Physical Symptoms
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Anxiety Sweating - How To Reduce It

Vivian Okirie, M.D.
Anxiety Sweating - How To Reduce It

Many of the symptoms of anxiety are frustrating. Sweating is especially annoying, and one of the most common anxiety symptoms. This is why so many anxiety sufferers inquire about how to stop or reduce sweating.

Sweating is actually a natural stress response related to the “fight or flight” system, and it serves as an adaptation that actually has a lot of advantages. Sweat on the skin will eventually evaporate, cooling the body to prevent elevated internal temperatures. Unfortunately, sweating with anxiety is not needed to cool the body, but merely causes an unwanted side effect that most individuals wish they could stop. 

Why Does Sweating Occur And How Can it Be Controlled?

The reality is that nervous sweating is not only common - it is normal. When you are nervous, your body's “fight or flight” system activates, sending a rush of energy hormones into your body that trigger an increase in heart rate and blood flow, among other things. 

Sweating is then also activated to help cool the body down from all of that energy, otherwise we would overheat and possibly damage our muscles, enzymes, and other important biological factors that cannot operate at such high temperatures.

That is why sweating, in the general sense, is both normal and healthy. The problem is when it occurs too often or in undesirable situations.

General nervousness and anxiousness may also cause sweating, even without an anxiety disorder. For example, many people find that before an important meeting or a final in high school or college that their hands start to sweat. That is because they are stressed, and their body is responding to the extra energy by cooling them down.

How to Reduce Anxious Sweating

The key to reducing anxious sweating is not stopping the sweating itself. You cannot (and do not want to) stop your body's ability to cool down; otherwise your body could overheat and potentially damage your brain and organs.

Instead, you need to find a way to control your heartbeat and calm your nerves so that your body is not heating up and sweating to compensate. You also need to reduce excess heat in the areas that are sweating, in order to prevent excess sweating. Some examples of how to reduce this sweating include:

These are the types of strategies you can use in the moment, but in general the key to avoiding sweating is to avoid nervousness and anxiety.

If you just suffer from nervousness in some situations (like going on a blind date) then your sweating is likely normal. The key to preventing sweat is to find ways to calm yourself so that the event does not generate as much of a fear response. Deep breathing, meditation, and jogging long beforehand can be a tremendous help here.

If you are nervous all the time, or as a result of anxiety, then you will need to learn to control your anxiety symptoms. It is crucial to know if you are suffering from constant anxiety or panic attacks; only by checking the symptoms can you be certain you have anxiety and figure out how to manage it.

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