“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Electric Shock Feeling - Anxiety Symptoms

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: October 10, 2019


electric shock anxiety symptoms image

Electric shock feeling, including feeling like you were jolted, electrified, or had a brief tremor are common symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

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 or Anxiety Disorder Test. The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including feeling like you’ve been electrically shocked.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and an electric shock feeling.

Descriptions of the electric shock feeling anxiety symptoms include:

  • You feel as if you’ve been jolted by an electric shock.
  • Others describe the feeling as being zapped, buzzed, shocked, jolted, or had a sudden "brain, head, or body tremor."
  • It can also feel like your body just experienced a sudden tremor or vibration.
  • The sensation generally lasts only for a few moments and occurs spontaneously and without warning.

Electric shock anxiety symptoms can affect one area of the body only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over the body and affect many areas over and over again.

Feeling like you’ve been electrically shocked can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist 24/7. For example, you might feel a sudden jolt or shock once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it regularly.

This anxiety symptom can precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This symptom 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 symptom can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also occur at different degrees of intensity where one jolt is strong and another is barely noticeable.

This symptom can change from day to day and from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

When this symptom first occurs, it can be alarming and might even be the cause of a panic attack. Thoughts of “what if it is a symptom of a brain tumor or cancer, or the result of MS, ALS, or other more serious medical condition” are fears commonly associated with this symptom.

Because of the bizarre nature of this symptom, it may even make you truly believe something more dramatic will happen next.

The electric shock feeling is NOT restricted to the head and can affect any part of the body.

What causes the electric shock feeling anxiety symptom?

Medical Advisory

We recommend all new, changing, persistent, and returning anxiety symptoms be discussed with your doctor as some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms, including this anxiety symptom. If your doctor concludes your symptoms are solely anxiety-related, you can be confident there isn't a medical cause. Generally, doctors can easily determine the difference between anxiety symptoms and those caused by a medical condition.

Doctors aren't infallible, however. If you are uncertain about your doctor’s diagnosis, you can seek a second or more opinions. But if all opinions agree, you can be assured anxiety is the cause of this symptom.

Relating to anxiety disorder, there are two primary causes of the electric shock feelings anxiety symptoms:

1. Hyperstimulation

Behaving anxiously activates the stress response, also often referred to as the fight of flight response.[1][2] The stress response quickly prepares the body for emergency action. Visit our “Stress Response” article for more information about the stress response and the many body-wide changes it can cause.

Stress responses stress the body because of the many changes the stress response brings about.

When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from all of the stress response changes. When stress responses occur too frequently, however, the body can't complete its recovery. Incomplete recovery can cause the body to remain in a state of semi stress response readiness, which we call "stress-response hyperstimulation” since stress hormones are stimulants (hyperstimulation is also often referred to as "hyperarousal").[3][4] Visit our “Stress-Response Hyperstimulation” article for more information about why hyperstimulation can cause so many profound and lasting changes.

When the body becomes chronically stressed (hyperstimulated), it can behave erratically and cause many unusual sensations and symptoms.[3][4] Having sudden “shock-like” feelings in any part of the body is one example of how the body can misbehave when it is chronically stressed (hyperstimulated).

While electric shock anxiety symptoms can be startling, and even unnerving, they aren't an indication of something more serious nor are they harmful. Consequently, you don't have to worry about them.  They are merely indications of chronic stress.

2. Side effects of medication

Medication is another common cause of “electric shock feelings.” Many medications, including common psychotropic medications (anti-anxiety, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, etc.) can cause a variety of side effects when starting them, taking them regularly, missing dosages, switching to another medication, in combination with other medications and over-the-counter medications, and when discontinuing them.[5] Having “electric shock” and “body jolt” symptoms are common side effects associated with medication.

If you think your medication might be causing your “electric shock” feelings, talk with your doctor and pharmacist about options.

How to get rid of the electric shock and jolts anxiety symptoms

Since this symptom is caused by chronic stress, reducing your anxiety and stress, and giving the body ample time to recover from the adverse effects of chronic stress will eliminate the electric shock feeling anxiety symptoms. Therefore, they needn't be a cause for concern.

There are many ways to reduce stress, such as regular deep relaxation, regular exercise, relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, taking time away from work, taking a relaxing holiday, and so on.

As your body recovers from chronic stress (hyperstimulation), it stops sending symptoms, including this one.

If you are having difficulty managing your anxiety, you can connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists to help you learn the many important skills associated with overcoming anxiety disorder.  Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome problematic anxiety.

If you’d like more self-help strategies, the Recovery Support area of our website contains many chapters of important recovery information. For instance, what containment is and why it is necessary for long-term success, how to overcome panic attacks, how to extinguish fears, why fears can linger for much longer than we think they should, and the many core fears that drive anxiety disorder, to name a few.

Moreover, chapter 9 in the Recovery Support area of our website is our Anxiety Symptoms chapter. We list all of the symptoms associated with anxiety in this chapter, including the electric shock feeling anxiety symptoms. Each symptom listed in Chapter 9 contains a complete description of what the symptom feels like, how others describe it, has a complete description of why it occurs (we have a more complete description about the electric shock feeling symptom), natural and practical ways you can eliminate each symptom, including the electric shock feeling anxiety symptoms, as well as how common each symptom is (the percentage of people who experience it).

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 anxietycentre.com.


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.


Anxiety disorder can be overcome with the right information, help, support, and effort.[6] All of us at anxietycentre.com have personally experienced and overcame anxiety disorder. We’re committed to helping people achieve the same success!


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


Additional Resources:


Return to Anxiety Disorders Signs and Symptoms section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including Electic Shock anxiety symptoms.


REFERENCES:

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.

5. National Institute of Mental Health. "Mental Health Medications." Oct. 2016.

6. DISCLAIMER: Because each body is somewhat chemically unique, and because each person will have a unique mix of symptoms and underlying factors, recovery results may vary. Variances can occur for many reasons, including due to the severity of the condition, the ability of the person to apply the recovery concepts, and the commitment to making behavioral change.