Body Jolt, Jolts, Shocks, Zaps, Tremors, Shakes – anxiety symptoms

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 18, 2021

Body Jolt, Jolts, Shocks, Zaps. Tremors, Shakes - anxiety symptoms

Body jolt and body jolts are common symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others. Many people experience body jolt symptoms when they are anxious and stressed.

To see if anxiety might be playing a role, you can rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test or Anxiety Disorder Test.

The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to body jolt symptoms.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and body jolt symptoms.

Body jolt, jolts, shocks, zaps, tremors, shakes anxiety symptoms descriptions:

  • It feels as if your head, brain, part of the body, or your entire body experienced a sudden and strong jolt or jolts.
  • If feels as if your body suddenly experienced a strong shake or tremor.
  • It also might feel as if your body just received an electrical jolt or shock, or like it experienced an intense tremor for a moment.
  • Some describe it as having a sudden intense body shake.
  • Others describe the feeling as a body shock, body zap, body tremor, or a strong and sudden body-wide vibration.
  • Yet others describe this feeling as a body zap or that their body shook like it was zapped with electricity.

Body jolts and zaps 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, or affect the entire body. It’s common for body jolts and zaps to affect the entire body at once, but other variations can occur.

Body jolts and zaps can come and go rarely, or occur frequently. It’s rare that body jolts and zaps last for more than a few moments at a time. Body tremors, however, can persist. For more information, see the body tremors anxiety symptoms.

Body jolts and zaps may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Body jolts and zaps 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 jolts and zaps can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also vary in intensity where you experience a strong jolt one time and barely notice a body jolt the next.

The body jolts and zaps anxiety symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

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What causes body jolts and zaps anxiety symptoms?

Medical Advisory

This sensation is a common symptom of persistently elevated stress, including that from behaving overly anxiously.

As this symptom relates to anxiety, there are two primary causes:

1. Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication related

This symptom can be caused by anxiety medication, whether when just starting a medication, while on one, when adjusting dosage, when adding to or subtracting another medication, or when withdrawing from a medication.[1][2] Since anxiety medications affect how the nervous system (which includes the brain) functions, medication’s influence or elimination can cause the nervous system to act erratically.

It’s common to experience “body jolts” in connection with these types of medications. You should discuss this symptom with your doctor or pharmacist if you think it is being caused by the medication you are taking.

2. The adverse effects of stress-response hyperstimulation

Behaving anxiously activates the body’s stress response. Stress responses stress the body, and in particular, the body’s nervous system, which includes the brain.[3][4] A body that becomes overly stressed can exhibit symptoms. Experiencing sudden body jolts, zaps, tremors, and shakes is an example of how the body can react when it becomes overly stressed.

If you are interested in a more detailed explanation, we explain this symptom in great detail in our Symptoms chapter in the Recovery Support area of our website.

Nevertheless, even though the body jolts and zaps anxiety symptoms can be startling because they generally occur out of the blue, they aren’t harmful. They are merely the consequences of an overly stressed body (stress-response hyperstimulation).

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How to get rid of body jolts and zaps anxiety symptoms?

The most effective way to eliminate body jolts and zaps is to reduce your body’s stress and give it ample time to respond.

Because this symptom is caused by a build up of stress, there are NO quick-fix cures to eliminate it. Eliminating it requires regularly reducing your body’s stress until abnormal stress is no longer a factor. When your body has returned to normal non-hyperstimulated health, it will stop exhibiting body jolts and zaps.

Lingering stress-caused sensations and symptoms are simply an indication that:

  1. You are continuing to trigger stress responses (from stressful circumstances or from unidentified and/or unresolved underlying factors of anxiety).
  2. The body’s stress level hasn’t been sufficiently reduced.
  3. The body hasn’t completely recovered yet.

Lingering stress-caused sensations and symptoms ONLY remain because of the above reasons. They AREN’T an indication of a more serious medical problem. They will disappear when the body’s stress-response hyperstimulated state is eliminated and the body has had enough time to completely recover.

Since worrying, fretting, and becoming emotionally upset about stress-caused sensations and symptoms stress the body, these types of behaviors can interfere with the recovery process and ultimately symptom elimination.

Once again, body jolts and zaps are common for elevated stress, including the elevation in stress that being overly anxious can cause. Therefore, it needn’t be a cause for concern. It will subside when you eliminate your body’s overly stressed state.

When the body jolts and zaps anxiety symptoms are caused by medication, it’s best to talk with your doctor and pharmacist for more information.

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Play the clip below for Jim Folk's commentary about the anxiety symptom body jolts, zaps, shocks, tremors, shivers. Jim Folk is the president of

Experiencing body jolts, zaps, shocks, tremors, and shivers is a common symptom of elevated stress, including the stress caused by overly apprehensive behavior. Jim Folk experienced all of the anxiety symptoms mentioned at this website, with many to severe degrees during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder, including body jolts, zaps, shocks, and tremors.

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 address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call 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 address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including body jolt, jolts, shocks, zaps anxiety symptoms.


1. Cortes, Jose A., and Rajiv Radhakrishnan. “A Case of Amelioration of Venlafaxine-Discontinuation ‘Brain Shivers’ With Atomoxetine.” The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2013.

2. “Brain Zaps: Causes & Treatments For Electrical Shock Sensations.” Mental Health Daily, 21 Feb. 2018.

3. Harvard Health Publishing. “Understanding the Stress Response.” Harvard Health, May 2018.

4. Yaribeygi, Habib, et al. “The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review.” EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 2017.