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Can Anxiety Cause Dizzy Spells

Sudden Blood Pressure Changes

17. Dizzy spells: Anxiety as a cause of dizziness

Maintaining optimal blood pressure is imperative to achieving a healthy body. However, its no secret that many people struggle to keep their blood pressure in check. Seniors, for example, are highly susceptible to hypertension and hypotension. This trend mostly happens because of hardened veins and arteries, plaque buildup, and pre-existing health conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Slower metabolism
  • Thyroid disorders

Notably, blood pressure fluctuations can affect the blood supply to the brain. If the brain tissues dont get enough nutrients or oxygen, you might experience sudden bouts of spinning sensations or dizziness. On the other hand, excessive blood pressure can lead to blood clot formation within the brain tissues. This can leave you at risk of a stroke and permanent brain damage.

Does Anxiety Cause Lightheadedness

Having an anxiety disorder means you might experience a vast array of symptoms. These symptoms may be both mental and physical and can be frustrating to deal with. Since there are so many possible ways that your body can handle this anxiety, it can be hard to diagnose. Commonly, the question is asked can anxiety cause lightheadedness?

Lightheadedness, in particular, can be incredibly disruptive to your daily life. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded often exacerbates feelings of anxiety, especially when you do not know what is going on. It may also be hard to tell where the lightheadedness is coming from if you do not realize you have anxiety.

What Causes Dizzy Spells With Headaches

If a headache often accompanies your dizzy spells, youll want to consider these:

Theres a special kind of migraine called a vestibular migraine thats known to cause dizziness. And those of us lucky enough to have a vagina are affected nearly five times more than people with penises, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

Not all vestibular migraine attacks occur with headaches, but they can and often do. Other symptoms include vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to motion, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Even though a headache doesnt always occur with this type of migraine, a current or past history of migraine with or without aura is required to make this diagnosis.

This is a biggie. Strokes occur when blood flow is blocked to your brain. An estimated 0.7% to 3.2% of people who go to the emergency department with dizziness are having a stroke.4 While you may associate strokes with older people, young people can also have a stroke, so dont discount it as a potential cause.

If youre having the worst headache of your life, any loss of limb function, or other symptoms that would suggest a stroke, you must seek emergency attention, says Dr. Hume.

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Get Proper Diagnosis To Know The Best Remedy To Use

The first step to coping with peripheral vertigo, head trauma, anemia, blood pressure fluctuations, and the conditions we listed above is to get an accurate medical diagnosis.

This will help you confirm your suspicions and check for pre-existing health conditions that may be contributing to the discomfort you are experiencing. It also helps you catch serious underlying causes of dizziness, such as atherosclerosis, stroke, and panic disorder.

So, we strongly recommend talking with your primary doctor before you start seeking remedies or techniques such as upper cervical chiropractic.

Numbness And Tingling Sensations

Dr Oz: Why Do You Get Dizzy? Vertigo Head Exercise for Brain Balance ...

Feelings of numbness and tingling can also occur during a panic attack. Areas of the body may have pins-and-needles sensations or feel completely frozen and numb. These symptoms can occur anywhere on the body but are most often felt in the hands, arms, legs, fingers, toes, and face.

Focused breathing can help here, too. Shaking your limbs and body may also help.

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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.

How Does Physical Therapy Help Vertigo

In forms of vertigo, where the inner ear has suffered damage and the function of that ear is fixed, not changing over time, physical therapy can be quite helpful. When the inner ear is damaged, people commonly experience severe spinning for several days. If after several weeks the person still has a loss of balance, then physical therapy can help restore this balance. The reason physical therapy is helpful is that it helps train the brain to compensate for the loss of function in the ear. Just as you can make a muscle stronger by exercising it, you can make the balance system in the brain work better by exercising it.

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What Are The Causes Of Dizzy Spells While Lying Down

If lying down doesnt seem to do anything for your dizziness, consider these two causes.

Okay, so its more than likely that youd know if you recently had a bonk to the head. What you might not know is that a concussion or head trauma can cause dizziness, even when lying down. Its a type of traumatic brain injury where you get a bump, hit, or other type of trauma to the head, and it makes your brain move inside your skull. In fact, about half of all people with a concussion experience dizziness at some point during their recovery, according to the American Institutes for Research.

You might also feel nauseated, unusually tired, like you cant remember things well, and have blurry vision. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a few warning signs that you’re dealing with a concussion and not something else include:

  • losing consciousness after a head injury
  • having one pupil thats larger than the other
  • experiencing seizures, slurred speech, or agitation.

If any of these examples ring true, its definitely time to head to the emergency room.

Anemia is when you have lower blood counts than normal. It can be due to a number of things, including iron and vitamin deficiencies, as we talked about above. The problem is, when you dont have enough blood, it cant carry enough oxygen to your tissues.5 This can cause shortness of breath and light-headedness or dizziness. If you are very anemic, you may even experience this symptom when lying down.

Can Anxiety Make You Dizzy Yes And Vice Versa

ANXIETY and DIZZINESS – What you need to know!

So, youve experienced one or more of the symptoms listed above. You find yourself experiencing these symptoms over an extended period of time but you also feel dizzy in tandem with your anxiety symptoms. Maybe you feel lightheaded or woozy when youre in a crowded area like a shopping mall. Maybe you feel like youre spinning or swaying, even when youre standing still. What do these symptoms mean? Ultimately, dizziness and anxiety are known to go hand-in-hand. First, on a general level, dizziness can produce anxiety, as it often causes discomfort and a sense of unease. After all, if youre struggling with an untreated dizziness or balance issue, youre going to feel anxiety until you experience some relief. But on a deeper note, the vestibular system could explain the connection between anxiety and dizziness.

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How Can Emotions Trigger Vertigo

The physical causes of vertigo can trigger this symptom by interfering with the balance organs in the inner ear or by affecting the blood supply to your brain, which can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Emotional triggers can cause vertigo in a slightly different way.

You may have heard of the flight or fight response, which is triggered by stressful, worrying or frightening situations. It happens because our adrenaline levels go up in response to these types of situations. Adrenaline activates the autonomic nervous system, which prepares our bodies to run away or fight back if we need to. It speeds up our heartbeat and breathing, dilates our eyes and makes us more alert. It can also cause unpleasant side effects such as unsteadiness, dizziness and vertigo.

You can experience these effects if youre feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. These emotions can trigger the symptoms of an underlying issue such as an inner ear condition, but they can also cause vertigo by themselves.

An Active Stress Response

Behaving in an apprehensive manner activates the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the bodys ability to deal with a threat – to either fight with or flee from it – which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

A part of the stress response changes include shunting blood to parts of the body vital for survival, such as the brain, and away from those that arent, such as the digestive system. To bring about this shunting action, heart rate and respiration are increased. These blood flow changes alone can cause a person to feel dizzy, lightheaded, off balance, and like you might pass out.

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How To Know If Dizziness Is Caused By Anxiety

It is important to understand that when dizziness is caused by anxiety, there is no a classic dizziness sensation and there must be no biological explanation. This dizziness is a sensation that the person experiences when exposed, or imagine, that he or she will have to be exposed to certain situations that create fear, tension or anxiety.

In practice, what happens is that these feelings and emotions are experienced with great intensity, so that they produce neurovegetative reactions such as dizziness. In fact, fear is a very powerful emotion that triggers intense and quick physiological responses to prepare us to escape the danger. Fear causes strong muscular tension, profuse sweating, agitated breathing and increases blood circulation, so we can escape the danger or face it more likely to succeed.

Another consequence of fear is that it refines our senses so that we can capture the small signs of danger in the environment. However, on some occasions this concentration ability can make us perceive reality in a slightly distorted way. For example, colors and lights can be perceived much more clearly, while we do not feel good about whats happening around us. This condition can further aggravate the feeling of dizziness.

There are some indications that dizziness can be caused by anxiety:

There is no physiological cause that justifies dizziness after having performed several medical examinations.

Can Dizzy Spells Be Caused By Stress

Pin on Vertigo Relief Neck Pain

There are various reasons why people experience dizzy spells and certainly stress/anxiety are one.

When we are stressed and anxious we often take shallow breaths or hyperventilate, both of which interfere with the supply of oxygen to the brain and can result in these symptoms.

Other reasons for dizziness may be dehydration, low blood sugar, lack of iron, low blood pressure and standing up too quickly, menopause or even a virus to the inner ear .

Dizziness can also be a side effect of certain medications or sometimes relate to underlying health issues.

Although dizziness is a common symptom and not usually serious, it is important to check with your doctor especially if it is happening on a regular basis and/or is accompanied by any other symptoms.

Do you have questions? Please feel free to ask.

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What Are Dizziness Treatment Options

This likely wont surprise you, but the treatments for dizziness can vary based on what is causing your dizzy spells in the first place. Its possible that you wont need treatment at all, and your body will naturally adjust to whatever caused the dizziness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If its vertigo, especially BPPV, physical therapy is one of the best and most effective treatments, explains Dr. Hume. He says depending upon your conditions severity, sometimes as little as one physical therapy visit can help reduce symptoms. Other times, it isnt that easy, and you may need five or more appointments.

Dizziness treatments related to migraine begin with improving three major factors, Dr. Hume says: diet, sleep, and stress. Then you can address environmental triggers, he says, such as busy visual scenes, strong odors, or even extended amounts of screen time.

If you do experience continued dizziness, it may be time to see a specialist for help. One of the best things a person can do is seek a specialist who specializes in balance, Dr. Piker recommends. These are usually audiologists and physical therapists.

Sleep Deprivation And Fatigue:

Apprehensive behavior stresses the body. A body thats under sustained stress can become hyperstimulated. Hyperstimulation can cause sleep problems, which can lead to sleep deprivation and fatigue. Sleep deprivation and fatigue are common causes of dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and feeling off balance.

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Relationships Between Dizziness And Anxiety

The observation that dizziness is linked to anxiety leads to the question of which comes first, dizziness or anxiety? The answer seems to be, it depends. There are three broad diagnostic categories that have been described for the different types of relationship between anxiety and dizziness :

  • Psychiatric vestibular disorders: An anxiety disorder that causes dizziness
  • Example: Someone with a fear of needles may feel dizzy or lightheaded when they have their blood drawn
  • Structural vestibular disorders: Dizziness that is caused by a structural abnormality in the peripheral vestibular system or another balance system causes anxiety
  • Example: Someone who gets dizzy when they turn their head may develop anxiety about moving, especially if they are in a public setting
  • Functional vestibular disorders: Dizziness that is related to anxiety but that cant be linked to a psychological or structural disorder functional disorders describe abnormal function in a physiological system that is structurally normal,
  • Example: Someone who gets motion sickness may become anxious about driving or riding in a vehicle
  • These categories have some overlap, and they may co-exist with each other and with other disorders. Diagnosis is based on whether there is a definite cause for the anxiety and/or dizziness, the frequency and duration of episodes, how long they have been going on, and whether other symptoms are present.

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