Nausea, Vomiting Anxiety Symptoms

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of anxiety. Nausea is more common than vomiting, but both can occur when anxious and/or overly stressed. Common descriptions include:

Nausea:

Vomiting:

Anxiety nausea and vomiting can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you might experience nausea and vomiting once and a while and not that often, feel them off and on, or feel them all the time.

Anxiety nausea and vomiting may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by themselves.

Anxiety nausea and vomiting 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.

Anxiety nausea and vomiting 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.

Anxiety nausea and vomiting can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Why can anxiety cause nausea and vomiting?

Many things can bring on nausea and vomiting. Some common causes are seasickness and other motion sicknesses, early pregnancy, intense pain, exposure to chemical toxins, emotional stress, physical stress, anxiety (worry, apprehension), gallbladder disease, food poisoning, indigestion, various viruses, and certain smells or odors, to name a few.

Nausea and vomiting are NOT diseases in and of themselves. They are symptoms of other conditions. For example, they can be a symptom of stomach flu, food poisoning, motion sickness, overeating, blocked intestine, illness, concussion or brain injury, appendicitis, inner ear conditions, and migraines. They can also be a symptom of more serious conditions so it is important to see your doctor if your nausea and vomiting persists.

As mentioned, nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of anxiety and stress. While vomiting can be a symptom of anxiety, it's not as common as nausea.

Behaving anxiously activates the stress response. The stress response immediately causes specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body 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 includes suppressing digestion so that the majority of the body's resources are made available for emergency action. When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly and easily 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. This semi emergency readiness state can adversely affect normal stomach and digestive system function, which can cause all sorts of stomach and digestive related maladies, such as nausea and even vomiting.

Common examples of stomach and intestinal distresses include nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, lump in the stomach, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and general stomach malaise, to name a few.

How to get rid of anxiety nausea and vomiting?

Stress and anxiety caused nausea and vomiting should NOT be considered as serious problems. Many anxious and stressed people experience nausea and vomiting when overly anxious and stressed. Because this symptom is just a symptom of elevated stress, including the elevated stress anxiety can cause, it needn't be a cause for concern. They will subside when you calm yourself down, reduce your body's stress, and give your body ample time to recover. As you calm down and your body's stress returns to a more normal level, symptoms of stress subside, including nausea and vomiting. Therefore, anxiety nausea and vomiting needn't be a cause for concern. The calmer you keep yourself, the less of a problem these will become.

There are some immediate remedies for anxiety nausea and vomiting:

The Recovery Support area of our website has a more detailed explanation about anxiety, how it affects the body, the stress response, anxiety sensations and symptoms, why anxiety sensations and symptoms can persist and even long after stress has been reduced, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, including those on nausea and vomiting, such as how to overcome a fear of vomiting / throwing up.

You can learn more about our Recovery Support area by clicking on the button below.

If you'd like personal assistance with your recovery, you can learn more about our Personal Coaching option here.

Return to our anxiety symptoms page.

Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated May 2015.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptoms nausea and vomiting.