One of the biggest issues that prevents those with anxiety from curing themselves is the way the symptoms create more anxiety. Myoclonus is a prime anxiety. Myoclonus is the rapid, instant twitching of a muscle somewhere on the body, where the muscle immediately contracts and stops in moments.
In those without anxiety, a myoclonus is usually ignored and forgotten. But in those with anxiety, these muscle twitches become cause for concern, often leading people to self-diagnose terrible diseases.
Myoclonus = Anxiety?
Anxiety appears to cause an increase in myoclonus symptoms. Only a doctor can diagnose the cause of your muscle spasms, but you can take my anxiety test to learn more about what your anxiety may mean and how you can go about treating it.
Anxiety and Muscle Spasms
Anxiety really can create an increase in brief muscle spasms. It's not entirely clear why. Anxiety does pump adrenaline in the body, which likely causes the muscles to react unusually. It also affects neurotransmitters and hormones, both of which send responses to the nerves. It's possible it's simply evidence that your muscles have been drained of energy.
Take my anxiety test to see if your anxiety symptoms may be leading to myoclonus. The truth is that myoclonus occurs in nearly everyone, not just those with anxiety, and so it may not even be anxiety related at all. Some people twitch when they start to fall asleep at night. Others twitch after exercise. Others twitch for no reason, or twitch after sitting/laying down. There is often no cause or reason.
Anxiety and Self-Diagnosis
Unfortunately, myoclonus is also a symptom of some very serious neurological diseases with other similar symptoms to anxiety, and that can cause people to experience considerable distress over whether or not their symptoms are something more.
Only a doctor can diagnose you, but you do need to recognize that this mindset is incredibly common. Most people with anxiety - especially those with panic disorder or health anxiety that are prone to Googling symptoms - often fear that they have some of the diseases linked to myoclonus, including:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's Disease
- Huntington's Disease
It's always possible that someone does have these diseases, which is why seeing a doctor if you're concerned is so important. Indeed, multiple sclerosis and anxiety can have near identical symptoms at first, and many people with anxiety fear that they have MS.
But anxiety really can cause all of the same problems, including muscle twitches, and unfortunately anxiety also makes you more prone to assuming the worst. It's a natural symptom of anxiety, and one that can be extremely difficult to control.
How to Ignore Myoclonus
These types of muscle twitches can be difficult to ignore, especially if you're prone to health anxiety. Consider the following tips and strategies for getting some relief from these symptoms:
- Stop Googling Symptoms First and foremost, you need to make sure you stop looking up your symptoms and what they mean. The Internet is an incredible place, but it is often extremely misleading. MS, for example, is a very rare disease, while anxiety is incredibly common. Often you'll find that your symptoms are linked to MS and anxiety, and your anxiety will make you worry that you actually have MS - especially since the symptoms of anxiety cause you to have that worry. You need to make sure you stop looking up diseases so that you can't have that reaction.
- Exercise Sometimes your mind needs an explanation for your muscle twitching. Exercise is the solution. Exercise can contribute to further muscle twitching, but it also gives your brain an excuse for that twitching so that it doesn't assume it's disease related. It is possible to trick the brain, and by exercising often the muscle twitches you experience will not be as worrisome. Also, exercise has natural anxiety reduction properties that can be very helpful.
- Massage Anxiety really does put a great deal of stress on your muscles, and many believe that massage is a valuable tool for reducing some of that stress and potentially reducing these spasms. Getting a regular massage now and then from a trained expert can go a long way towards making sure your spasms don't continue and that you get a break from stress.
Remember, these spasms are almost never anything to worry about. But they're also not something that can be easily controlled, since they're involuntary and automatic reactions. You still need to address your underlying anxiety issues before you can hope to see relief.
I've helped thousands of people overcome that anxiety. Start now with my free 7 minute anxiety test. Get your complete anxiety profile and information on how you can finally start to find relief.
Monday, Kim, and Joseph Jankovic.Psychogenic myoclonus. Neurology 43.2 (1993): 349-349.
Ritchie, E. Cameron, R. Harlan Bridenbaugh, and BahmanJabbari.Acute generalized myoclonus following buspirone administration. The Journal of clinical psychiatry 49.6 (1988): 242.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.