Buzzing Sensations From Anxiety

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 26th, 2020

Buzzing Sensations From Anxiety

The way anxiety affects your body can be upsetting, and in some cases it can feel very distressing. It's not uncommon to find that you experience symptoms that you might otherwise consider strange - symptoms that may actually lead to an increase in your anxiety as you try to find an explanation for why they occur.

That's what often happens to those that experience buzzing sensations. These buzzing sensations are usually physical, not auditory, although some people do hear the buzzing sounds. They're a strange symptom without an obvious immediate cause that can create significant distress in those that experience it.

Understanding the Buzzing Feeling

The buzzing sensation is hard for many to explain. What makes it more interesting is that it appears to occur even when no clear anxiety is present. That's one of the reasons that it's so hard to describe and diagnose, since the buzzing itself doesn't always occur at the peak of anxiety. 

The most common way of experiencing the buzzing feeling is for it to feel like your muscles, fingers, or legs are vibrating or shaking inside. It's not the same thing as "nervous shaking." Rather, it's like your body acts like an electric toothbrush that turns on and vibrates in strange and unusual ways. For some the twitching is very fast. For others, it's a bit slower.

Why Symptoms Occur When No Anxiety is Present

One of the reasons this symptom causes so much distress is because it can occur without any clear anxiety being present. Since most anxiety symptoms occur along with an emotional experience of anxiety, this can create a feeling as though something else may be wrong with your body. It commonly triggers many of the health fears that many with anxiety experience regularly.

But there are two issues that cause the buzzing feeling - and other unusual sensations that occur without anxiety - to happen when your anxiety dies down:

  • Some people experience unconscious fear and anxiety. These are sources of stress that you may not be entirely aware of. Sometimes when you are used to blocking out or trying to ignore feelings this can be particularly the case. Your body still responds to the anxiety, although you may feel fine in yourself at the time. 
  • Anxiety genuinely alters the way your body works, and long term stress can alter hormones, tense muscles, and more. All of those issues don't simply repair themselves immediately when the anxiety goes away, and that may cause your hormones, muscles, neurotransmitters and more to stay out of balance and cause these feelings and issues.

Don't forget that anxiety is associated with both worst case scenario thinking and a tendency to focus on feelings and sensations to such a strong degree that you become overly aware and sensitive to them. In some cases you may be overly paying attention to your body, making the sensations feel more intense without you realizing it.

Cause of Buzzing Sensations

The strange thing about these buzzing sensations is that it's not clear what causes them. Most likely it's simply a different way of reacting to that "falling asleep" feeling that comes from anxiety and stress. Anxiety and panic attacks cause issues that lead to tingling in the extremities, but not everyone experiences it the same way. Others experience more of a burning, while still others experience simple weakness. Buzzing may be another experience.

It's also possible that it's simply a reaction of the tense muscle to the hormones of the body. Muscles respond directly to hormones and nerves, and if both hormones and nerves are firing incorrectly, it may be due to some reaction they're having to the chemicals around it.

It would be easier if there were research into the cause of buzzing, but unfortunately little to no research has been conducted. The key thing to realize is that many people appear to suffer from this type of condition - some to such a degree that they can hear the buzzing in their ears - and it's not unusual for you to experience this sensation yourself.

Turning Off the Health Fears

When you have anxiety, Googling your symptoms is one of the worst things you can do. You'll find issues like buzzing - and many other types of disorders - to be caused by neurological conditions like MS and ALS.

You should always see a doctor if you are worried about new or changing symptoms. But rest assured that these conditions are rare, and your doctor will have experience with identifying them. You need to make sure that you are not contributing to your own anxiety by looking up all of your symptoms and convincing yourself you have the worst thing you can find.

Questions? Comments?

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

– Anonymous patient


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.

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