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Anxiety Symptoms

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Anxiety Disorders

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Excessive Sweating, Anxiety and Panic


Sweating too much (from the armpits, hands and often the face) is a very common anxiety symptom.

Sweating excessively usually happens during physical exertion (such as exercise) or when we are too hot. It's the body's way of helping us to cool down. (The warm sweat reaches the body surface where it evaporates, taking heat away from the body).

... We all know that we sweat during vigorous exercise and in high temperatures, but why do we sweat due to anxiety and panic?


Anxiety and panic relate to danger. Our mind thinks we are going to get hurt and causes our body to respond appropriately.

It's the fight-or-flight response and it is initiated by adrenaline which increases our body's metabolism to prepare us for action. This increase in metabolism produces heat.

We have to fight or run away.

To enable us to do this, our heartbeat speeds up to pump blood more quickly to the major muscle groups (arms, legs, chest) to supply them with immediate energy to help us fight or flee. The increase in metabloism and energy production basically makes us hotter inside and we sweat to cool down.

Adrenaline also stimulates the sweat glands to cool down any heat produced so even when we are only slightly anxious we may sweat more. Many people experience 'sweaty palms' even though they are only mildly anxious.


The anxiety symptoms we experience and the strength of such symptoms vary from person to person. Some people sweat more, others tremble whilst for many the main focus is palpitations.

It is important to realise that when we focus on one particular symptom and start to worry about it this causes more anxiety which increases the problem.

With Symptoms such as sweating (and trembling and blushing) where our 'weakness' is clearly visible to others it is remarkably easy to fall into a cycle of worrying about the problem which increases the symtoms which increases the worrying and so on.


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Other anxiety and panic symptoms related to the fight-or flight reaction include:-

blue button Palpitations (Rapid / strong / irregular heartbeat).
blue button Fast and shallow breathing.
blue button Trembling and shaking.
blue button Legs feel like jelly.
blue button Blushing.
blue button Dry throat and difficulty swallowing.
blue button Dizziness and feeling light-headed.
blue button Tightness across the chest.
blue button Nausea.
blue button Needing the toilet.
blue button Generally feeling 'on-edge'.    ›› Read more about fight-or-flight symptoms

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Reducing Sweating Caused by Anxiety

In some cases, excessive sweating can be caused by health problems such as high trhyroid levels and diabetes so it is very important important to obtain medical advice about any sweating issues to ensure that it's not due to physical problems or illness.

Once it is established that the sweating is caused by anxiety there certain things that can be done to help the situation:-

1. Avoid spicy foods and alcohol.

2. Wear loose-fitting natural clothes – Avoid tight-fitting clothes and man-made fibres wherever possible.

3. Use antiperspirants that stop perspiration rather than deodorants that merely hide the smell.

4. Avoid strongly perfumed soaps which may irritate the skin.

5. For the feet: use absorbant foot powder / wear leather shoes that allow the feet to breathe rather than synthetic ones.

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Sweat – Definition:-

The Collins English Dictionary defines sweat as:

(or perspiration) the secretion from the sweat glands especially when profuse and visble as during strenuous activity or in times of extreme heat.

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Free Anxiety Ebook

More Resources:
How Stuff Works
Sweating Video

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Anxiety Disorders Book 

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Although these things can help to minimise the sweating, to stop it we have to deal with the actual cause of the problem – the anxiety.


›› How to Deal With Anxiety Problems     

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