Body Tremors, Shaking, Trembling, Vibrating Anxiety Symptoms
Body tremors, shaking, trembling anxiety symptoms description:
- Your arms, hands, feet, legs, stomach, sides, chest, back, head, buttocks, groin, or even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling, shaking or vibrating.
- It feels as thought your entire body is trembling.
- You feel like your body is shaking, trembling, or vibrating for no apparent reason.
- Your body feels jittery.
- Even though you aren’t anxious or stressed, your body is trembling and shaking.
- It feels like your body vibrating.
- Some people describe this symptom as body tremors.
- After a nap or when waking up from sleep, your body feels like it is trembling, shaking, and vibrating.
- Tremors, trembling, shaking or vibrating might be visible or not visible.
Body tremors, shaking, trembling or vibrating can occur on the exterior of the body or feel like it is occurring on the inside, or both.
Body tremors, shaking symptoms can persistently affect one area of the body only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over and affect many areas over and over again.
Body tremors, shaking symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel your body tremors once and a while and not that often, feel them off and on, or feel them all the time.
Body tremors, shaking anxiety symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.
Body tremors, shaking anxiety symptoms can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.
Body tremors, shaking symptoms can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.
Body tremors, shaking symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.
Body tremors, shaking symptoms often seem more disconcerting when undistracted, when trying to rest or go to sleep, or when waking up from a nap or sleep.
While some people may be able to control their shaking, trembling, and vibrating by calming themselves down or by tightening and loosening their muscles, most often this symptom occurs involuntarily, meaning there isn’t much we can do to stop it from occurring.
Some people experience tremors only when moving certain muscles, while others experience tremors all the time regardless of muscle movement.
All of the above variations and combinations are common.
What causes the body trembling anxiety symptoms?
Behaving anxiously activates the stress response, which immediately causes specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body's ability to deal with a threat - to either fight with or flee from it - which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.
Part of the stress response changes include tightening the body’s muscles so that they are more resilient to damage and stimulating the nervous system so that our senses are amplified and reactions quicker. Both of these changes can cause the body to tremble while a stress response is active.
When these responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi emergency-readiness state, which we call stress-response hyperstimulation. A body that becomes stress-response hyperstimulated can exhibit similar sensations and symptoms to that of an active stress response. But there is a difference. The body can exhibit sensations and symptoms involuntarily meaning at any time, making it seem as if they are occurring ‘out of the blue’ and without reason.
These involuntary sensations and symptoms can occur at any time. As long as the body is hyperstimulated, it can exhibit sensations and symptoms of any type, intensity, duration, frequency, and at any time. Experiencing body tremors, trembling, and shaking symptoms is a common symptom of both an active stress response and stress-response hyperstimulation.
Just as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and trembling because caffeine is a stimulant, so can stress and stress-response hyperstimulation, since stress hormones are stimulants. Some people say that they have a ‘case of the nerves’ because they are shaking so much.
Body tremors symptoms also can be aggravated by a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on the body’s nervous system and cause the body to produce more stress hormones when tired. The combination of a taxed and overly stimulated nervous system can cause nervous system-related problems, including those affecting the body’s muscles. Trembling, shaking, and vibrating commonly occur due to a lack of sleep. Many people who are sleep deprived experience this symptom until their sleep debt is caught up.
How to get rid of the body tremors anxiety symptoms?
Since there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety and anxiety-like sensations and symptoms, including this one, we recommend all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms be discussed with your doctor. If your doctor concludes your sensations and symptoms are solely stress related (including anxiety-caused stress), you can be confident that there isn't another medical reason for them. Generally, most doctors can easily tell the difference between stress- and anxiety-caused sensations and symptoms from those caused by other medical reasons.
If you are uncertain about your doctor’s diagnosis, however, you may want to seek a second and even third opinion. But if all three opinions concur, you can be assured that stress (including the stress that being overly anxious can cause) is the cause of your sensations and symptoms and not some other medical or biological problem.
When the body tremors symptoms are caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the response and its changes. As your body recovers, this sensation 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 shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
When the body tremors symptoms are caused by stress-response hyperstimulation, 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 from an active response or stress-response hyperstimulation, body tremors, shaking, and trembling anxiety symptoms will completely subside. Therefore, body tremors needn’t 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 this feeling. Sure, it can be startling, unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the active stress response and/or stress-response hyperstimulation, anxiety-caused body tremors will completely disappear.
Play the clip below for Jim Folk's commentary about the Body Tremors anxiety symptoms. Jim Folk is the president of anxietycentre.com.
If you are having difficulty containing your worry about this symptom, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists, coaches, or counselors. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry.
For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to overcome anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to eliminate problematic anxiety and its symptoms once and for all.
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated June 2015.