Coordination Problems, Clumsiness Anxiety Symptoms

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

Coordination Problems, Clumsiness Anxiety Symptoms

Coordination problems and clumsiness can be symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and coordination problems and clumsiness.

Common Clumsiness, Clumsy, And Coordination Problems Anxiety Symptoms Descriptions:

  • You are experiencing clumsiness, feeling clumsy, coordination problems with the hands, feet, limbs, mouth, tongue, and any other parts of the body.
  • You are experiencing difficulty, clumsiness, or unusual awkwardness moving arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, and any other parts of the body.
  • Coordination problems and clumsiness can feel like you are having unusual coordination problems with grabbing, touching, moving, holding, reaching for, and placing objects; as well as movement problems, such as knocking things over, banging your hands, arms and legs on furniture or walls; having unusual difficulty walking or moving; and unusually stubbing your feet or toes.

Coordination problems, clumsiness 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.

Coordination problems, clumsiness can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may experience coordination problems, clumsiness once in a while and not that often, experience it off and on, or have it all the time.

Coordination problems, clumsiness may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Coordination problems, clumsiness 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.

Coordination problems, clumsiness 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.

Coordination problems, clumsiness 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 muscle symptoms.

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Why can anxiety cause coordination problems, clumsiness?

Stress, including the stress caused by apprehensive behavior, is a common cause of coordination problems. While there are many reasons why stress can cause coordination problems, two of the most common are:

1. Stress's Effect On The Nervous System

An abnormally stressed nervous system can act erratically and more involuntarily than normal, causing muscle-controlled movement problems.[1][2]

Muscle movements are controlled by the nervous system. When the nervous system is healthy, muscles function normally causing normal movements and co-ordination. When the nervous system is stressed, it can misbehave. These symptoms are examples of how muscles can misbehave when the nervous system is overly stressed.

Other muscle-related symptoms due to an overly stressed nervous system include muscle-twitching, spasms, and sporadic and persistent muscle pain.

2. Chronic stress can cause the mind and body to become fatigued

Chronic stress can cause the body to use up its energy resources faster than normal, and therefore, can become quickly fatigued. When we’re tired, we can experience coordination problems,[3][4] thinking and concentration problems, as well as problems forming and vocalizing our thoughts.

In fact, tiredness can impair a person’s ability to reason and function similar to that of being impaired by alcohol.[5][6] Just as we can experience coordination problems when under the influence of alcohol, we can have similar difficulty when tired.

Numerous recent studies have found that being tired can impair our motor skills causing coordination, reaction time, and judgment problems.[5][6][7][8]

As long as the body is abnormally stressed, it has the potential to misbehave resulting in these kinds of coordination symptoms.

Unfortunately, many of those who struggle with anxiety worry that MS, ALS, a brain tumor, or other neurological conditions may be the cause of their coordination symptoms. Checking on the Internet may cause even more anxiety, since coordination problems are common symptoms of these medical conditions.

And since there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, you should discuss all new, changing, persistent, or returning symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your symptoms to stress and anxiety, you can feel confident that there isn’t another medical cause for them. Most doctors can spot the difference between anxiety caused sensations and symptoms and those being caused by another medical condition, since other medical conditions have unique symptoms unlike that of anxiety. Seeing your doctor may help to reduce unnecessary worry.

Similar to all other anxiety sensations and symptoms, unnecessary worry can cause these types of symptoms to persist, since worry stresses the body. Reducing worry and fretting will help to reduce your body’s stress, and as your body’s stress diminishes, it stops producing symptoms, including this one.

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How to get rid of anxiety coordination problems, clumsiness?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any quick-fix remedies to help reduce this symptom. But like all other anxiety-caused symptoms, this symptom diminishes and eventually subsides as your stress and anxiety are addressed. Once the body’s stress is reduced to a healthy level and the body has had sufficient time to recover, you can expect your normal coordination to return.

And as with all symptoms of stress, regularly practicing your recovery strategies (we list many natural and practical recovery strategies in Chapter 4 in the Recovery Support area), including addressing the underlying factors of your anxiety so that your recovery strategies can reduce your stress, will eliminate this symptom in time. Therefore this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

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 provide 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 the anxiety symptoms coordination problems, clumsiness, and incoordination.


1. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. “Emotional Stress Can Affect Motor Coordination and Other Cerebellum-Dependent Cognitive Functions: Study.”, News Medical, 4 Oct. 2012..

2. YC, Li, et al. “Motor coordination problems and psychological distress in young adults: A test of the Environmental Stress Hypothesis.” NCBI PubMed, 4 June 2018.

3 Abd-Elfattah, Hoda M., et al. “Physical and Cognitive Consequences of Fatigue: A Review.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 24 Feb. 2015.

4. Cortes, N., et al. “Differential Effects of Fatigue on Movement Variability.” US National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2014.

5. Williamson, A., et al. “Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication.” NCBI PubMed, Oct. 2000.

6. Williamson, Anne G., et al. “Development of Measures of Fatigue: Using an Alcohol Comparison to Validate the Effects of Fatigue on Performance.” Department of Transport and Regional Services Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 2000.

7. Aune, Tore Kristian, et al. “Effect of physical fatigue on motor control at different skill levels.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, May 2008.

8. Carron, Albert, “Motor performance and learning under physical fatigue.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Jan. 1972, DOI: 10.1249/00005768-197200420-00010.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay