Monday, June 5, 2023

Can Stress Make You Feel Sick

Your Glands Feel Swollen As If Youre Getting A Virus

Learn how anxiety can make you feel sick (and what to do about it)

You have glands at different locations in your body. The most common glands to feel as though theyre swelling are the ones in your throat. You might also feel like you have a frog in your throat or experience a clogged sensation.Its not that your glands are actually swelling up as a result of a virus or other illness. This is the way your body responds to over-sensitization.

What Is Anxiety Exactly

Anxiety is an umbrella term for a range of uncomfortable feelings like fear, worry, and stress. It has both a colloquial and clinical meaning. Sometimes people describe garden-variety episodes of stress as anxiety, but theyre able to cope with and move on from this anxiousness without the stress being overwhelming. Other times, though, anxiety is overwhelming, which is when we get into diagnosable-mental-health-condition territory.

There are various anxiety disorders that can really disrupt a persons life. One is generalized anxiety disorder, which happens when you experience immense, disproportionate fear about any number of circumstances and events, according to the Mayo Clinic. Another is social anxiety disorder, which happens when social interactions trigger your feelings of worry. Yet another anxiety disorder youve likely heard of is panic disorder, when a person has repeated panic attacks involving uncontrollable terror. These bouts of fear are so forceful that people with panic disorder often worry about having panic attacks in the future and avoid anything they think might set one off.

Although the triggers for various anxiety disorders can differ, one major thing they have in common is the potential to cause physical symptoms of anxiety.

How To Treat Psychosomatic Symptoms When You Are Physically Healthy

During a pandemic, public anxiety spreads faster than the disease, as people begin to experience symptoms widely publicized as being associated with the virus. This is true even when the only exposure they have had is through their television sets or computer screens.

Although psychosomatic illness is not physically contagious, it is emotionally infectious both personally and vicariously when shared with loved ones or through social media. Thankfully, research addresses how to combat imaginary illness, freeing up more of your time to protect yourself from the real thing.

Pandemic Panic

Masked travelers are becoming a more familiar sight at airports and transit stations worldwide, as people continue to travel despite the coronavirus outbreak and an increasing number of restrictions. This visual imagery fuels anxiety.

Jonathan Tepperman recognizes in an article in Foreign Policy how public response outweighs actual risk. He notes that panic-buying end-of-days accessories negatively impacts the economy as well as our daily liveswithout doing anything to fight the virus.

But amidst what has now been officially classified as a global pandemic, people are prone to suffer personally as well as economicallyregardless of whether or not they actually contract the virus.

Social Contagion Without Contact

Also Check: What Are The Signs Of Stress

How To Get Rid Of Anxiety Caused Flu Like Symptoms

When this feeling is caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, this feeling should subside and you should return to your normal self. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldnt be a cause for concern.

When this feeling is caused by persistently elevated stress, such as from overly apprehensive behavior, it may take a lot more time for the body to recover and to the point where this symptom is eliminated.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered, this flu like symptoms feeling will completely subside. Therefore, it neednt be a cause for concern.

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about these flu like symptoms. Again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or its overly stressed state, these flu like symptoms will completely disappear.

Play the clip below for Jim Folk’s commentary about why anxiety can cause flu-like symptoms. Jim Folk is the president of

Experiencing flu-like symptoms is a common indication of stress, including anxiety-caused stress. Jim Folk experienced many episodes of flu like symptoms during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder.

How To Manage Stress

Why Anxiety Can Make You Feel Physically Sick ...

Keeping your stress in check and well-managed is the key to emotional and physical well-being. Find the ones that best work for you and your lifestyle.

  • Physical activities such as cycling, walking, and jogging can help relieve physical tension and stress.
  • Yoga and tai chi can help relax your mind and body.
  • Meditation, mindfulness techniques, as well as deep breathing, can help decrease stress.
  • Paying attention to the factors of your life that cause you stress and eliminating or delegating them can decrease your stress levels.
  • Connecting with friends and loved ones can help lower stress.

Over time, with consistency, your stress levels will decrease and your symptoms can improve. If youre still experiencing stress and feeling sick, consult with a mental health professional and your doctor for assistance.

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Chronic Stress Taxes The Bodys Resources Harder Than Normal

Being anxious stresses the body. Stress taxes the bodys resources harder than normal. Chronic stress, such as that caused by overly apprehensive behavior, can cause the body to become rundown and feel poorly. Experiencing flu-like symptoms or feeling sick is a common consequence of persistently elevated stress, such as that caused by stress-response hyperstimulation.

Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety Because Its Not All Mental

Youre probably familiar with some of the physical symptoms of anxietyyouve felt your heart race before a first date or gotten a case of the nervous sweats. But you might be less familiar with how anxiety manifests physically in an anxiety disorder, and not just day-to-day anxiousness. Which, understandable. When it comes to anxiety disorders, we tend to focus less on the physical and more on mental overwhelming worry and fear.

All told, its important to recognize these physical symptoms for what they are because if you dont know what youre dealing with, it is difficult to seek out the treatment you need to feel better.

Read Also: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Chest Pain

Signs Stress Is Making You Sick

A little stress can actually be a good thing. In small spurts, it’s what motivates you to prep for a major test or work presentation, or makes your palms go sweaty in anticipation of a first date.

Too much stress, on the other hand, can be overwhelming ;and even detrimental to your physical health.

“Just like our feelings give us information about our needs, so do our bodies through physiological feedback,” says Eliza Chamblin, a therapist in New York City who specializes in stress management. “If you are noticing any physical or somatic symptoms, consider it as valuable information telling you that something isnt right.”

Not sure what those physical signs might be? Here are six potential indications that stress is making you sick, plus what to do for each situation.

What Can You Do About It

Anxiety That Makes You Feel Nauseous | Mental Health Today, Episode 006

For a variety of reasons, leaving a less-than-perfect situation is not always an option for people. Because of this, you may find yourself stuck in a negative and stressful work environment for much longer than you’d like, so finding ways to cope is critical.

In order to combat the negative aspects of your job, Cannon suggests building up your resilience and health in other ways so you have more capacity to cope with the stress at work. For example, focus on your sleep, exercise and life goals.

“Just because you may be used to going to bed late and coping with it, there may still be room for improvement in your sleep,” she says. “Try going to bed earlier for a few nights and see how that makes you feel.”

Exercise is another important tool that can help you manage stress. If you exercise consistently, consider working out before or after work. You may find that starting the morning with exercise helps clear your head before you go to work, while exercising after your work day is done, allows you to work out the physical and mental frustrations you may have experienced during the day. Regardless of when you choose to do it , just make sure exercise is a part of your overall plan.

She suggests you make room in your work week for the people in your life who make you feel good, and spend quality time with them, which is a proven stress reliever. But don’t just say you’re going to do it: prioritise it and make sure you’re connecting with people you trust every day.

Recommended Reading: How To Stop Stress Breakouts

You Actually Get Sick

The most straightforward way to tell if your stress is making you sick is if you frequently fall ill. If youve been going through periods of stress and seem to be catching colds or the flu more often than you typically do, this is a sure a sign that its time to slow down, learn stress-management techniques and relax so your body can heal.

Help for relieving stress is just a call away. Contact us at 513-952-5000 to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist. Together, we can figure out supportive ways to address your worries and lower stress and the effects of stress on health.

Mercy Health

Your Stomach Is All Sorts Of Messed Up

Anxiety really hits the G.I. system hard, says Dr. Potter. People with anxiety may notice general stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, or other kinds of G.I. distress, she explains.

A lot of this may boil down to what experts call the gut-brain axis, which is a communication system between your brain and the enteric nervous system that governs your digestion. This connection is why stress can so easily mess with your poop. Theres also the fact that anxiety-induced lifestyle choices like eating foods that dont agree with you or not exercising can affect your digestion as well.

Recommended Reading: Why Am I Always Stressed And Anxious

Temporarily Relief For The Sick Feeling

Most over the counter medicines that calm the stomach can be mildly effective at relieving most of the sick feeling. Even though the nausea is caused by anxiety, some of the symptoms can be relieved with medicines.

For issues like swollen glands, treating them can be a bit more complicated. That’s because your glands aren’t always swollen, and if they are it is not usually that severe. Yet focusing on that part of the body can make us hyper sensitive to physical changes, and they feel more distressing. Your body is so attuned to the way you feel that it starts to believe that it feels significant issues, out of proportion with the reality.

The only way to reduce that is to reduce your anxiety and to do that you need to start to understand your anxiety better. Explore our website for more information, or speak to a specialist to begin treatment.;


Anxiety can cause problems with the gut, and can lead to adrenaline related changes to the stomach, all of which can cause feelings of illness. Chronic anxiety may also have other complications. No matter the cause, anxiety reduction is the only effective long term solution to eliminate these feelings.;

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Digestive Discomfort And Stomach Pain

Can Anxiety Make You Feel Sick

Like headaches, digestive issues and stomach pain are some of the most common physical symptoms of stress. “Our stomach and intestines have their own unique nervous system called the enteric nervous system,” holistic psychologist Nicole Lippman-Barile, Ph.D., previously told mbg. “These nerves respond to the same stress hormones and neurotransmitters that our brains do.”

“Stress is also hard on your digestive system, as it affects which nutrients your intestines absorb, influences how quickly food moves through your body, and can provoke you to eat more or less than you normally do,” says Eliaz. “In turn, this can cause nausea, pain, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, acid reflux, and/or diarrhea.”

Also Check: How To Manage Stress Levels

How Stress Makes You Sick

Feeling overwhelmed affects everything from digestion to stroke risk.

The advice, Stop worrying! Stress is bad for you is true, but as with a lot of health guidance, its vagueness makes it less effective.

Its like when people say that getting lots of sleep is important, or that you should eat more fiberits the kind of thing people might like to do, but will probably keep forgetting to do, because its not immediately clear how it will make them healthier.

This video from TED Ed, written by the Emory University professor of medicine Sharon Bergquist, clarifies how worrying actually affects the body, outlining what scientists know so far about the stress-sickness connection.

As the video explains, when youre stressed, the adrenal glands ramp up the release of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Adrenaline speeds up your heart rate and can raise blood pressure. Cortisol causes changes in the blood vessels that can, over time, increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile, the brain relays the stress signals to the gut, which changes up its routine to allow your body to focus on the stressor. This is whats behind that butterflies in the stomach feeling, but it can also lead to digestive problems and affect the composition of your gut bacteria.

What Is The Three Three Three Rule For Anxiety

When youre dealing with a lot of stress or feeling overwhelmed, the three three three rule can help center you. Its called the three three three rule because its when you name three things you see and hear, and move three parts of your body. Doing this exercise helps you get out of your head, become more present, and soothes your mind.

Recommended Reading: What To Take For Stress Relief

Too Much Stress Can Make You Physically Ill Researchers Now May Know Why

Its not a surprise when cold and flu season strike once a year with aches, pains and bodily misery. However, something even more virulent has the ability to make us ill year-round: stress.

I know a bit about the link between stress and illness first hand. Four years ago, I set out to regenerate a career that had stalled after the birth of my first child. I said yes to every work opportunity and then some, becoming so overloaded I had to write lists on an hourly basis just to keep everything straight. I traded in wellness and sleep for achievement and a paycheck.

It all came to a head when, despite a sore throat and aches that lasted off and on for a solid week, I drove six hours to speak at a weekend writing conference where I was on for two days straight. Within days of coming home, I developed Scarlet Fever . I was bed ridden and in agony, sicker than I had been since childhood.

Once I finally recovered, I wondered: Could my stress have made me sick?

A large body of research says yes, absolutely. This is particularly true for chronic stress that which recurs and persists over time. Chronic stress can range from a traumatic event that has long-lasting consequences to a toxic workplace where demands are high and rewards are low.

Like anything good, too much of an immune response can be a bad thing.

It took serious illness to remind me no amount of achievement or money is worth losing one’s health.

Accept The Things You Can’t Change

Handling Anxiety that Makes You Feel Sick to Your Stomach

It’s not easy, but accepting that there are some things happening to you that you probably can’t do anything about will help you focus your time and energy more productively.

The bottom line is this: if your job is making you sick, you need to talk to your employer and/or doctor. They can help you come up with a plan to reduce the stressors at work, refer you to any professional help you may need, and hopefully, offer support while you take the necessary steps to care for your health.

Also Check: How To Cope With Anxiety Stress And Depression

Heres How Stress Can Make You Sick And Tired:

Stress drains the body of its energy stores since stress is meant to warn us of an impending threat. Our fight-or-flight response exists to give us adrenaline to decide how to respond to that threat: either run or fight back. In the modern world, we have near-constant stressors which keep our bodies in a persistent state of alert. As a result, our bodies begin to wear down since we have a harder time transitioning to a relaxed state of mind.

Most people dont realize how interconnected our minds and bodies are, and that an imbalance in one can cause issues in both. Dr. Esther Sternberg, Professor of Medicine and Founding Research Director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona at Tucson, has done extensive research on the links between the mind and body. Her research has included understanding the connection between the central nervous system and the immune system and studying how immune molecules made in the blood can affect brain functions that impact our emotions. In one of her best-selling books called;The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, Sternberg examines how our emotions, particularly stress, can impact our physical health.

An excerpt from her book explains how the parts of our brain that control stress may also play a role in our likelihood of developing certain diseases:

She goes on to explain how the constant stimuli we come in contact with can affect our stress response:

Sternberg writes:

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