The Connection Between Nausea And Anxiety: How Your Mind And Body Are Linked

Nausea is an uncomfortable symptom most of us have experienced and it is caused by a wide range of things, from motion sickness to overeating. But is nausea a sign of anxiety? This article is here to answer that question.

We’ll look at the science of how anxiety affects the body, the many physical symptoms that can be caused by stress, and what steps you can take to best manage your anxiety-induced nausea. So if you often find yourself feeling nauseous, read on to learn more about this issue and how to cope with it.

Is Nausea A Sign Of Anxiety

Yes, nausea can be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. When the body senses danger or perceives a threat, it automatically triggers the fight-or-flight response, which causes physical changes throughout the body in order to prepare us to respond to the perceived threat.

Among these changes are an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as an increase in hormones released into the bloodstream such as cortisol. This physiological reaction can cause physical symptoms like nausea from increased stomach acid production and increased sensitivity to smells and tastes.

Additionally, psychological symptoms such as feelings of fear or dread can also cause nausea due to anticipatory anxiety associated with upcoming events or activities that are stressing you out. This feeling of unease can cause the stomach to produce more gastric acid, which in turn causes nausea and an upset stomach.

Studies have also found that people with anxiety disorders are more likely to experience nausea as a symptom.

In one survey of 695 people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), 64% reported experiencing some type of gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea within the past month. Nausea was the most commonly reported symptom, with 55% of those surveyed reporting feeling nauseated at least once in the last four weeks.

4 Negative Effects Of Anxiety On The Body

The physical effects of anxiety can be wide-ranging and vary from person to person. While it may not always be obvious, anxiety causes a great deal of stress on the body, which in turn can lead to various physical symptoms such as nausea. Here are some of the main ways that anxiety affects the body:

  1. Increased Heart Rate: Anxiety is known to increase heart rate, as your body responds to potential danger with an “adrenaline rush”. This surge of hormones causes your heart rate to skyrocket, which in turn can lead to feelings of nausea or lightheadedness.
  2. Muscle Tension: Many people who experience anxiety also have muscle tension throughout their bodies. Muscle tension is caused by the release of a hormone called cortisol, which is released when the body experiences stress. This tension can contribute to feelings of nausea.
  3. Cortisol Imbalance: During times of stress and anxiety, your body releases higher levels of cortisol as well as adrenaline. While these hormones are useful in helping us respond to threats and danger, they can also cause an imbalance in our bodies, leading to physical symptoms such as nausea.
  4. Digestive Problems: Stress and anxiety can also lead to digestive problems such as indigestion or constipation, both of which can cause nausea. When we’re under pressure or feeling anxious, it’s not uncommon for our digestive systems to slow down or shut down completely, leading to uncomfortable physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

10 Signs You’re Experiencing Anxiety-Induced Nausea

Experiencing nausea can be a sign of many different things, but it can also be one of the main symptoms of anxiety. It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling anxious in order to effectively manage your emotions and physical symptoms. Here are 10 signs that your nausea may be caused by anxiety:

  1. You feel nauseous before stressful events or activities.
  2. You experience a “butterflies in the stomach” sensation when anxious.
  3. Your nausea is worsened by physical exertion or exercise.
  4. You have difficulty eating due to feelings of nausea.
  5. You experience other digestive issues such as constipation, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea.
  6. You often feel dizzy or lightheaded in addition to feeling nauseous.
  7. Your anxiety has caused you to lose your appetite completely.
  8. Taking deep breaths does not help you find relief from nausea symptoms.
  9. You become nauseous when exposed to strong smells or tastes
  10. Going out in public or entering unfamiliar places causes you to feel nauseous.
  11. Anxiety can make it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, or even just relax in general. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to anxiousness, this could be another sign of anxiety-induced nausea.
  12. Feeling restless, irritable, and unable to sit still is a common sign of anxiousness and stress.

If any of these signs sound familiar, it could be an indication that your nausea is caused by anxiety.

5 Formidable Causes Of Anxiety Induced Nausea

Nausea caused by anxiety is a common symptom of stress and can be triggered by many different factors. It can range from mild to severe and can last for a few minutes or several hours. Common causes of anxiety-induced nausea include:

1. Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response:

When we perceive a threat or danger in our environment, the body’s instinctive response is to prepare us for “fight, flight, or freeze”. This means that our bodies will trigger an automatic physiological reaction in order to protect us from harm.

During this process, various hormones are released into the bloodstream such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the body for action by increasing heart rate and blood pressure as well as triggering other physical changes such as muscle tension and nausea.

2. Role of Brain-Gut Connection:

The brain-gut connection is an important factor when it comes to understanding anxiety-induced nausea. The brain-gut connection is a two-way highway between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The brain sends signals to the gut, and the gut responds in kind with its own signals.

This connection helps us to process emotions such as fear and anxiety, which can trigger a cascade of physical symptoms such as nausea and indigestion. Studies have found that when we experience emotional stress and anxiety, the brain signals to the digestive system which can lead to stomach issues like nausea and vomiting. Additionally, the digestive system can also send signals to the brain which affects our emotional state, causing us to feel more anxious and stressed.

Nausea can be triggered by psychological stress

3. Psychological Stress:

Psychological stress is one of the most common causes of anxiety-induced nausea. When we’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, our bodies respond by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. This physiological response can cause physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and digestive problems—all of which can contribute to feelings of nausea.

4. Medical Conditions:

Some medical conditions can also cause nausea as a side effect of their symptoms. For example, people with migraines or vertigo often experience nausea along with other symptoms such as dizziness and headache. Additionally, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and other endocrine-related illnesses can all contribute to feelings of nausea.

5. Medications:

Certain medications may also be the cause of anxiety-induced nausea. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can sometimes have side effects such as nausea or vomiting due to their ability to affect one’s digestion. It is important to speak with your doctor before taking any medication if you are concerned about potential side effects. 

6 Different Anxiety Disorders That Can Nausea 

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can cause extreme physical and emotional distress. Each disorder is characterized by its own set of symptoms, including nausea. Common anxiety disorders include: 

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: GAD is characterized by excessive worry about everyday life events that may or may not be realistic causes for concern. People with GAD often experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, fatigue, muscle tension, and nausea.
  2. Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by sudden episodes of intense fear that come on without warning. These episodes can last several minutes and may cause physical symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, and chest pain.
  3. Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety disorder is characterized by fear or avoidance of social situations. People with this disorder often experience feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, apprehension, and nausea in social settings. 
  4. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is an extreme form of stress that can occur in response to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance (being constantly alert for potential threats), irritability, and nausea.
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors that cause distress and interfere with daily functioning. People with OCD often experience feelings of fear and anxiety, as well as nausea.
  6. Phobias: A phobia is an irrational fear of a certain object, situation, or activity. Common phobias include fear of heights, fear of crowds, and fear of flying. People with phobias may experience nausea as a result of their intense anxiety and avoidance behaviors.

It is important to note that there are many potential causes of anxiety-induced nausea, and not all people who experience it will have an underlying anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, it is best to consult with a doctor or mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is Vomiting A Sign Of Anxiety

Vomiting is an unpleasant experience for anyone. It can be caused by a variety of different factors, including anxiety. In this article, we will explore the signs that vomiting may be related to anxiety and how to cope with these symptoms. 

  1. Physical Signs: When it comes to physical signs, nausea, and vomiting are some of the most common symptoms associated with anxiety. This can manifest as a feeling of unease in the stomach or a feeling of fullness shortly after eating. For some people, this can even lead to actual vomiting—a sign that their body is attempting to cope with overwhelming sensations. 
  2. Emotional Clues: As well as physical signs, there are emotional clues that may suggest that vomiting is being caused by anxiety. People who suffer from this condition often feel a high level of stress or fear before they begin to vomit. They may also feel a sense of dread or panic once they start retching. This emotional distress can worsen if their vomiting continues for an extended period of time, making it difficult for them to relax and get better sleep. 
  3. Behavioral Cues: Additionally, there are behavioral cues that can be indicative of anxiety-related vomiting. Some people may start avoiding certain situations or activities out of fear that they will cause them to vomit again. Others may become more withdrawn or anxious in social settings and find it hard to interact with others due to their discomfort around food or other triggers for their episodes of nausea/vomiting. 

Is Vomiting A Sign Of Anxiety In Dogs

Dogs, just like humans, can experience feelings of anxiety that can lead to vomiting. While some breeds are more prone to this than others, any dog can suffer from an anxiety-related bout of vomiting. Dogs may experience nausea due to unfamiliar surroundings, loud noises, changes in routine, or separation from their owners.

Dogs also suffer from nausea

  1. Physical Signs: The physical signs of anxiety-induced vomiting in dogs include excessive drooling, lip licking, and facial twitching. Other signs that may indicate an anxious dog are panting, trembling, and cowering away from people and other animals. If your dog is vomiting due to anxiety it may also be reluctant to eat or drink while exhibiting these other behaviors associated with stress. Your dog may also appear fearful and display signs of distress when exposed to triggers for their anxiety.
  2. Behavioral Clues: Behaviorally there are certain cues that may suggest an anxious dog is vomiting. If your dog is exhibiting behaviors such as hiding, trembling, or barking excessively this may indicate that their anxiety has caused them to become nauseous and vomit. It may include excessive licking or chewing as a way to self-soothe. They may also become aggressive or defensive if they perceive a threat. Additionally, dogs who usually enjoy being around people or other animals may start avoiding social situations if they are feeling particularly anxious. Or your pup may become clingy and follow you around the house, or avoid certain activities or places entirely due to fear.
  3. Medical Causes: It is important to remember that while vomiting can be a sign of anxiety in dogs, there may also be other medical causes for the symptom. If your dog’s vomiting persists and does not improve with anxiety-reducing treatment, it is best to consult with your veterinarian and have them examined to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

How Do I Know If My Nausea Is Caused By Anxiety?

If you’re feeling nauseous and don’t know why it could be caused by anxiety. Anxiety can manifest in a number of ways, including physical symptoms like nausea. If you feel like your nausea may be due to anxiety, there are some signs to look for that can help you determine the source of your discomfort.

  1. You may feel a constant sense of unease in your stomach, which is often accompanied by nausea. 
  2. You may observe an increase in negative thoughts or feelings which can lead to nausea. 
  3. You may experience increased sweating and rapid heartbeats when feeling anxious, both of which can cause nausea. 
  4. If you start to feel nauseous when doing something that usually makes you anxious, such as public speaking, it’s likely the result of anxiety. 
  5. Nausea due to anxiety can be associated with a fear response and could be triggered by stressful situations or scary events. 
  6. Your stomach can become so tense that you feel like vomiting due to the number of stress hormones being released into your body during an anxious episode. 
  7. If you have difficulty sleeping or have nightmares, these could be causing your nausea as they are common symptoms of anxiety-related disorders such as PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 
  8. Muscle tension associated with anxiety can cause abdominal pain and result in feeling nauseous even when not experiencing any other physical symptoms of anxiety or stress. 
  9. Nausea caused by anxiety often comes along with feelings of dizziness and lightheadedness because the body is releasing more adrenaline than usual when faced with a stressful situation. 
  10. Feeling like there’s no escape from your current situation might cause nausea; if this is accompanied by a racing heartbeat then it’s likely related to an anxiety issue instead of a physical illness

Is nausea a sign of anxiety

14 Tips For Preventing Anxiety-Induced Nausea

Managing anxiety-induced nausea can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to help prevent it. Here are 14 tips for preventing and managing nausea related to anxiety:

  1. Practice deep breathing exercises – Deep breathing is a great way to calm both your body and mind, which in turn can reduce the feelings of nausea caused by anxiety.
  2. Exercise regularly – Exercise helps to relieve stress and release endorphins, which can help lift your mood and reduce feelings of nausea.
  3. Get enough sleep – A lack of sleep increases stress hormones in the body, so make sure you get at least 7–8 hours per night for optimal health.
  4. Take a break from stimulating activitiesTake a break from activities such as watching television or using your phone, which can be overstimulating and contribute to feelings of nausea.
  5. Avoid caffeine – Caffeine increases the hormones associated with anxiety, so try to limit your intake or switch to decaf.
  6. Eat smaller meals throughout the day – Eating large meals can cause stomach discomfort and nausea, so aim for smaller portions spread out throughout the day instead.
  7. Stay hydrated – Dehydration can lead to fatigue and weakness, both of which can contribute to feelings of nausea due to anxiety. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day!
  8. Reduce sugar intake – Too much sugar leads to a crash in energy levels and can contribute to feelings of nausea. Try to limit sugar as much as possible.
  9. Aromatherapy – Try aromatherapy with essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, or bergamot that can help reduce feelings of stress and ease nausea related to anxiety.
  10. Practice mindfulness techniquesMindfulness helps to bring awareness to the present moment, allowing you to focus on your breath and reduce stress levels which may be causing nausea.
  11. Spend time in nature – Nature has been linked to reduced stress levels and improved mental health, so take some time each day to get outside and enjoy the fresh air!
  12. Talk to someone – Talking with a therapist or even a friend can provide relief from anxious thoughts that could be contributing to your nausea. Don’t
  13. Avoid stressful situations – Take time away from stressful situations or difficult conversations that might be causing your anxiety levels to rise and leading to nausea-like symptoms.
  14. Calm yourself – Create a calming environment for yourself by playing music, reading a book, taking a walk, or engaging in other activities that help relax the mind and body.

5 Treatments For Anxiety Induced Nausea

Anxiety-induced nausea can be a difficult symptom to manage, but there are some treatments that may help. Here are 5 treatments for anxiety-induced nausea:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy – CBT is an effective psychological treatment for reducing the symptoms of anxiety and can help with nausea related to it.
  2. Medication – Anti-anxiety medications such as SSRIs or benzodiazepines can help reduce feelings of nausea and other physical symptoms associated with anxiety.
  3. Relaxation techniques – Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and meditation can all help reduce stress levels and ease nausea caused by anxiety.
  4. Gut-directed hypnotherapy –  This type of hypnotherapy is designed to help people with anxiety and digestive issues, and can be helpful in reducing nausea caused by anxiety.
  5. Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 has been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and can help reduce feelings of nausea.

It’s important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing anxiety-induced nausea as there may be other treatments or medications that can help. With the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage and reduce anxious thoughts and associated physical symptoms like nausea.


Nausea is a common symptom of anxiety and can be difficult to manage. However, with the right treatment plan and lifestyle adjustments, it is possible to reduce feelings of nausea associated with anxiety. If you are experiencing nausea due to anxiety, it is important to speak with your doctor for guidance on how to best manage this symptom.


Barrell, A. (2019, September 19). What is the link between anxiety and nausea?

Haug, T. T., Mykletun, A., & Dahl, A. A. (2002). The prevalence of nausea in the community: psychological, social and somatic factors. General Hospital Psychiatry, 24(2), 81–86.

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