Emotional Effects

Anxiety And Shock Symptoms

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Anxiety And Shock Symptoms

The strangest symptoms of anxiety are the ones that often cause the most distress. It's not uncommon to have symptoms that are so unusual they cause you to fear for your health, which unfortunately increases your anxiety.

One of these symptoms is the experience of shock. For some people it's like they suddenly got electrocuted. For others it's like the nerves on part of their body are activated for strange reasons. It's possible that these symptoms are caused specifically by your anxiety.

How Anxiety May Cause Shock

Shock symptoms are very different than "going into shock." Going into shock is a medical term for a rapid loss of blood pressure, and you are at severe risk of injury or death.

Anxiety doesn't have this problem. What anxiety does have are intermittent feelings of "shock" as though electric bolts are passing through your body. They're a part of many anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder.

While some people feel their entire body experiences a shock all at once, most people have it in only specific areas, like the legs or the hands. For some people this is a bit more intense and seems to happen very quickly. Others experience a feeling that resembles nerves firing and makes a part of the body feel like something is going wrong.

What Causes Shock?

What's causing these types of sensations is not entirely clear. Many people experience them, but the symptoms themselves are often very tough to describe, and it's possible that those experiencing shock may be talking about different things. But it's important to remember all of the ways that anxiety affects you, and it's easy to see why these might occur:

  • Adrenaline and Nerves Anxiety causes nerves to fire around the body as it prepares for fight or flight mode. In some cases, it's possible that these nerves experience unusual or delayed reactions, or may be responding to stress as a result of the constant stream of adrenaline that comes from when you're anxious. Muscles occasionally experience something similar to this as well. Cramps are involuntary muscle spasms caused by enhanced electrical activity in the nerves.
  • Vitamin Problems Anxiety can change the way your body processes vitamins. One theory is that anxiety uses up some of your magnesium, which plays a role in nerve health. It's possible that low magnesium may cause your nerves to work improperly, thus leading to unusual nerve responses and a feeling of shock.
  • Hormones and Neurotransmitters Anxiety and stress also affect all of your hormones and neurotransmitters in different ways. Since these are the messengers to the rest of your body, it's possible that some of them are reacting to poor stress responses.

It's also important to remember that anxiety also makes you notice every sensation your body has, and so in some cases these sensations you're having may be normal, but anxiety causes them to be more noticeable and feel abnormal.

How to Control Shocks From Anxiety

Taking control of these anxiety shocks is difficult, but not impossible. In the end, the only way to rid yourself of the symptoms is to control your anxiety, but in the interim you can try:

  • Taking Magnesium Supplements Talk to your doctor about magnesium. Many, many people are woefully deficient in their daily magnesium intake, possibly leading to an increase in anxiety symptoms. In addition, anxiety itself can decrease magnesium levels. There are many reasons to think that magnesium could help you control some of this anxiety.
  • Drink Water Water may also contribute to some of the more unusual anxiety symptoms, like shock, and for some reason it appears that many people with anxiety are often dehydrated. That may be because anxiety causes sweating and urination, or perhaps it's because while anxious most people do not think about drinking more water. Whatever the reason, ensuring you're drinking a healthy amount of water may help.
  • Get Up and Walk Most people do not experience these symptoms when walking or running. They experience them while sitting. So you may simply need to get your blood moving. It's possible that moving around somehow provides parts of your body with circulation that ensures your nerves are receiving what they need to work correctly.

Beyond that, you're simply going to need to start taking your anxiety more seriously and take the necessary steps to cure it.

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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