Your question: Why do I feel dizzy during anxiety?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, I’m a psychologist with experience in cognitive behavioral therapy. I can see that you are having problems with anxiety, specifically related to the feeling of dizziness, and I wanted to write to you through this article explaining how anxiety works in your body and what strategies you can implement to cope with it.

First, it is necessary to understand how anxiety works in your body, before talking about the feeling of dizziness. Anxiety is a completely natural and necessary emotion that you experience when your mind perceives a threat. This threat is not always real, it can be exaggerated or imagined. The important thing is that your brain perceives it as real and therefore puts your body in a state of imminent alert.

Anxiety is useful because it warns you when you should act before a problem or situation that is presented to you, but it becomes a problem when it is too intense and recurrent, to the point of hindering your performance in the areas of your life. Anxiety also generates annoying physical symptoms, among these the feeling of dizziness.

Therefore, I would like to comfort you by telling you that the feeling of dizziness and other physical symptoms of anxiety are completely normal, and although they can be frightening, they do not pose any danger to your integrity. They are difficult to deal with, yes, but not impossible.

Before I give you some strategies to cope with anxiety and the feeling of dizziness, I would like you to continue to learn how your body works when you are anxious.

Where does that dizzy feeling come from?

Did you know that the organ in charge of our body’s balance is in the ear? The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, is responsible for body coordination and balance. When you experience anxiety, the feeling of physical dysregulation affects your entire body, including the vestibular system(1).

This causes you, even if you are standing upright and completely sober, to feel a deep dizziness, sometimes the feeling that you are going to faint so you have to sit down as soon as possible. So, the dizzy feeling you feel when you are anxious is completely real and has a medical origin.

What other symptoms can you feel when you are anxious?

Dizziness is not the only symptom you experience when you are anxious but it is probably the most intense. This varies from person to person. In general, the most common symptoms during anxiety are:

  • Tachycardia and sweating.
  • Headache and/or stomach ache.
  • Numbness in joints.
  • Intense fear or panic.
  • Sadness and desire to cry.
  • Irritability.
  • Desire to run away from wherever you are.

What can you do about it?

There are both general and specific strategies for the treatment of anxiety and its symptoms. In your case, it is important to address the underlying anxiety, finding its source, and then seek a solution to the feeling of dizziness, which can become more severe and recurrent over time. In my experience, cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful for anxious people to regain control of their lives.

Keep a journal of your emotions

One technique I like to suggest to people is emotional journaling or self-reporting, as it is quite useful for two things: draining complicated emotions and finding the cause of a particular problem. In your case, the journal is aimed at recording the episodes of anxiety you experience during the day. In it you will write down what was going on when you felt anxious, where you were and what people you were surrounded by. It is also helpful to write down the physical and emotional symptoms you experienced at that time.

This will allow you to find a common pattern in your daily life related to anxiety. For example, if your anxiety is related to work or school, I would recommend you to organize your time better and lighten unnecessary burdens. Either way, the journal will show you in which areas of your life your anxiety is most prevalent allowing you to know where to start taking action.

Physical therapy

This should be performed by a medical professional, as it is related to balance and the body. In this therapy, the purpose is to make the vestibular system work properly, thus preventing the feeling of dizziness from appearing suddenly during episodes of anxiety. It is a slow process, but it will be effective if you have patience and dedication.

In my experience…

I would like to acknowledge that you have already taken an important step in seeking help. Anxiety is something that can consume the lives of many. My final recommendation would be to talk to someone close to you about how you have been dealing with anxiety and other emotional problems recently. In anxiety and depression, a common problem is that people feel alone and misunderstood, which leads them to isolate themselves and further aggravate their feelings.

You are not alone in your struggle with anxiety. It is something quite common that does not have to determine your life. By applying these techniques in your own way and at your own pace, you will find gradual improvements, and if you complement it by attending cognitive behavioral therapy, the results will be much more effective. I wish you the best, and hope that you will soon be able to alleviate your feelings of dizziness and anxiety in general.

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