Can Anxiety Attacks Cause Dizziness?

Can Anxiety Attacks Cause Dizziness?

Do you feel dizzy when you are anxious?

That's because anxiety can cause a range of symptoms such as headaches and vertigo.

But why and how can anxiety attacks cause dizziness? Let's dive into how anxiety attacks can cause dizziness.

Read on.

When you're anxious, your body is preparing to go into fight-or-flight mode.

This means it's increasing blood flow to your muscles, which in turn makes your heart pump faster and harder.

This is what causes the racing heartbeat and palpitations that people often experience during an anxiety attack.

You might find that you are feeling dizzy and need to sit or lie down.

And you may still feel uncomfortable and try to change your positioning.

This dizziness may come with a feeling that makes you believe you are in danger.

In severe cases, dizziness can accompany acute and chronic anxiety.

Here is a fact.

Anxiety attacks affect more than 40 million people or 18 percent of the population in the US yearly.

We will be discussing the relationship between anxiety attacks and dizziness, including other common symptoms, and when to seek medical help.

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Relationship Between Anxiety And Dizziness

Dizziness is a sensation of being light-headed, faint, weak, and disoriented in space – create a sensation that your environment is spinning and moving.

Dizziness can occur when you are standing still, moving, or lying down.

It can cause you to:

  • Fall.
  • Feel nauseous.
  • Blackout, etc.


On the other hand, anxiety disorder is a mental health issue. 

It makes you respond to situations with extreme fear and dread. 

Some physical symptoms may include rapid heartbeat and sweating.

So, How Can Anxiety Attacks Cause Dizziness?

The dizziness that accompanies an anxiety attack can be a symptom of the attack itself, or it can be a symptom of something else related to the attack.

Anxiety attacks can cause dizziness by affecting the way you breathe, causing you to breathe too quickly or too slowly.

The amount of oxygen in your blood then drops, which affects how your brain functions. 

This causes dizziness, along with other symptoms such as fatigue and weakness.

Anxiety attacks also affect your brain chemistry by releasing hormones into your bloodstream that cause stress and increase your heart rate. 

This makes it difficult to control your emotions, which leads to feelings of panic and fear. 

If you are feeling anxious because of some event in your life (such as the loss of a loved one), then this could trigger an anxiety attack and lead to dizziness as well.

Some forms of anxiety are normal and don't call for medical attention.

For example, if you are faced with a difficult situation at work, making an important decision, waiting for a test result, or waiting for an interview. 

Anxiety can also be a good thing. 

For example, it helps us to stay alert in danger and look for a possible way to stay safe.

Some causes of anxiety disorders are:

  • Heredity
  • Chemical imbalance
  • Environmental factors

Ways Anxiety Attack Can Cause Dizziness

  •  Anxiety disorder can make you emotionally unstable causing you to feel dizzy.
  •  Hyperventilation is common among people experiencing panic attacks. Anxiety can often cause a person to be hyperventilating which in turn causes an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. A person who is hyperventilating might take short, quick breaths which means they are not getting enough oxygen. A feeling of dizziness may occur because the brain is not receiving enough oxygen. They may feel faint or lightheaded because of this lack of oxygen The unnatural breathing in this situation usually leads to low oxygen in the brain which can cause fainting or dizziness.
  • Fight or flight response. When you are faced with danger, your instincts typically kick. At this stage, your fight or flight response will be triggered as you get ready for the imminent danger. This extreme feeling is accompanied by a sudden rush of adrenaline which can make you feel dizzy.
  • Rapid heartbeat. This goes together with hyperventilating. As your heart rate increases, so does your breathing, leaving you to feel light-headed or dizzy.
  • Inner ear disorders (Vestibular disorders) can also be linked to anxiety. This is seen in extreme conditions causing severe disability. In rare cases, a vestibular disorder that results in dizziness may increase the risk of developing anxiety disorders.
  • Vertigo. One of the most common symptoms that accompany an anxiety attack is dizziness. Anxiety attacks can cause dizziness together with other similar signs. When you experience a panic or anxiety attack, your body goes into "fight or flight" mode. This is a natural response to perceived danger and prepares your body for action.


During this time the body goes through many physiological changes that are designed to help you survive the perceived threat. 

These changes cause numerous symptoms throughout the body, including dizziness and vertigo.

Vertigo is a sensation where the ground or surrounding is spinning rapidly which causes you to lose balance.

Can Anxiety Attack Cause Dizziness? How to Know If You Are Experiencing Dizziness from An Anxiety Attack!

So, how do you know if you are experiencing dizziness from an anxiety attack? 

If you have been feeling anxious for a long time and then suddenly start to feel lightheaded or your heart starts to race, it could be a sign that something else is going on besides just anxiety.

Anxiety attacks can come on suddenly and they usually last less than ten minutes but they may last longer depending on how severe they are.

Some people feel like they're going to pass out or even vomit when having their first attack! 

You should see a doctor as soon as possible if any of these symptoms occur during or after an anxiety attack so that proper treatment can be given right away before things get worse!

When you have an anxiety attack, your body thinks it's under attack.

It reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes your body to react in a variety of ways, such as:

- Your heart beats faster

- Your blood pressure increases

- You burn energy more quickly

All of these changes are responsible for some form of dizziness during an anxiety attack. 

For example, increased heart rate and blood pressure can cause lightheadedness or fainting during an attack. 

The increase in energy burn can cause your muscles to become fatigued more quickly than normal, which can lead to the feeling that the room is spinning (vertigo). 

Acute Anxiety Vs Chronic Anxiety – What's The Difference? 

The main difference between acute anxiety and chronic anxiety is the time duration.

Frequent feeling of dizziness is simply known as chronic dizziness.

While acute dizziness is characterized by a short-term episode of dizziness that may occur during anxiety attacks or when you stand up too quickly.

Treatment For Dizziness

Treatment of dizziness depends on the condition that caused it.

For chronic dizziness caused by an inner ear disorder, the following treatment options may be helpful:

  • Physical therapy is an ideal treatment option for a person with a vestibular disorder such as vestibular migraine, and Meniere's disease.
  • Additionally, exercises that engage walking and balance, the head and eyes can be employed to help reduce the effect of vertigo episodes and dizziness.
  • In situations where physical therapy is ineffective against dizziness, medications may be used to help reduce the symptoms. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for vestibular disorders are:
  1. Antidepressants
  2. Calcium channel blockers (CCB)
  3.  Beta-blockers


Dizziness which results from an underlying anxiety disorder can be relieved with treatments like:

  •  Psychotherapy procedures like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been confirmed to have a high success rate in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Furthermore, an increase in self-awareness of anxiety together with learning how to cope with anxiety may help in eliminating some of the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Medications like antidepressants can also be used in the treatment of dizziness. Many times, medications are paired with psychotherapy to reduce the symptoms of anxiety for a longer time.
  • Some other techniques can be incorporated with therapy and medications. Relaxation practices such as yoga, meditation, and mild exercise can be used to reduce the daily symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

Prevention 

The relationship between anxiety attacks and dizziness is reciprocal, meaning that anxiety attacks can cause dizziness, and dizziness can cause anxiety attacks. 

In many cases, it has been known that anxiety and dizziness go hand-in-hand, which can produce an endless pool of symptoms.

Dizziness is one symptom that can be caused by many different things, so it is important to know what triggers it in order for you to treat yourself appropriately. 

If you are experiencing dizziness from an anxiety attack, try breathing exercises such as yoga or meditation before seeking medical help.

By knowing and treating the underlying cause (physical or psychological), you can ease the symptoms of dizziness which helps to improve your quality of life. 

When To See A Doctor 

If you are having streaks of dizziness that persists and interferes with your daily activity, then you need a medical examination.

Running a medical examination will bring to light the main cause of these symptoms, and treating them can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms.

However, the cause of dizziness may be unknown which may indicate an underlying issue like anxiety. 

If so, then you may be directed to a therapist or other mental health practitioners for treatment. 

Conclusion

So, to conclude our answer to the question, can an anxiety attack cause dizziness? 

Yes, dizziness is a common symptom of anxiety

Although dizziness can be a side effect of some medications or a result of an inner ear problem (often the result of an infection), it's usually due to stress and anxiety.

When you're stressed out, your body responds in various ways.

The physical response to anxiety includes a lot of changes that affect your breathing, heart rate, digestion and more. 

All of these changes can be responsible for dizziness when you have an anxiety attack. 

Seek medical attention if you feel one or more of the symptoms in this article.

Resources 

priorygroup.com/blog/anxiety-and-dizziness-why-does-it-happen#:~:text=Dizziness%20can%20be%20a%20symptom%20of%20an%20anxiety%20disorder,-Anxiety%20disorders%20typically&text=Your%20breathing%20changes%20–%20when%20you,your%20hands%20and%2For%20feet

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-dizziness

https://www.healthline.com/health/can-stress-cause-vertigo

https://www.neuropt.org/docs/default-source/vsig-english-pt-fact-sheets/anxiety-and-stress-dizziness4ca035a5390366a68a96ff00001fc240.pdf?sfvrsn=80a35343_0

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