Does Anxiety Cause Heart Palpitations?

What You Should Know About Anxiety and Heart Palpitations

Most people experience some level of anxiety in high-stress situations. Say you are studying for a big exam, and you still don’t know all of the information you need to know. You might experience anxiety before the exam, focusing on the consequences of failing rather than focusing on the information you already have in the bag. Maybe you get pulled over or going several miles per hour over the posted speed limit. In a situation like this, you’ll likely experience a spike in anxiety as the police officer approaches your car, and a decline in anxiety once you’ve got the ticket in hand and you are safely driving away.  This is how day-to-day anxiety works – a stressful event occurs, and once it is over the anxiety dissipates. Those who suffer from a diagnosable anxiety disorder, however, have it much different. While anxiety disorders are generally treatable, they can be extremely crippling and greatly disrupt day-to-day life.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental illness throughout the United States. It is estimated that there are nearly 40 million adults over the age of 18 currently suffering from an anxiety disorder – this equates to over 18 percent of the total population.

Symptoms Associated with Anxiety Disorders

If you think that you might be struggling with an anxiety disorder, there are several telltale symptoms to keep an eye out for. These symptoms include:

  • Rapid breathing and hyperventilation
  • Experiencing an increased heart rate
  • Feeling extremely nervous and restless
  • Experiencing a sense of impending danger/feeling as if something horrible is about to happen
  • An increased heart rate and heart palpitations in extreme cases
  • Profuse sweating
  • Uncontrollable trembling and shaking
  • Feeling weak and unenergized
  • Disrupted sleep patterns and an inability to fall asleep
  • Excessive fatigue and drowsiness could be related to a lack of sleep
  • Invasive and uncontrollable thoughts of worry
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Actively attempting to avoid people, places, or things that trigger anxiety and cause panic and worry

The majority of these symptoms are extremely disruptive, but some can be dangerous if left untreated. This is the case with heart palpitations. If you have been experiencing heart palpitations as a result of anxiety, it is important to reach out to a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible.

Anxiety and Heart Palpitations

When a person experiences extreme anxiety, his or her flight or fight response is activated and this can lead to a range of intense physical symptoms, including heart palpitations. Heart palpitations result from a dramatically increased heart rate and are more common when an individual is having a panic attack. It might feel like the heart is racing uncontrollably, pounding out of the chest, or even skipping beats. If you have been experiencing heart palpitations of any severity, you must reach out to a psychological professional as quickly as possible. This symptom of anxiety is not life-threatening, but it can get progressively worse over time if left untreated.

Voices of Mental Health and Anxiety Disorders

At Voices of Mental Health, we offer insight and advice on all topics related to mental illness and dual diagnosis treatment. Our team of experienced and licensed mental health professionals is standing by around the clock to answer any pertinent questions you may have. Some of their areas of expertise include trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and dual diagnosis disorders (substance abuse and mental health issues) of many varying types.

If you are currently suffering from anxiety, or if you have been experiencing symptoms associated with anxiety and you are not sure whether or not treatment is necessary, please feel free to reach out to us for more information. Our mental health experts are standing by to help you in any and every way they possibly can, whether this means pointing you in the direction of a dual diagnosis treatment center or setting you up with a licensed psychiatrist. No matter what you need, we have got you covered – all you need to do is give us a call.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Cayla Clark, BA

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.