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How to Stop Chronic Anxiety From Dysesthesia

Dysesthesia is an unusual and frightening physical disorder. Caused by what many believe are problems with the nerves, dysesthesia occurs when the act of touching a part of the body causes some unpleasant sensation, such as pain, burning, or tingling. In some cases, these sensations may occur with no touch at all.

Dysesthesia has been linked to severe chronic anxiety, and that anxiety is then linked to increasing the frequency of dysesthesia. This article explores dysesthesia and its relationship with anxiety.

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Why Dysesthesia Leads to Chronic Anxiety

Numerous studies have concluded that those living with all types of dysesthesia may be susceptible to severe chronic anxiety. If you haven't taken my free anxiety test, make sure you do to learn more about your anxiety and how it can be treated.

There are several different types of dysesthesia. These include:

  • Occlusal dysesthesia Biting feeling inside the mouth.
  • Cutaneous dysesthesia Tingling, burning, or pain through touch (including clothes)
  • Scalp dysesthesia - Pain, burning, or itching of the scalp.

What's interesting is that these conditions not only cause anxiety - they can cause different anxiety disorders, from generalized anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder and more.

There are many different reasons that dysesthesia alone can cause severe chronic anxiety. The most likely include:

  • Chronic Pain Chronic pain can absolutely lead to the development of anxiety. Many people find that when dealing with pain (or other recurring physical symptoms), the long-term stress can be overwhelming to their psychological health, and ultimately lead to the development of psychological disorders.
  • Frightening Diseases Until you're diagnosed - or even after you're diagnosed - you may find yourself living with the fear over the health issue that caused the dysesthesia in the first place. With disorders like Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, Diabetes and more, it's not uncommon to fear the potential for serious disease and find that the dysesthesia _acts as a reminder_ of this disease.
  • Quality of Life Disruption Much like the effects of chronic pain, dysesthesia significantly disrupts one's quality of life. It can affect relationships, it can make wearing clothes difficult or uncomfortable, and it may feel like a constant force that makes every action you do less enjoyable. For many, this means that it's harder to be happy and that feeling can often lead to anxiety.

Many of the disorders themselves that may cause dysesthesia can also have anxiety as a symptom. Most disorders that affect the nerves can also create brain stress, and anything that affects brain stress may lead to anxiety.

Understanding Your Dysesthesia

Subjective assessments have shown that anxiety may also lead to a worsening of dysesthesia symptoms, and anxiety itself can cause sensations that feel like dysesthesia - although they tend to be less severe. Always talk to a doctor to learn more about the causes of your dysesthesia, because only through understanding the causes you can better understand how to treat them.

Potential Methods of Overcoming Anxiety From Dysesthesia

One of the problems that occur for those with chronic pain is that the pain itself makes treatments harder. That's why everything starts with your doctor. Learn what causes the dysesthesia, so that you can ultimately treat that first and reduce some of the potential pain or other symptoms that may contribute to anxiety.

You will also want to strongly consider the following:

  • Support Groups - It can be hard to deal with these types of symptoms when you also feel like you're going through them alone. Surrounding yourself with others that experience similar issues, even if it's simply online in various online forums, will help make living with the disorder easier.
  • Consider Medication Normally it's not advised to take anxiety or mood medications. But studies have shown that antidepressants may reduce the symptoms of dysesthesia. Talk to your doctor about whether or not an antidepressant is right for you. Always partner it with a non-medicinal treatment as well, to ensure that you're working on ways to permanently reduce your anxiety without medicine.

None of these are perfect options. The key is to manage your dysesthesia according to your doctor's advice, manage the disorder that leads to dysesthesia, and then make sure that you're taking steps to reduce your anxiety separately.

When I've worked with those that have chronic anxiety from dysesthesia in the past, I start them with my free 7-minute anxiety test. It's the only real way to make sure that you're correctly addressing your coping ability and improving the way you treat your anxiety symptoms.

I strongly encourage you to take the test here.


Hoss, Diane, and Samantha Segal. Scalp dysesthesia. Archives of dermatology 134.3 (1998): 327.

Zilli, C., et al. Screening for psychiatric illness in patients with oral dysesthesia by means of the General Health Questionnaire-twenty-eight item version (GHQ-28) and the Irritability, Depression and Anxiety Scale (IDA). Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology 67.4 (1989): 384-389.

Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Nov 29, 2017.

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