Are you feeling anxious, but are not sure why? If your hands are constantly cold for no reason, this might be a sign of anxiety. It’s important to know what are the causes and effects of cold hands associated with anxiety.
When experiencing both physical and mental symptoms due to stress and worry, it’s important to take the time to recognize them, understand why they are happening, and look into potential solutions. In this article, we are going to explore are cold hands a sign of anxiety in further detail. We will discuss how it is experienced and the possible treatments available for managing it.
Anxiety Hands Feel Weird
Anxiety hands feel weird for many people because of the physical and emotional effects of stress. Anxiety can cause an increase in heart rate, sweating, and blood pressure that can leave your hands feeling cold, clammy, or numb. It can also cause changes in muscle tension that can make it difficult to move your hands comfortably.
Some people even experience trembling as a result of their anxiety. The following outline some of the common feelings associated with this symptom:
- Tingly or prickly sensations in the hands. These sensations may come and go, or they may be constant.
- A feeling of heaviness in the hands or arms, like they’re weighed down.
- Coldness in the fingers or palms.
- The skin on your hands may feel tight and uncomfortable.
- You may also feel like your wrists are weak or shaky.
- Numbness or numb patches in your fingers or palms can also occur.
These feelings can vary in severity, from mild to severe, and many people find that such sensations are worse when their anxiety is heightened. The following are some common symptoms related to anxiety hands:
- Cold, clammy hands
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Difficulty controlling muscle movements
- Trembling or shaking
- Muscle cramps or pain
- Increased heart rate and perspiration
- Difficulty writing or holding objects due to weakened grip strength
- Twitching muscles in the fingers or palms
These symptoms can be unsettling and interfere with daily tasks like writing, typing on a keyboard, holding objects, and more. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to reach out for help from a mental health professional who can provide support and guidance.
Are Cold Hands A Sign Of Anxiety
Cold hands can be a sign of anxiety because when we feel anxious, our body responds by activating the fight-or-flight response. This includes increased heart rate and blood flow being diverted from our extremities to the core of our body in order to prepare for action. The lack of blood flow to our hands can make them feel cold and clammy. This physical sensation can also exacerbate feelings of anxiety, creating a potential cycle.
In addition, higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol can reduce circulation throughout the body and further contribute to cold hands. Furthermore, those with generalized anxiety disorder are more likely to experience cold hands since they are constantly in a state of heightened alertness and arousal.
Since there are other causes of cold hands aside from anxiety, it’s important to consider other factors as well.
Some common non-anxiety-related causes include anemia, exposure to cold temperatures, smoking, poor circulation due to age or lifestyle choices, or low thyroid hormone levels. It’s always best to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about your health or well-being.
Can Anxiety Make You Feel Cold And Shaky
Anxiety can cause physical symptoms as well as psychological ones. One of these physical sensations is feeling cold and shaky. This can be a sign that you are feeling anxious or stressed, and it is often accompanied by other physical signs such as sweating, heart palpitations, muscle tension, headaches, or dizziness.
Here are some of the ways anxiety affects the body and causes cold and shaky feelings:
- Increase in adrenaline – Anxiety can trigger a release of adrenaline which can cause your body temperature to drop and give you a chill-like feeling.
- Increased cortisol production – The stress hormone cortisol also rises when you’re feeling anxious, which can lead to cold hands, feet, and/or legs.
- Constriction of blood vessels – When you’re feeling anxious your brain signals the constriction of blood vessels near the surface of your skin (in order to reduce heat loss from the body), resulting in a sensation similar to being cold.
- Shaking – Anxiety can also cause shaking or trembling because of muscle tension and the overactivation of certain nerves.
The good news is that anxiety-induced coldness and shaking usually don’t last long; once you have identified the source of your anxiety and worked through it (by talking it out with someone or using relaxation techniques) these physical symptoms should go away quickly.
Cold Hands Panic Attack
Panic attacks can cause cold hands, although this is not the only symptom. Cold hands during a panic attack are caused by a phenomenon known as vasoconstriction.
This occurs when your body is flooded with adrenaline or other stress hormones, and your blood vessels constrict to conserve energy and increase oxygen flow to your muscles. As a result, your extremities such as your hands and feet become cold.
- Anxiety affects the nervous system, leading to a decrease in circulation throughout the body and thus reducing the amount of warmth reaching your extremities.
- When experiencing a panic attack, your body may automatically go into survival mode by diverting blood away from non-essential organs and towards vital organs like your heart, lungs, and brain – which helps you escape or fight off threats.
- This process results in reduced temperature in areas with less circulation like your hands, feet, and other extremities since they’re not receiving enough warm blood from other parts of your body.
- Cold sweat can also be experienced along with the sensation of having cold hands due to increased levels of adrenaline released during a panic attack.
Why Do My Hands Go Cold When I’m Anxious?: 9 Possible Reasons
When it comes to anxiety-related symptoms, having cold hands is one of the most common. Anxiety can cause a number of physical reactions in the body and feeling cold in your hands is one of them.
The sensation of coldness can be accompanied by other physical sensations such as trembling or sweating. So why exactly do our hands go cold when we’re anxious? Read on to find out:
- Adrenaline Rush – When you are feeling anxious, your body releases adrenaline which causes your heart rate to increase and blood vessels to constrict resulting in a drop in temperature near the surface of your skin and making your hands feel cold.
- Poor Circulation – Your blood vessels also tend to constrict when you’re feeling anxious which can make it difficult for blood to flow freely throughout your body and reach your extremities like your hands.
- Stress Hormones – Anxiety triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which signals the constriction of blood vessels near the surface of your skin and reduces circulation to the extremities like your hands. This can lead to a sensation similar to being cold.
- Muscle Tension – When you’re feeling anxious, you may experience muscle tension or tremble due to the over-activation of certain nerves in your body. This can also result in coldness in your hands.
- Survival Mode – When experiencing a panic attack, your body may automatically go into survival mode by diverting blood away from non-essential organs and towards vital organs like your heart, lungs, and brain. This process results in reduced temperature in areas with less circulation like your hands and feet.
- Cold Sweat – Along with the sensation of having cold hands due to increased levels of adrenaline released during a panic attack, you may also experience cold sweat.
- Hyperventilation – Taking rapid, shallow breaths can lead to a drop in carbon dioxide levels in your bloodstream which can cause the vessels near your skin to constrict and reduce circulation. This can result in coldness in your hands.
- Autonomic Nervous System – Anxiety affects the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls involuntary bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. When the ANS is over-activated due to anxiety it can lead to a decrease in circulation throughout the body and thus reduce the amount of warmth reaching your extremities.
- Flight or Fight Response – Constant worrying or feeling anxious can trigger a “fight or flight” response from your body, leading to increased adrenaline levels and dilated pupils. This can cause your muscles to tense and the blood vessels near your skin to constrict, resulting in cold hands.
All of these reactions are part of the body’s natural fight or flight response which helps protect us from danger. If you find yourself having cold hands when feeling anxious it’s important to remember that this is a normal reaction and should pass once the anxiety has subsided.
Diagnosis Of Anxiety Related Cold Hands
If you find yourself experiencing cold hands due to anxiety, it’s important to seek medical attention. A doctor can diagnose and properly treat any underlying anxiety disorder that may be causing the reaction. Diagnosis of anxiety-related cold hands is typically done through:
Identifying the Cause:
The first step in diagnosing anxiety-related cold hands is to determine what is causing them. This can be done through an examination of physical symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
A doctor may ask questions about psychological and emotional stressors, such as work or family life. They may also perform a physical exam to check for any underlying health issues that could contribute to cold hands.
If the cause of the cold hands is not obvious from the initial assessment, doctors may recommend certain tests or scans. These can include blood tests or a CT scan to rule out conditions like Raynaud’s syndrome or carpal tunnel syndrome that can affect hand temperature.
If all other causes have been ruled out, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be consulted to determine if anxiety could be causing the cold hands. This evaluation would involve talking about feelings of anxiety and stress and assessing any potential triggers for these feelings.
The doctor may also recommend relaxation techniques or cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage the symptoms of anxiety.
Assessing Risk Factors:
Finally, it is important to assess any risk factors that could increase the likelihood of having anxiety-related cold hands. Some risk factors include high levels of stress, lack of physical activity, certain medications, and smoking tobacco products.
Discussing these risk factors with a doctor can help create an individualized treatment plan for managing anxiety-related cold hands.
How Do You Get Rid Of Cold Hands From Anxiety?: 12 Helpful Tips
When experiencing cold hands due to anxiety, it is important to take steps to reduce the symptoms. There are many strategies that can help you manage and reduce the severity of your cold hands. Here are 12 helpful tips for getting rid of cold hands from anxiety:
- Exercise: Exercise can help reduce anxiety and increase circulation, which may help warm up your hands. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each day, such as running, cycling, or swimming.
- Stress Management Techniques: Learning how to manage stress can help reduce feelings of anxiety that can cause cold hands. Examples include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation.
- Relaxation Exercises: Relaxation exercises such as yoga or tai chi can help your body relax and reduce tension in the muscles around the hands and fingers, increasing circulation and warmth in the hands.
- Hot Compress: Applying a hot compress to your hands will temporarily increase blood flow to the area and provide some relief from cold hands.
- Wear Warm Clothes: Wearing warm clothes and gloves can help keep your hands warm even when feeling anxious. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes as these can restrict circulation and make your hands colder.
- Reduce Caffeine Consumption: Caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety, which may lead to cold hands. Try to limit caffeine intake to one cup per day and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day or before bedtime.
- Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for reducing anxiety levels and increasing circulation to the hands, improving their temperature. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Change Your Diet: Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables may help reduce anxiety levels and improve circulation. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can restrict blood flow to your hands, making them colder even when you’re not feeling anxious. Quitting smoking can help improve circulation and warm up cold hands.
- Practice Positive Thinking: Practicing positive thinking and reframing negative thoughts can help reduce anxiety related to cold hands. Try visualizing a warmer environment or focusing on something pleasant when your hands get cold.
- See a Doctor: If the symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to consult with a doctor to check for any underlying medical issues that could be causing the coldness in your hands.
- Talk to a Mental Health Professional: Talking to a mental health professional can help identify any potential triggers for anxiety that may be causing the cold hands and work on managing them in order to reduce symptoms.
These tips can help reduce symptoms of anxiety-related cold hands, but it is important to consult with a doctor if the problem persists or worsens. With the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage cold hands caused by anxiety and live a full, healthy life.
8 Best Cold Hands And Feet Anxiety Treatments
Cold hands and feet caused by anxiety can be difficult and uncomfortable symptoms to manage. Fortunately, there are several treatment options that can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
With the right plan tailored to individual needs, it is possible to find relief from cold hands and feet due to anxiety. Here’s a look at some options for treating cold hands and feet associated with anxiety.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is one of the most common treatments for cold hands and feet caused by anxiety. It involves talking to a mental health professional about your symptoms, triggers, and how you can manage them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior to reduce anxiety. During sessions, the therapist will work with you on strategies such as relaxation techniques, healthy coping skills, and cognitive restructuring in order to reduce symptoms associated with cold hands and feet.
- Medication: Depending on the severity of your symptoms, medication may be recommended as part of an overall treatment plan for cold hands and feet caused by anxiety. Common medications prescribed to treat anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and benzodiazepines. It is important to discuss the potential side effects of each medication with your doctor before starting any new treatment plan.
- Lifestyle Changes: Making changes to your lifestyle can help reduce symptoms associated with cold hands and feet caused by anxiety. This may include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, or avoiding substances such as caffeine and alcohol that can trigger anxiety. Additionally, taking time out of your day to relax through activities such as yoga or meditation can also be beneficial in managing stress levels.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into certain points of the body in order to stimulate healing. This technique can help reduce anxiety levels and improve circulation to the hands, helping to reduce symptoms associated with cold hands and feet caused by anxiety.
- Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy is a form of therapy that involves using water to treat physical ailments such as cold hands and feet caused by anxiety. This may include taking a hot bath or shower, soaking your hands in warm water, or applying heated towels or packs to the affected areas. These techniques can help relax tense muscles, promote blood flow, and reduce stress levels.
- Herbal Remedies: Using natural remedies such as herbs and supplements can also help reduce symptoms associated with cold hands and feet caused by anxiety. Common herbal remedies include chamomile, passionflower, kava kava, and valerian root, which have been known to promote relaxation and improve mood.
- Light Therapy: Light therapy involves exposing the body to bright light in order to regulate sleep patterns, boost energy levels, and reduce stress hormones. It is believed that exposure to light of different wavelengths can stimulate hormone production in the body that helps manage anxiety levels, thus reducing symptoms of cold hands and feet associated with anxiety.
- Essential Oils: Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang are often used to help reduce anxiety levels. These natural remedies can be inhaled directly from the bottle or diffused into the air through an oil diffuser. Essential oils have been known to produce calming effects that help relax the mind and body, thus reducing symptoms of cold hands and feet caused by anxiety.
It is important to find the right combination of treatments that work best for you, as each person responds differently to different strategies. It is also beneficial to discuss any lifestyle changes, medications, and therapies with your doctor before starting. With the right treatment plan in place, it is possible to manage cold hands and feet caused by anxiety and live a full, healthy life.
It’s natural to get a bit anxious sometimes, but try not to let it interfere too much with your daily life. If anxiety is an issue that you battle frequently, then be sure to reach out for help. There are lots of ways available to find stress relief and manage anxiety, like talking about your problem with others, exercising, or even seeking professional counseling.
Remember that having cold hands does not necessarily mean you have anxiety – maybe it’s just colder in the room than you think! Either way, take care of yourself and make sure you’re doing the best you can each day.
Hugdahl, K., Brobäck, C., & Fagerström, K. O. (1984). Effects of cold and mental stress on finger temperature in vasospastics and normal Ss. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 22(5), 471–476. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(84)90050-0
Galan, N., RN. (2019, June 26). Potential causes of cold fingers. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325571