Anxiety puts a great deal of stress on your body, and stress can affect your body in a variety of different and unusual ways.
While most people are familiar with many of the ways that anxiety affects the body internally, stress tends to create reactions in your organs, and your largest organ is your skin. Skin reactions to anxiety are less common, but not at all rare, and depending on the health of your skin it's possible to develop a rash from anxiety.
Rash = Anxiety?
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Rash also needs certain other symptoms to be related to anxiety.
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Rashes are one of the most unusual issues that affect the body. Depending on your anxiety level and its severity, you may be more likely to have rashes than others. Before reading onward, make sure you take my anxiety test to learn more.
Why Would Anxiety Cause a Rash?
It's not the anxiety itself that causes a rash, but the stress caused by anxiety.
Stress puts your body in a state of extreme tension and releases a great deal of cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream - both of which are known to lead to skin reactions.
Stress also makes your skin more sensitive, so things that would not typically cause you to have a skin reaction (sunscreens, lotions, etc.) would create one on your skin.
For reasons that are still not entirely clear, stress also causes skin conditions to get worse. If you have:
Outbreaks of all of these problems are often triggered or made worse by stress. Stress doesn't create these conditions, but it prevents them from remaining dormant or less active.
How to Tell the Difference Between a Rash Caused by Anxiety and Something Else?
Unfortunately, skin reactions tend to all look the same, and even doctors can struggle to tell the difference between anxiety induced rashes and something else. The best way to know if the rash is caused by anxiety is to control your stress and rule out other causes, such as any new lotions or creams you may have used on your skin.
How to Reduce Your Anxiety Rash?
The most important thing for you to do is control your anxiety. Often rashes themselves create excess anxiety and stress, and this will often make the rash worse. Control your anxiety, and the rash will eventually go away.
Rashes do not go away automatically, however. They may take a few days to even a week. If the rash is not too disruptive, you may simply need to wait it out. Rashes can come and go for no reason at all, and even after you reduce your anxiety it's possible for the rash to last for a short time while your skin starts to relax.
Otherwise, general rash treatments tend to be effective. If your rash is caused by a skin condition, you can simply treat the skin condition. Make sure you're not making your rash worse by continuing to experience stress, scratching the bumps, or wearing clothes/using creams that can cause irritation.
Prevention is the Key to Success
Ideally, you should learn to control your anxiety in order to prevent future rashes. Once a rash comes, it tends to last for a while. But if you reduce your stress and anxiety, the rashes will be less likely to come back.
Anxiety Can Make Your Rash Worse
Many of those with anxiety see a rash and respond in ways that are counterproductive to its treatment. For example:
- They may cover it up with long sleeves preventing it from breathing.
- They may try to wash their skin too much, leading to skin irritation.
- They may experience more anxiety because of their anxiety rash, leading to a longer lasting rash.
It's important to understand your own anxiety and how you react to it before you can effectively treat it.
My 7-minute anxiety test is a great place to start.
Anxiety has a profound effect on the body - more than we used to believe. Rashes are yet another example of an anxiety problem that looks like a physical problem. Control your anxiety, and you can control your rashes.
In the past, I've helped hundreds of people control their anxiety, but before they can start I tell them to take my free 7-minute anxiety test. The only way to treat your anxiety is to understand it, and the test provides a valuable snapshot of your anxiety symptoms.
If you're ready, take the test now.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Jan 03, 2018.