Published On: September 27, 2023
Reviewed On: September 27, 2023
Updated On: September 27, 2023
Anxiety is a common reaction to stressful situations and experiences. An estimated 40 million adults in this country live with generalized anxiety disorder, which can cause emotions like fear, worry, panic, and different types of stress. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms, too, like queasiness, butterflies in your stomach, or even stomach cramps, and research has identified a link between anxiety, nausea, and vomiting.
Anxiety nausea is something many people experience, and it can be challenging to deal with. Understanding more about nausea from anxiety can help you manage and overcome this anxiety symptom.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about anxiety and nausea, including how to identify it, what it feels like, and how to cope with anxiety-related nausea.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations, and it can manifest in various ways. For some people, a symptom of anxiety is feeling nauseous — but what causes anxiety and nausea?
Anxiety causing nausea can be the body’s natural reaction to stress. When you experience anxiety, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare you for the “fight or flight” response, which increases heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates. They also divert blood flow away from non-essential functions, like digestion.
This redirection of blood flow might cause gastrointestinal discomfort, like stomachaches or vomiting, explaining the potential feeling of nausea during an anxious moment.
Expert Insight“When an individual experiences a crisis, anxiety is triggered which initiates a fight, flight, and freeze response. This response is a normal reaction to a stressful situation. During the stressful situation, stress hormones called neurotransmitters are released from the brain to the body for the protection of the individual.”
It can be challenging to identify where anxiety nausea comes from, but becoming aware of the signs of this anxiety symptom can make it easier to manage. The first step is learning what nausea from anxiety feels like and how it’s different from other forms of stomach issues.
Anxiety-related nausea often manifests as a churning or unsettled feeling in your stomach that may come on suddenly during moments of stress or worry. This sensation might be accompanied by a loss of appetite, increased heart rate, sweating, dizziness, or even vomiting in severe cases. The intensity of these feelings can vary greatly depending on the level of anxiety and the body’s response to stress.
Expert Insight“An individual who is experiencing anxiety nausea may feel butterflies in the stomach, queasiness, stomach cramps, churning of the stomach, dry heaving and throwing up.”
To determine if your nausea is caused by anxiety or another issue (like food poisoning or illness), consider the following factors:
Of course, you should rule out any of the following as being potential causes of nausea that aren’t related to anxiety:
If you’re unsure whether your nausea is due to anxiety or another issue, talk to your doctor or another healthcare provider who can help determine the root cause and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Dealing with anxiety and nausea can be difficult, but there are several ways you can help calm your stomach and improve your mental state. By focusing on reducing nausea first and then addressing the underlying anxiety, you may find relief from both issues.
To alleviate anxiety-induced nausea, try these tips:
Calming your anxiety is about more than just managing anxiety symptoms. If your anxiety is causing nausea, you must get to the root cause of the anxiety itself. Fortunately, you can learn ways to deal with anxiety through simple, self-help techniques like the following:
For more tips, check out these natural remedies for anxiety.
Expert Insight“Breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, meditation, stress release activites, and self-care are examples of techniques that can calm anxiety.”
Managing symptoms of anxiety, including nausea, can be a challenging task to undertake, but with the right resources and help, it is possible. Seeking help from an online platform like Talkspace is a great way to learn how to tell if nausea is from anxiety and take that first step toward overcoming it.
Talkspace offers you access to mental health professionals who are skilled and trained in helping people deal with anxiety. Best of all, you can seek therapy from your home, office, or wherever you are most comfortable. Reach out to Talkspace today to learn how online therapy can help you control your anxiety nausea and any other mental health condition you’re facing.
ADAA. Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Accessed April 11, 2023.
Pasyar N, Rambod M, Zahedi F, Ramzi M. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2022;30(7):5871-5879. doi:10.1007/s00520-022-06997-5. Accessed April 11, 2023.
Famous Erwin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years of counseling experience. He is licensed in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Idaho. Famous is a team member of theTalkspace Council of Mental Health Experts. Famous loves working as a therapist on the talkspace platform. At Talkspace, Everyday is exciting because he has an opportunity to do what he loves and that’s helping people overcome life’s challenges through effective life skills and coping skills. Famous has a passion for working with men. Traditionally, men don’t seek counseling so as a male therapist, Famous ensures the men that he works with that counseling is a safe place to be vulnerable.