Falling Dropping Sensation Anxiety Symptoms

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

falling dropping anxiety symptoms

Falling dropping sensations, such as feeling like your body is falling downward like in an elevator even though you aren't actually going down, are common symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and the anxiety symptom "falling dropping feeling."

Falling dropping sensation, feel like you are falling or dropping anxiety symptoms description:

  • You experience a sudden falling or dropping sensation, as if in an elevator, yet you are standing or sitting on a firm surface.
  • It also might seem like your body just dropped a few feet even though the surface you are lying, sitting or standing on hasn’t moved.
  • It also might seem as if your body dropped when you were awake for no apparent reason.
  • The falling or dropping sensation can be felt in the head alone, or it may feel as if your entire body is falling or dropping.
  • This anxiety symptom can also be described as a falling sensation in head feeling, a weird falling sensation in the head, or a sudden falling sensation in the head.
  • This falling, dropping sensation can occur while awake, when falling asleep, or when waking up.

This falling dropping sensation can persistently affect one part of the body only, can shift and affect another part or parts of the body, and can migrate all over and affect many areas or the entire body over and over again.

This falling dropping sensation can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a falling dropping sensation once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

This falling dropping sensation may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This falling dropping sensation 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.

This falling dropping sensation 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.

This falling dropping sensation 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 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 anxiety could be contributing to or causing your anxiety symptoms, including falling dropping anxiety symptoms.

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What causes the anxiety falling dropping sensation?

Medical Advisory

Behaving anxiously activates the stress response. The stress response immediately causes 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.[1][2]

Part of the stress response changes include stimulating the nervous system, since stress hormones are stimulants, and heightening our senses so that we are more aware of and reactive to our environment. Again, these changes are designed to improve our chances of survival when in real danger.

When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. As a result, these emergency response changes are temporary and generally leave no lingering consequences.

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 that we call stress-response hyperstimulation. A body that becomes stress-response hyperstimulated can exhibit similar sensations and symptoms to that of an active stress response, AND can include odd symptoms associated with elevated stress, since stress responses stress the body.[3][4] The falling dropping sensation is an example of how the body can ‘misbehave’ when overly stressed.

While the exact cause of this anxiety symptom is unknown, it’s thought that an overly stimulated nervous system can cause the nervous system and the body’s sensory organs to send and receive errant sensory information. This errant information can be perceived as a falling dropping sensation, such as that associated with this anxiety symptom. And because the body uses its sensory organs and nervous system, which includes the brain, to establish balance and placement in our 3D world, a hyperstimulated nervous system and how it can misbehave can cause a brief disruption to our balance and placement resulting in this falling dropping sensation.

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How to get rid of the falling dropping sensation?

The falling dropping sensation is just a symptom of persistently elevated stress, and therefore, needn't be a cause for concern. It will subside when you reduce your stress and give your body ample time to calm down. As your body's stress returns to a more normal level, symptoms of stress subside, including the falling dropping sensation. Therefore, this symptom needn't be a cause for concern.

Worrying and fretting are examples of apprehensive behavior, which stress the body. So worrying and fretting about the falling dropping sensation will prevent the body from recovering. While reducing stress can eliminate the body’s overly stressed state, it’s also important to contain your worry, as uncontained worry is a common cause of stress and persistent anxiety symptoms.

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

Chapter 9 in the Recovery Support area of our website is our anxiety symptoms chapter. It contains detailed information about all anxiety symptoms, including what they are, why they occur, what you can do to eliminate them, and how many people experience them (the percentage of people who experience each anxiety symptom). Our anxiety symptoms chapter includes a more detailed description and explanation about the falling dropping sensation anxiety symptom.

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.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Falling Dropping 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.” anxietycentre.com, 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.