Unfortunately, dizziness can manifest as a symptom of anxiety; and it's a scary one at that. In this article we will discuss the relationship between dizziness and anxiety, how one causes the other, and how to treat both.
How Anxiety Disorders Cause Dizziness
There are multiple physiological causes of dizziness spawning from anxiety disorders, but the most prominent has to do with our breathing. As someone who has struggled with panic attacks, I know the feeling of shortness of breath all too well. When our negative thoughts and emotions (commonly referred to as "The Monkey Mind") trigger us into "an emergency", we no longer receive adequate blood to the brain, in particular, the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for our cognitive thought. This is due to a lack of energy needed for the region of our brain known as the amygdala (responsible for the fight or flight response). The amygdala kicks in and the cascading effects of anxiety follow.
Adrenaline is usually released first, raising blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. When we start to breathe faster and in shorter breaths, this reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood, making us lightheaded, dizzy, and faint.
On the other side of the coin, when we experience dizziness first, our amygdala, after sensing that something is wrong, can activate and the same order of events can happen stated above. This in turn can unfortunately make you more dizzy, thus more anxious, and the process can continue potentially leading to a panic attack.
This is not meant to scare you, but rather inform you so that you may be prepared. Hopefully it never gets to this point for you as it has me.
How Can We Treat Anxiety And Dizziness?
Anxiety and dizziness are both incredibly frightening situations, but luckily for us, we can usually knock out to birds with one stone when it comes to treating them. Here are some tried and true treatments for you to use.
Meditation/Relaxation techniques - This can be as simple as listening to calming music, laying down for a nap, or a guided meditation. I would personally recommend binaural beats, lofi hip-hop, piano, and Glenn Harold.
Calming Teas - There are hundreds of great teas out there that can create a sense of well-being. Some very popular herbs that have been known to calm anxiety are chamomile, lavender, rooibos, spearmint, peppermint, kava, valerian root (known as "plant valium"), and lemon balm.
Avoid Caffeine - For those with anxiety or dizziness disorders it could be in your interest to avoid caffeine and stimulants. Sometimes our mind and body can get confused when caffeine increases our heart rate and blood pressure. Our mind can take it that we are in "fight or flight" and start the anxiety response. A possible exception to this rule is Green Tea. Green tea is another great tea to drink due to its potent antioxidants. However, most Green Tea does have caffeine (decaf is available), but much lower amounts than a cup of coffee (green tea has around 30-50 mg while coffee has anywhere from 80mg to 100mg).
Magnesium supplements - Magnesium is a great electrolyte that is known for its calming affect. Take it as a capsule, a powder, and even in bath (epson salt). Epson salt baths are fantastic for relaxation.
Light physical activity - This may be the last thing you want to do when you feel crappy, and it may actually be too much sometimes. But light physical activities such a stretching, yoga, or tai chi can be very beneficial for calming dizziness and anxiety. When we get physically active our natural painkillers, known as endorphins, are released.
Get outside - Sunlight and nature can be your best friend, so get outside for at least fifteen minutes.
I hope that this helps in clearing some things up for you. I understand that this can be tough for you, but stay strong and I wish you the best of luck in your journey towards health and wealth.
Check out my past articles on Can Fatigue Cause Dizziness? and Physical Therapy For Cervical Vertigo .
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