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
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.
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.
All this energy production causes heat and we sweat to cool down.
So when we are anxious (even slightly) the adrenaline hormones produced also stimulate the sweat glands to cool down any
heat that would be produced from any energy bursts that may occur.
Other anxiety and panic symptoms related to the fight-or flight reaction include:-
Palpitations (Rapid / strong / irregular heartbeat).
Fast and shallow breathing.
Trembling and shaking.
Legs feel like jelly.
Dry throat and difficulty swallowing.
Dizziness and feeling light-headed.
Tightness across the chest.
Needing the toilet.
Generally feeling 'on-edge'.
›› Read more about fight-or-flight
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
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.
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.
Anxiety Disorders Book