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Learn What To Do When Anxiety Makes You Feel Itchy

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated November 25th, 2020

Learn What To Do When Anxiety Makes You Feel Itchy

Anxiety is more than just a psychological issue. Anxiety manifests itself in all sorts of physical symptoms, and one of the most unusual is the way anxiety can cause you to itch.

Anxiety-induced itch can be caused by anxiety directly, or it may be related to skin problems that your anxiety worsens. In this article, we will examine the potential causes of anxiety-induced itch, and how to get rid of it.

Itchy Skin Caused By Anxiety

Itchy skin from anxiety is not common in the general sense. However, anxiety and/or stress can have various effects on your body. With your skin being the largest organ (this is always the answer on trivia shows), anxiety is known to worsen rashes or other skin conditions.

If these are already present, it can increase the amount of itching you would normally have. For example, those with eczema can notice a worsening of symptoms or sudden flare when stress levels are higher than normal. 

Anxiety on its own rarely causes itching skin; it is almost always accompanied by other symptoms. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of itchiness from anxiety without a full physical examination, because itch can result from a multitude of factors. The most common include the following: 

  • Stress Hives Hives are itchy bumps caused by your immune system responding to allergies, but they can be triggered by stress. Anxiety can cause a considerable increase in sweat secretions, which can exacerbate hives in those already prone to them.
  • Sweat Rash Anxiety also increases the rate and amount of sweating that can result in a sweat-related rash (also known as heat rash). While these rashes are completely safe, they are extremely itchy and can take upwards of two weeks to resolve. 
  • Triggered Itch While uncommon, anxiety can also trigger skin conditions you already have. Eczema, herpes, psoriasis, and other skin conditions are all capable of being triggered by stress and/or anxiety. 
  • Worsened Itch An already present itch can be worsened simply by being in an anxious state. What would normally be very mild itching might be intensified and made to feel much worse. It can also be associated with sensations that resemble itching like tingling. 

It is always possible to experience itching for no apparent reason, and the effects that anxiety has on the body are still being examined. Remember that sometimes the constant itch can lead to overall anxiety about one’s health. 

How to Treat Anxiety Itch

Only a doctor can diagnose the source of itching in order to rule out any infectious or chronic causes of itching. 

Reducing anxiety itch is exactly the same as reducing any type of itch. Despite the itch or rash being triggered by anxiety, the body must still find a way to overcome these symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rapid way to eliminate itch. 

However, there are ways to reduce the itch in general, which are the same things you would do to reduce the discomfort of any itching. These include: 

  • Cortisone
  • Witch Hazel
  • Ice Compresses
  • Oatmeal Home Remedies (such as baths)
  • Baking Soda
  • Aloe Vera

Avoid scratching the itch as much as possible. Scratching can cause bumps that can become irritated and inflamed, which actually makes them itch worse and last longer. Also, keep the area of the skin dry as much as possible, and avoid tight fitting clothes that may irritate the skin.

How to Prevent Anxiety Related Itch

When anxiety is causing you to itch, the key to managing or treating symptoms is to control your stress and anxiety. Only by keeping your anxiety in check can you prevent the itch or rash from returning.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have a specific question that this article didn’t answered? Send us a message and we’ll answer it for you!

Ask Doctor a Question

Question:

Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient

Answer:

You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

Ask Doctor a Question

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