All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Itchy, tingling, crawling, pins and needles, prickly feelings under the skin and/or anywhere inside or deep inside the body anxiety symptoms

Itching, tingly, crawly, pins and needles, prickly feelings inside the body anxiety symptoms

Itching, tingly, crawly, pins and needles, prickly feelings inside the body symptoms description:

You feel:

You might experience one, many, or all of the above feelings and sensations.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and odd or unusual feelings or sensations 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 of the body over and over again.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings or sensations can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may have one, many, or all of these feelings and sensations once and a while and not that often, feel them off and on, or feel them all the time.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings or sensations may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by themselves.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations 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.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. They can also come in waves, where they are strong one moment and ease off the next.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

These itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations can seem like they intensify when undistracted or when trying to relax, rest, or go to sleep.

What causes the itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and any other odd or unusual feelings and sensations under the skin and/or inside or deep inside the body anxiety symptoms?

These types of anxiety symptoms can be caused by a number of factors including:

Itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and any other odd or unusual feelings and sensations anywhere under the skin and/or inside or deep inside the body can also be caused by other medical conditions.

Medical Advisory
Therefore, we recommend you discuss this symptom with your doctor. If your doctor attributes these sensations and symptoms solely to stress (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 these under the skin and/or inside or deep inside the body sensations and symptom are caused by anxiety, there can be many factors that cause them. Here are seven common factors:

1. Being anxious has activated an active stress response
Being stressed and anxious (worried, apprehensive, fretful, fearful) causes the body to produce the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots to bring about 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.

Because the stress response can cause a wide range of physiological changes, some of these changes can cause itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and any other odd or unusual feelings and sensations in various parts of the body when a stress response has been activated.

2. Stress-response hyperstimulation
When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. But when stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi hyperstimulated state, since stress hormones are stimulants.

A body that becomes hyperstimulated can behave oddly and erratically, which can cause a wide range of unusual sensations and symptoms, including feeling an itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and any other odd or unusual feelings and sensations under the skin and/or anywhere inside or deep inside the body.

3. Hyper- or hypoventilation
Hyper- or hypoventilation is another cause of feeling a tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, and/or prickly feelings and sensations. When we breathe too shallowly and don’t take in enough oxygen (hypoventilation), this causes the CO2 levels in the blood to drop, which can cause a tingling, tingly, pins and needles sensation anywhere on or in the body. Some people describe this feeling as an effervescence, prickly, or crawly sensation.

If, on the other hand, you are breathing too aggressively and take in too much oxygen, this can also change the CO2 levels in the blood causing hyperventilation, which can also cause a tingling, tingly, pins and needles sensation anywhere on or in the body.

Even though these tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles feelings and sensations can seem odd and even unsettling, they are harmless and needn’t be a cause for concern. They will subside when you reverse the above hyper or hypoventilation causes.

4. Vitamin B deficiency
Stress taxes the body’s resources harder than normal, which can affect the body’s nutrients, including vitamins. Stress commonly causes a reduction in the body’s vitamin B. Vitamin B deficiency can also cause these types of feelings and sensations.

5. Reaction to medication
The adverse effects of medications, including anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications, can cause a wide range of feelings and sensations, including itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations anywhere under the skin and/or inside or deep inside the body.

For more reasons why anxiety can cause an itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and other odd or unusual feelings and sensations anywhere under the skin and/or inside or deep inside the body, Recovery Support members can read about this symptom in Chapter 9.

How to get rid of the itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, prickly, and any other odd or unusual feelings and sensations under the skin and/or anywhere inside or deep inside the body anxiety symptoms?

When the itchy, itching, tingly, tingling, crawly, crawling, pins and needles, and prickly feelings and sensations are 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, these anxiety-related symptoms should subside. 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 these types of anxiety symptoms are caused by persistent stress, such as from stress-response hyperstimulation, it may take a lot more time for the body to calm down and recover, and to the point where these types of anxiety symptoms subside.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from the stress of being anxious, these types of anxiety symptoms will completely disappear. Therefore, these symptoms 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 these feelings. Sure, they can be bothersome, but again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or sustained stress, these sensations will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you may want to connect with one of our 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 anxiety symptoms, why anxiety 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 coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:

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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated June 27, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom itchy, tingling, crawling, pins and needles, prickly feelings under the skin and/or anywhere inside or deep inside the body anxiety symptoms.