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How Anxiety Can Interfere with Taste

The symptoms of anxiety can sometimes be incredibly strange. One type of symptom that surprises people is an altered sense of taste. Taste symptoms from anxiety are not tremendously common, but they're also not that unusual either. They're an unusual symptom that seems to be caused exclusively by anxiety.

Taste Symptoms = Anxiety?

Altered taste isn't something that should concern you. But it is one of many symptoms of anxiety. Learn more about your anxiety and how to control it by taking my free 7 minute anxiety test now.

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Taste Symptoms Are Never Alone

Altered taste from anxiety can occur at strange moments - even at times that you do not think you're suffering from anxiety - but they're never the only symptom, and they generally tell you very little about what your anxiety means. It's best to start with a free anxiety profile, that you can get by taking my anxiety test.

Altered taste is somewhat 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:

  • You may have a metallic taste in your mouth.
  • You may have an acidic taste in your mouth, or a regurgitation taste.
  • You may feel as though the general tastes in your mouth have changed.

There are many, many different reasons that your taste may be altered, and in some cases the reasons may be completely unclear. Taste is one of those strange, subjective things that doesn't always have an obvious issue. But there are some things that are known to affect taste. They include:

  • Taste Buds Changing Under Stress First, the biggest issue is that it does appear taste buds can change when they're under stress. It's not clear why, but stress seems to alter the perception of taste, indicating that there is some underlying issue that can create unusual tastes in your mouth.
  • Acid Reflux Anxiety can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. This can bring your stomach acids into your throat, which often you can taste. You can sometimes taste your acid reflux even if it never reaches your tongue. Acid reflux is not necessarily dangerous, but it is definitely a problem when you also have anxiety.
  • Breathing Through Your Mouth A very simple reason you may have taste changes is because breathing through your mouth also appears more common with anxiety, and this can lead to different tastes on your tongue. Mouth breathing can affect salivary glands and bacteria, possibly changing how your tongue and mouth feel.
  • General Sensitivity Anxiety can also make you much more sensitive to the way you experience taste. This type of sensitivity can make normal changes in your taste - for example, from bleeding gums, from bacteria, from something you ate, etc. - taste stronger than if you didn't have anxiety. Everyone has bad tastes in their mouth constantly, but anxiety makes a person more likely to notice these tastes and amplify them to the point where they feel as though their mouth has changed.

These are just some of the issues that can lead to taste changes from anxiety, and it's not a complete list either. Some medicines can cause metallic tastes, some anxiety conditions can exacerbate oral health issues, and there is some evidence that people that suffer from panic attacks experience taste changes, possibly as a result of adrenaline or hyperventilation.

How to Control Taste Symptoms

Taste issues are not generally something that one can control, 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 your anxiety to decrease.

I've helped many people with taste problems control their anxiety starting with my free 7 minute anxiety test. Take the test now to find out more about your anxiety and how to control it.

Start the test here.

Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.

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