Nausea is a forerunning symptom which often accompanies anxiety. Studies reveal deep links between anxiety and psychological thought processes, the central nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system. In many cases, anxiety and nausea are not even known to be connected by the sufferer.
Dizziness and nausea both arise when anxiety acts upon the area of your brain responsible for both symptoms. Here we’ll be looking at why so many anxiety sufferers also battle with nausea, chronic and intermittent, while also pointing out steps that you can take to lessen the constant queasiness.
Nausea – A Closely Connected Symptom of Anxiety
Those who report nausea as a frequent symptom are three times more likely to have an anxiety disorder, while one-and-a-half times more likely to be subject to depression.
Many sufferers receive medication under a misdiagnosis of gastrointestinal issues suspected to be at the root of nausea, while in actual fact up to 41% of all sufferers were found to have an anxiety disorder causing their queasiness.
Further evidence shows that out of every four patients diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition, 15% have a connected anxiety disorder, while 10% are suffering from depression.
Psychosocial stress factors have also been tied to somatic symptoms in children and adolescents, with no underlying medical cause. It has been established that chronic abdominal discomfort, such as gives rise to nausea and vomiting, is clearly connected to emotional disturbances.
How Does Anxiety Cause Nausea?
An unhealthy anxiety response results in the body’s flight or fight response being triggered. When this happens, blood is pumped away from the stomach for use in other areas of the body, such as your limbs.
While this may be the safest reaction for a dangerous situation, it is far from healthy when it is triggered by nothing more than apprehensive, unfounded worries. As anxiety rises and intensifies, the stomach is depleted of blood and oxygen, causing abnormal muscle contraction, erratically fluctuating enzyme and acid levels, and it stops digestion in its tracks.
You may feel as if your stomach is cramping, churning or bloating, with nausea becoming so strong that it makes it hard to move.
Hallmarks of anxiety-triggered nausea include it starting at the same time as a feeling of dizziness or light-headedness, nausea medications do not help, the more you focus on the feeling the worse the nausea gets, and anxiety-related nausea will often disappear without warning, as if it was never there. If these symptoms sound familiar, then your anxiety may be at the root of your unease.
Other Causes of Anxiety-Related Nausea
The headaches and migraines which often accompany anxiety sufferers can also give rise to nausea and vomiting. As adrenaline rises due to the body’s fight or flight response to anxiety, so will symptoms intensify. At times, the extreme pressure felt due to erratic nervous responses will worsen the unsettled feeling in your stomach.
Vertigo, or the illusion of motion, is another response to stress that many sufferers find themselves having to deal with. Granting the sensation of a loss of balance, vertigo will worsen the nausea felt during an anxiety attack, and for most patients cause vomiting as well.
If you find yourself feeling more nauseous when focusing on any particular symptom (dizziness, headaches, chest pain, etc.) then it is highly likely that your queasiness is caused by anxiety.
Advanced Progression of Anxiety and Nausea
When one continues to allow their body to respond to anxiety by means of a rise of nausea, this can trigger vomiting. When vomiting occurs over an extended period of time, cyclic vomiting syndrome can develop.
One then psychosomatically finds themselves under the extreme pressure of tension, at a fixed time every day, with nausea and vomiting following, regardless of the accompanying physiological factors. Certain anxiety-sufferers may even develop a phobia known as emetophobia, which makes the feeling and situation of nausea even worse.
Frequent nausea and vomiting triggered by anxiety can lead to an advanced condition known as emetophobia, a fear of vomiting in public. This is a terrible affliction for anxiety sufferers, as the root of the nausea is worsened by the phobia itself.
Sufferers of emetophobia may find it extremely hard to separate themselves from their anxiety, with the condition causing a veritable loop of apprehensive thoughts and the nausea which they trigger.
Many people diagnosed with this phobia will stop taking their anxiety medication in a fear that their drugs will spur nausea, leading to the advanced progression of anxiety disorders and far-reaching physiological effects.
Factors Increasing the Chance of Nausea
Studies show that a diet primarily of foods with a higher GI index will result in a greater intensity of the physical symptoms caused by depression and anxiety. This includes, but is not limited to, nausea, muscle weakness, headaches, dwindling concentration levels, and even shaking.
A deficiency of micronutrients will also impact your response to stress and anxiety, in addition to also influencing oxidization throughout the body, and worsening inflammation. Vegetables containing glycemic index lowering fiber are easy to include in your daily diet, and lower your risk of depression while also assisting any anxiety response. A few great examples of GI-lowering food are:
- High fiber foods (psyllium, nuts, seeds, avocado, cocoa)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Tomato juice
- Lemon juice
- Whey protein
Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety-Related Nausea
Given that nausea stemming from anxiety is a multifaceted psychosomatic issue, there is no fixed treatment which is guaranteed to bring relief. Instead, a mindful lifestyle, whereby you pay attention to your thoughts and the emotions which they spur, is the best means of quelling your discomfort.
This being said, there are however numerous natural remedies which are known to bring relief, depending on the exact nature of your nausea. Here are a few of the best ways to ease nausea which is rooted in anxiety.
Ginger tea and ginger essential oil work wonders for nausea, regardless of what is causing it. Drink ginger tea throughout the day to heal your gut, strengthen your immune system and reduce the chance of nausea being felt when anxiety arises.
Vitamin B6, such as is found in foods such as crab, liver, nuts, and salmon, have been proven to grant great relief from nausea and indigestion. Just 25 milligrams are needed three times a day to facilitate reliable relief.
Peppermint and peppermint essential oil are great antispasmodics and are antiemetic. The smell alone will help prevent nausea and vomiting. Just rub one or two drops onto the back of your neck and the underside of your feet. You can also add a few drops to your bath, or to a cool compress, for rapid relief.
Cannabis oil is one of the very best treatments for anyone suffering from chronic anxiety and nausea. Very small doses of cannabinoids increase the regulation of food intake, improving gastric secretion and gastro-protection, while also healing the inflammation response of your intestines, and cell proliferation within the stomach.
CBDs are invaluable to the total health of your body, effectively combatting disease and cancer in addition to helping your anxiety disorder.
Healing Nausea and Anxiety
Once you address the forerunning triggers of your anxiety, you will find that nausea subsides. In general, it best to stay hydrated and follow a healthy diet to help you cope with anxiety-related nausea.
If you have no underlying physical conditions to plague your mind, then it cannot leap to fearful thoughts concerning the nature of your nausea.
Keep yourself healthy, take steps to control your glycemic intake, and perhaps resort to natural remedies to ease discomfort. Leave yourself with no worry in mind and you will find unexpected nausea being felt far less frequently, if at all.