “pass out”, it’s because of a sudden DROP or lowering in blood pressure.
What Causes Dizziness And Blurred Vision
By Anna Barden
Dizziness and blurred vision can be triggered by various conditions, a reaction to medication and even stress. Whether symptoms are mild or severe, it is important to pinpoint what may have caused dizziness or blurry vision to occur.
Depending on the underlying cause, occurrences of blurred vision and dizziness are often accompanied by nausea, headache and light-headedness, among other symptoms. If blurred vision and dizziness are prolonged or other serious symptoms develop, contact a doctor.
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Dizziness Can Be A Symptom Of An Anxiety Disorder
Many types of anxiety disorder typically cause you to experience dizziness for the following reasons:
- Your breathing changes when you feel anxious, you typically start to take in quick, deep breaths. This reduces the levels of carbon dioxide in your blood, which can cause dizziness as well as light-headedness, nausea and tingling in your hands and/or feet
- Your fight or flight instinct kicks in your fight or flight instinct is often triggered when you feel anxious, as your body prepares for the dangers that you believe are ahead of you. This can lead to a rush of adrenaline, leaving you feeling dizzy and/or lightheaded
For some people, their anxiety and dizziness can intensify to the point that they experience panic attacks. Anxiety, dizziness and lightheadedness symptoms will differ in intensity from week to week. On some days the feeling may be especially intense, and on others it may feel much more bearable.
You may have found that your anxiety and dizziness increase when youre in scenarios that you fear such as in crowds or on public transport. Dizziness, when related to anxiety, will typically be accompanied by a sense of lightheadedness or a feeling that you might faint. To know that your dizziness if being caused by your anxiety, other symptoms of anxiety will be present, like fearfulness, racing thoughts, an increased heart rate and an inability to concentrate.
What You Can Do
The first step is what you’re doing now: understand what’s going on. When you realize that it’s unlikely to hurt you, only lasts a few minutes, and happens to other people, too, you may be less worried about it. Simply knowing that there are ways to treat them, including therapy and medication, can be a relief.
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What Are The Signs Of A Panic Attack
If you’re having a panic attack, you may experience:
- tingling fingers
- ringing in your ears
Some people think they are having a heart attack because it feels like their heart is beating fast or irregularly, or even that they are going to die.
Panic attacks usually last somewhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Although it may feel like something is seriously wrong, they aren’t dangerous and shouldn’t harm you.
You wont usually need to be admitted to hospital if you have had a panic attack.
Feeling Dizzy Or Tingling In Your Limbs
According to Prevention, When you start having a panic attack, there is less blood in your extremities. In turn, some people feel weaker in their arms, legs, hands, and feet. This decrease in blood flow can also make your feet and hands tingle, or feel a bit numb, as if you stayed put in one position too long.
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Fears Of Dying Or Losing Control
It’s not surprising that the experience of having a panic attack is often terrifying. As the attack escalates, you may worry about your own personal safety and experience a fear of dying. Additionally, panic attacks can make you feel as though you’re going to lose control or possibly “go insane.”
Such thoughts and fears often increase the intensity of the attack. Do your best to acknowledge that they are a result of panic, which often times is an effective first step to quelling the attack. The simplest strategy is deep, focused breathing, but working with a healthcare professional will help you identify personalized strategies to best manage your condition.
Dizziness As A Trigger
Dizziness can be a frightening symptom, especially because it is associated with dangerous conditions and can make you feel like you’re going to faint.
Dizziness is actually a fairly common trigger of panic attacks. A person is walking along, starts to feel dizzy, and that dizziness then triggers a cascade of symptoms that ultimately become a full blown panic attack.
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How To Stop Lightheadedness
Remember, lightheadedness is incredibly common because anxiety is incredibly common and health anxiety is an anxiety symptom itself, so it’s not at all unusual to believe something may be wrong with your health. For this reason, having a check-up with a doctor is a good idea. If a medical condition is causing your symptoms, a doctor can assess you and guide you in getting treatment. If your symptoms are not being caused by a medical condition, it can be reassuring to hear this from a doctor and you may find that this brings you some peace of mind.
Apart from seeing a doctor to rule out any possible medical issues, you can try the following to get rid of anxiety related lightheadedness:
These strategies may prove helpful in reducing your lightheadedness. However, if you want to address the problem at its root, its advisable to find ways to prevent the anxiety thats causing the hyperventilation and lightheadedness in the first place.
Effective treatments for anxiety include cognitive behavioral therapy, some medications , and several self-help techniques, such as deep breathing. Exercise is also important.
Anxiety is a treatable condition, and if you have been feeling lightheaded often as a result of anxiety, it is important to seek help. Research local therapists in your area and start finding out more about the lifestyle changes you can integrate. Once you take that first step, overcoming your anxiety is likely to become that much easier.
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Types Of Panic Attacks
Some people might experience panic attack symptoms every time theyre in a specific situation, like when they get stuck in an elevator or when speaking in public.
In some cases, panic attacks can also result from medical conditions or injuries, or even as side effects of some medications.
Not all panic attack symptoms have the same causes and they can be both expected or unexpected.
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Complications Of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is treatable and you can make a full recovery. But it’s best to get medical help as soon as you can.
If you do not get medical help, panic disorder can escalate and become very difficult to cope with.
Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition that could impact your driving ability.
Visit GOV.UK for further information about driving with a disability or health condition.
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