Cold Flashes Anxiety Symptoms

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 19, 2021

cold flashes anxiety symptoms

Cold flashes are often symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and cold flashes.

Cold flash, flashes anxiety symptoms descriptions:

  • You experience a sudden cold flash, episode, or spell.
  • You break into a seemingly uncontrollable cold or chilled sweat.
  • You also might experience a brief moment or moments of feeling unusually cold or chilly.
  • It seems like your body is freezing even though there is no reason for it.
  • No matter what you do, you can’t warm up even with more clothes, a heater, or blankets.
  • You feel unusually cold even though your environment is normal temperature.

Cold flashes can occur on or in your arms, hands, fingers, toes, legs, feet, head, face, stomach, anywhere on or in your body, or encompass your entire body.

Cold flashes anxiety 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 and/or all areas of the body over and over again.

Cold flashes anxiety symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may have a cold flash once in a while and not that often, have them off and on, or have them all the time.

Cold flashes anxiety symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Cold flashes 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.

Cold flashes anxiety 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.

Cold flashes can last for a brief moment, a few moments, a few minutes, ten to twenty minutes or more, or for hours at a time.

Cold flashes anxiety symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

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

The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including feeling cold or chilled.

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What causes cold flashes anxiety symptoms?

Behaving apprehensively (anxiously) activates the body’s stress response, which 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 this response is often referred to as the fight or flight response or the emergency response.[1][2]

Part of the emergency response changes include constricting blood vessels and shunting blood around so that the body is better prepared to deal with a perceived threat. These changes alone can cause the body to feel cold – blood is warm and with less blood being available near the skin, this can make the body feel cold. There are other changes that occur, too, that can cause the body to feel cold. Having a cold flash is a common symptom of anxiety and the changes behaving anxiously can cause.

When stress 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, however, 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 stress-response hyperstimulated can exhibit similar sensations and symptoms to that of an active emergency response even though a stress response hasn't been activated.[3][4] Experiencing involuntary cold flashes is an example of how hyperstimulation can affect the body.

We explain these reasons in more detail in Chapter 9 (our member’s symptoms chapter) in the Recovery Support area of our website.

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How to get rid of cold flashes anxiety symptoms?

When cold flashes 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 from an active stress response, this cold flashes feeling will end. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When cold flashes are caused by persistent stress, such as from stress-response hyperstimulation, it may take a lot more time for the body to eliminate its hyperstimulated state, and to the point where cold flashes anxiety symptoms subside.

Nevertheless, when the body has recovered from the stress of being anxious, anxiety caused cold flashes will completely disappear. Therefore, they 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 your cold flashes anxiety symptom. Sure, cold flashes can be bothersome and annoying, but again, when your body has recovered from an active stress response and/or sustained stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you may want to connect with one of our anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome what seems like uncontrollable anxiety.

For a more detailed explanation about 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 cold flashes anxiety symptoms.


1. Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill.

2. Folk, Jim and Folk, Marilyn. “The Stress Response And Anxiety Symptoms.”, August 2019.

3. Hannibal, Kara E., and Mark D. Bishop. “Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014.

4. Justice, Nicholas J., et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Like Induction Elevates β-Amyloid Levels, Which Directly Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons to Exacerbate Stress Responses.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 11 Feb. 2015.