Voice Changes Anxiety Symptoms

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

Voice changes anxiety symptoms description:

Voice changes anxiety symptoms are often described as:

  • Your voice is experiencing unusual problems, or more problems than usual.
  • Your voice is shaky.
  • Your voice is crackly.
  • Your voice is raspy or more raspy than usual.
  • You are hoarse; experiencing voice hoarseness.
  • You’ve lost your voice; loss of voice.
  • Your voice is unsteady.
  • Your voice is broken, where some words are more quiet than others, or that they don’t come out at all.
  • Your voice’s pitch is up and down, uneven.
  • Your voice’s volume is uneven.
  • Your voice sounds croaky.
  • You have weak voice.

While these voice changes anxiety symptoms may have happened rarely in the past, they are persistent now.

Voice changes anxiety symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may experience voice changes once and a while and not that often, experience them off and on, or experience them all the time.

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

Voice changes 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.

Voice changes anxiety symptoms can range in severity from slight, to moderate, to severe. Voice changes can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

Voice changes 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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Can anxiety cause voice changes?

Yes, anxiety can cause voice changes anxiety symptoms. Behaving anxiously (which causes anxiety) stresses the body. Stress can cause a number of changes in the body, some of which can affect the voice. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Stress

Stress can affect the quality of your voice. Stress causes muscles in the body to tighten, which can include those in the chest, throat, neck, jaw, vocal folds (chords), etc., which can affect our vocal quality and performance.

An active stress response can cause immediate changes in the voice due to the many changes the stress response brings about. These changes are sustained as long as the body is experiencing an active stress response, which means voice changes can persist as well.

Moreover, stress-response hyperstimulation (chronic stress), can have an even more profound affect on phonation. For example, many anxious personalities experience voice changes and problems, such as the ones mentioned above. A common voice change anxiety symptom is when a person’s voice ‘breaks/cracks’ (sudden pitch change) when he is nervous. Others experience shaky voice, hoarseness, and so on.

2. Immune system suppression

Stress can also impair the body’s immune system, making the body more susceptible to bacteria and viruses, which can cause issues with our vocal quality.

A suppressed immune system can make a person more vulnerable to colds, flus, and other intruders, which can affect the throat, vocal chords, etc.

3. Stress-response hyperstimulation

Hyperstimulation can cause the mind and body to become fatigued. Fatigue can cause co-ordination and energy problems, thinking and concentration problems, as well as performance problems, which can affect phonation.

In fact, tiredness can impair our ability to function similar to that of being impaired by alcohol. Just as we can slur and mispronounce words when under the influence of alcohol, we can have similar vocalization problems when tired.

Recent studies have found that being tired can impair our motor skills causing coordination, reaction time, and judgment problems.

There are other reasons, as well, which we explain in the Recovery Support area of our website.

While disconcerting, voice symptoms are harmless and fully disappear when the body returns to normal health.

Many of those who struggle with anxiety worry that MS, ALS, a brain tumor, or other neurological condition may be the cause of their symptoms, including phonation problems.

And since there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, such as voice changes, you should discuss all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your symptoms to stress and anxiety, however, you can feel confident that nothing more serious is causing them. Most doctors can easily spot the difference between stress and anxiety-caused sensations and symptoms and those caused by a medical condition, since medical conditions have unique symptoms unlike that of stress and anxiety. Seeing your doctor may help reduce unnecessary worry.

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How to get rid of voice changes anxiety symptoms?

When the voice changes anxiety symptoms are caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, the voice changes anxiety symptoms should subside and you should return to your normal self. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When the voice changes anxiety symptoms are caused by persistent stress, such as stress-response hyperstimulation, it may take a lot more time for the body to recover and to the point where voice changes symptoms are eliminated.

Nevertheless, when the body calms down and/or has fully recovered from its overly stressed state, voice changes anxiety symptoms will completely subside. 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 these voice changes symptoms. Sure, they can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or chronic stress, the voice changes anxiety symptoms completely disappear.

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

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.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the anxiety symptom voice changes.