Physical Symptoms
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How Anxiety Affects Your Hands

Denise Griswold, MSc, LCAS
How Anxiety Affects Your Hands

While anxiety has a mental component, it affects almost every part of your body. From head to toe, the physical symptoms of anxiety can be significantly disruptive, and in many cases, they can lead to fearing anxiety even more.

One of the most notable areas where the signs of anxiety are prevalent are the hands and fingers. Hands are affected by anxiety in a variety of ways, and in some cases, these issues can be significant enough that they lead to considerable distress and possibly even mild impairment.

Hands Are Affected in Different Ways

Every anxiety disorder is different. Panic disorder can have vastly different physical signs and symptoms than generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, despite all of them falling under the anxiety disorder category.

The following represent many of the different ways that hands can be affected by anxiety. Note that anxiety and stress are powerful conditions, and it's possible that your affected hand symptoms are not listed below:

Symptoms affecting the hands are not unusual for people with anxiety. Having any of these symptoms is a good sign that you may benefit from treating your anxiety directly. 

Temporary Relief from Affected Hands

The key way to temporarily relieve any hand problems is to target the symptom directly. Sometimes, all you need to do is take a break - move your hands around so that they feel calmer. There is no immediate way to stop shaking hands without burning off adrenaline, but if they're causing you anxiety then your best bet is to get up and move around so that you burn off some of the excess energy and improve blood flow to your extremities.

Those that are hyperventilating need to gain control of their breathing. Slow down your breathing dramatically. Don't worry about expanding your chest or trying to get a deep breath - remember, even though hyperventilation may cause you to feel like you need more air, it's actually a lack of carbon dioxide that leads to hyperventilation. So take slow breaths, hold at the peak, and help your body regain its carbon dioxide levels.

None of these are permanent treatment. If you want to truly treat your anxiety and along with it your related hand symptoms, then you also need to make sure that you learn to manage your anxiety in the long-term. 

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