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How Anxiety Can Affect Your Taste

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
How Anxiety Can Affect Your Taste

The effects of anxiety can sometimes be incredibly strange. One example that surprises people is that anxiety may result in an altered sense of taste. Let’s explore this further.

Taste Symptoms Rarely Occur in Isolation

Altered taste from anxiety can occur at strange moments - even at times that you do not think you're suffering from anxiety. However, often you’ll notice that you are experiencing other anxiety symptoms at the same time as well. 

Altered taste is something of a strange symptom because there is not a lot of research evidence into how it occurs or why. Taste may be altered in several ways:

There are many, many different reasons that your taste may be altered.. Here are some examples:

These are just some of the issues that can lead to taste changes from anxiety. Some medicines can cause metallic tastes, some anxiety conditions can exacerbate oral health issues, and people with panic attacks may experience taste changes as a result of adrenaline or hyperventilation.

How to Control Taste Symptoms

Taste issues are not generally something that one can control directly, other than simply putting something in your mouth that tastes good. Some people find that chewing gum helps them with stress, and the flavors of gum can often drown out any of the negative tastes that you have.

The only true way to stop the taste problems from anxiety is to address your anxiety directly, and ensure that you are doing what it takes to get appropriate treatment.

Article Resources
  1. Thomas, Lloyd J., Norman Tiber, and Sylvan Schireson. The effects of anxiety and frustration on muscular tension related to the temporomandibular joint syndrome. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology 36.5 (1973): 763-768.
  2. Parker, M. Rockwell, et al. Expression and nuclear translocation of glucocorticoid receptors in type 2 taste receptor cells. Neuroscience Letters 571 (2014): 72-77.
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