Anxiety Dizziness: causes and How to Combat It

Anxiety carries multiple physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Among these types of symptoms we find anxiety dizziness. But why does it occur? How can we treat it?
Anxiety Dizziness: causes and How to Combat It
Laura Ruiz Mitjana

Written and verified by la psicóloga Laura Ruiz Mitjana.

Last update: 19 April, 2021

What is anxiety dizziness? Would you like to know its causes and how to combat it?

It’s important to remember that anxiety is a physiological hyperarousal disorder with many somatic or physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chest pain or pressure, sweating, etc.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in people attending primary care services around the world. It tends to appear in adolescence and early adulthood and affects women more. If you want to know more about anxiety dizziness, we invite you to continue reading this article.

Anxiety dizziness: what is it?

Anxiety is a state of hyperarousal in the body. It affects the autonomic nervous system, and causes very diverse symptoms, such as cognitive (subjective/psychological), physical or somatic, and behavioral. Among the physical symptoms, we find anxiety dizziness.

This dizziness, in many cases, can become very intense and incapacitate the person to such an extent that they can’t lead their life normally. It can significantly interfere with a person’s daily life. But why does the dizziness appear? Because of the anxiety itself? Let’s get a bit more specific…

Causes

The main cause of anxiety dizziness is, as you’d imagine, the anxiety itself. But let’s dig a little deeper into it. What exact part or aspect of the anxiety causes the dizziness? Let’s see the four most frequent causes:

1. Fear and high blood pressure

Anxiety dizziness can occur when blood pressure drops quickly.
Sudden changes in blood pressure can promote this dizziness.

One of the typical symptoms of anxiety is fear. When a person experiences an intense sensation, their heart rate and blood pressure rise. This happens at the moment of maximum anguish, or before a stimulus that has triggered that fear. But what happens when the moment of maximum stress subsides?

Well, the body reduces this initial tension, rebalances its levels, and that is exactly when the dizziness appears – due to the “drastic” reduction in blood pressure. This dizziness often also comes with a feeling of confusion.

2. Mental overload or saturation

When a person suffers from anxiety, they’re constantly in an attitude of alertness, both mentally and physically. In this sense, it can create a state of hypervigilance. This produces a lot of anguish, in addition to a strong mental overload, which then leads to a great energy drain.

Energetic exhaustion, prolonged over time, causes mental fatigue and general weakness. This weakness is often accompanied by dizziness due to anxiety, in addition to other symptoms such as confusion, apathy, etc.

3. Muscle tension

Muscle tension is another of this disorder’s characteristic symptoms. If the body is tense, it’s because an alert system is activated to prepare for a real or imaginary danger.

This tension can lead to the appearance of anxiety dizziness. In addition, it also carries symptoms on a mental level (overload, saturation, excessive worry, fatigue, feeling of loss of control, etc.).

4. Altered breathing and hyperventilation

Changes in breathing are typical of this condition. Those affected tend to breathe faster and/or more aggressively, taking short breaths, or breathing very shallowly. This “bad” breathing can cause anxiety dizziness.

On other occasions, the body can hyperventilate. In these cases, more oxygen enters the body than what it actually needs, which causes a decrease in carbon dioxide.

In this way, there’s an imbalance, and the body tries to regain the pH balance of the blood (the blood becomes alkaline), which leads to anxiety dizziness.

“Every moment, every breath and every experience in your life is nourished by your attitude.”

-Anonymous-

How to combat the dizziness

Anxiety dizziness can improve with deep breathing.
Proper relaxation and breathing techniques can be very helpful with these symptoms.

Anxiety dizziness creates a lot of discomfort. In addition, experiencing these, and other, somatic symptoms can cause the person to focus more attention on the symptoms and, as a consequence, their anxiety increases.

The greater the anxiety, the greater the probability of intensifying the symptoms (in this case, anxiety dizziness). What can we do to avoid them? We leave you some key ideas for this:

  • Treat the dizziness with the importance it deserves, but no more. Anxiety dizziness isn’t dangerous; we have to treat it as our body’s way of alerting us to the fact that something is wrong, but the dizziness in itself isn’t dangerous.
  • Practice breathing exercises: Diaphragmatic breathing, for example, lowers the body’s activation levels and anxiety itself. For this reason, these types of exercises are part of many psychological therapies focused on fighting anxiety.
  • Practice relaxation: Relaxation is another technique that can help us reduce the body’s activation levels, which has a direct and positive impact on anxiety.
  • Stop focusing on the dizziness: If we feel dizzy, our natural tendency will be to focus our attention on the dizziness. However, not paying attention to it can help it go away.
  • Work on your negative thoughts: Through cognitive therapy, experts work on the negative thoughts of people who suffer from anxiety. Reducing these thoughts and replacing them with more adaptive, positive and/or realistic ones can improve symptoms.
  • Get physical exercise: Physical exercise leads to the release of endorphins and a state of calm and relaxation. While you’re practicing it, you free up your mind, which is very beneficial to combat anxiety.

Anxiety dizziness: start working on it

Anxiety causes great anguish, because it takes away our calm and tranquility. The body behaves in a hyperactive and exaggerated way, as if it’s living in a world full of dangers. However, these thoughts are unreal or imaginary dangers, because, in reality, we’re totally safe.

As a result of this hyperarousal, dizziness occurs. There are also other more underlying causes, such as hyperventilation and the mental overload that’s so typical of anxiety, and which we already touched on earlier. Becoming aware of the dizziness, but not being afraid of it, can be of great benefit when dealing with these types of symptoms.

If you want to stop experiencing this dizziness, then go to the root problem – go to the anxiety itself. And, from here on in, start to apply changes. Ask for professional help and start moving forward – you deserve it!

“I meditate, and so I know how to find a quiet place to be calm and peaceful.”

-Roseanne Barr-

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