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Emotions Feel Numb Anxiety Symptoms

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 3, 2019

Emotions feel numb, flat, muted, and empty anxiety symptoms descriptions:

Common descriptions about the emotions feel numb anxiety symptoms:

The emotions feel numb symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel emotionally wrong once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

The emotions feel numb symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

The emotions feel numb 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.

The emotions feel numb 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.

The emotions feel numb symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

What causes the emotions feel numb anxiety symptoms?

Because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like sensations and symptoms, including having your emotions feel numb, we recommend that all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms be discussed with your doctor. If your doctor concludes that your symptoms are caused solely from anxiety and/or stress, you can be assured that there isn’t another medical condition causing them. Generally, most doctors can easily differentiate between stress and anxiety caused sensations and symptoms from those caused by other medical conditions.

There are many reasons why anxiety and/or stress can cause the emotions feel numb symptoms. Five of the most common include:

1. Stress hormones affect the Limbic System, which largely controls our emotional life
The Limbic System (or paleomammalian brain) is a complex set of brain structures that supports a variety of functions including epinephrine flow, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, olfaction, and emotion. The Limbic System becomes more active when behaving anxiously and is greatly affected by the resulting stress hormones. The more anxious and stressed we are, the more the Limbic System is adversely affected.

Since the Limbic System can affect our emotions, behaving overly anxiously and the stress it causes can adversely affect our emotional health. Experiencing the emotions feel numb symptoms is a common consequence of the Limbic System and how it can be adversely affected by overly apprehensive behavior and elevated stress.

2. Stress hormones and how they affect other hormones
In addition to stress hormones having an adverse effect on the Limbic System, stress hormones can also affect other hormones in the body. Hormones can affect mood. As stress hormone levels fluctuate, they can influence other hormone levels, which can cause our emotions to feel unusual and ‘wrong.’

With this in mind, persistently elevated stress from sources other than behavior can also affect mood and especially when the body is already overly stressed and stimulated…since stress hormones are stimulants.

3. Overly taxed resources
The body’s energy levels can also affect mood. Too frequent and/or dramatic stress responses can tax the body’s energy resources harder than normal. This can leave the body tired, exhausted, and depleted of energy, which can affect mood. Behaving overly apprehensively is a common cause of fatigue, which can result in the emotions feel numb symptoms.

4. Behaviors
Feelings are byproducts of our behaviors (the ways we think and act). Recovery Support members can read more about this in Chapter 6.

If you are feeling down and blue about life, the stressors in your life, and/or your struggle with anxiety, this can result in the emotions feel numb symptoms. Behavior is a common cause of feeling emotionally numb.

5. Medication
Psychotropic medications, such as anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications, often affect mood because of how they affect brain function. They are a common cause of feeling emotionally numb.

There are other reasons, too. We mention these in our Symptoms chapter (Chapter 9) in the Recovery Support area of our website if you are interested in learning more.

How to get rid of the emotions feel numb anxiety symptoms?

The main cause of feeling emotionally numb is apprehensive behavior and how it affects the body. In this case, dealing with your apprehensive behavior will eliminate emotions that feel wrong.

There are many ways to address overly apprehensive behavior. The most effective way is to work with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor, such as those affiliated with anxietycentre.com.

As your apprehensive behaviors are addressed, the stress they have on the body diminishes. As the body’s stress diminishes, your normal emotions will return, which will eliminate the emotions feel numb symptoms.

When the emotions feel numb symptoms are caused by stress, reducing the body’s stress can also eliminate this symptom.

When the emotions feel numb symptoms are caused by fatigue, getting sufficient rest can also eliminate this symptom.

When the emotions feel numb symptoms are caused by medication, talking with your doctor and pharmacist could be of assistance. Sometimes a dosage change can help. And at other times, switching to a different medication can help.

Reducing stress, giving your body ample rest, and containing your apprehensive behavior will bring symptom relief in time.

Recovery Support members can access more information about the emotions feel numb symptoms and ways to eliminate them in the Recovery Support area.

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 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.

Anxiety attacks can be powerful and overwhelming experiences. But there is help available. We encourage you to explore our website for a comprehensive understanding of anxiety, anxiety symptoms and signs, the various anxiety disorders, and how to overcome them.

For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists; information about Anxiety Attacks Symptoms and Treatment; the signs and symptoms of panic attacks disorder; our anxiety Recovery Support area; information about the many Anxiety disorders; and our Anxiety 101 section; click on the appropriate link or graphic below:

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