Physical Symptoms
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What to Do About Anxiety Tremors?

Vivian Okirie, M.D.
What to Do About Anxiety Tremors?

Alterations in movement can be prominent when suffering from anxiety. Anxiety and/or stress can result in various changes in the body, and one of these symptoms is known as a tremor.

“Tremor” technically refers to any type of shaking or involuntary rhythmic muscle movement. There are multiple types of tremor associated with anxiety, and often anxiety amplifies other medical conditions that may cause tremor issues already. 

Types and Causes of Tremors

Tremor associated anxiety can be very disruptive and cause a considerable amount of stress. In other cases, the shaking is fairly mild. Another common symptom is the anxiety “shake” that can occur with or without an anxiety disorder. Other symptoms that are much less common involve muscle twitching such as: 

The following are known to increase the risk of anxiety tremors although via different mechanisms: 

Adrenaline

The most common link between anxiety and tremors is adrenaline. Anxiety is the activation of your “fight or flight” response to danger, even when no danger is present. The response triggers a rush of adrenaline, which feeds your body with energy and prepares you to flee or fight. It also constricts your blood vessels. 

All of these can cause your body to start shaking/tremor. Most often this shaking is directly associated with your anxious moment, and while temporary, it usually lasts just as long as the threat is present. Do not be alarmed, if the tremor extends despite resolution of other anxiety symptoms. 

Muscle Tension

Anxiety and stress are also linked to muscle tension. Muscle tension puts a great deal of strain on your muscles, and, in some cases, this type of tension can result in unusual muscle movements. Muscle twitching may occur when the muscle is exhausted from stress, resulting in a tremor or tremor-like experience.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Although not entirely common, some theorize that anxiety can actually create vitamin deficiencies, particularly with magnesium. During times of significant stress, the body utilizes magnesium and other minerals at an increased rate, possibly causing depleted serum levels.

Magnesium, especially, plays a role in nerve function. It is possible that those with anxiety are more prone to low levels of magnesium, possibly leading to nerve twitching and muscle tremors.

Thinking of Tremors

While rare, it is possible for some individuals to be able to induce tremors simply by thinking of them. Some people experience a profound need to move their muscles and can actually induce this movement. Muscles that become too conscious (in other words, muscles that you focus on too much) can have unusual feelings and sensations that may contribute to sensations of tremor.

Dehydration

Finally, dehydration can increase the risk of tremor. Generally, dehydration is not an anxiety symptom, but it can be worsened with severe anxiety episodes. Keep in mind that worsening dehydration can heighten anxiety symptoms, making this a potential cycle that should be sought after to ensure it does not continue. 

How to Control the Tremor From Anxiety

If you feel as if your tremor is too pronounced, please go visit your primary care provider; it may be possible that you are suffering from a baseline movement disorder that is heightened but not caused by anxiety. 

Ideally, you need to make sure that you are addressing these fears as best you can, and seeing a doctor will help. Remember that anxiety has a tendency to make you fear the worst, so do not allow your health worries to run wild without addressing them with a physician first. You should also remain hydrated and ensure that you are getting proper nutrition to rule out any simple dietary causes of tremor.

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