The list of possible anxiety symptoms contains many unpleasant and scary side-effects including nausea and vomiting.
Once you have vomited during an anxiety attack you will probably become more anxious as you worry about the next attack and the embarrassment associated with possibly vomiting in a public place. This is the worst thing you can do; to allow a symptom of anxiety to feed your anxiety even further which in turn will only aggravate the symptom. As you can see this is a vicious cycle, but the good news is that help is available.
Vomiting as a result of anxiety is more common in children than in adults, but it may affect anybody regardless of age. You should report the nausea and vomiting to your doctor since it may also be caused by a viral or a bacterial infection which can easily be treated.
During an anxiety or a panic attack, blood flow to your stomach and intestines decrease so that more blood is available to your heart and other major muscle groups. This means that your heart will start pumping faster and stronger taking up more space than before. Chances are that you may be hyperventilating too, which will cause your lungs to expand more than when you are not experiencing a panic attack. Both of these events will place more pressure on your stomach which is located in close proximity to your heart and lungs and it can cause you to vomit.
This does not mean that you always have to stay close to the restrooms just in case you feel like vomiting. Anxiety, which is at the root of your problem, is a treatable condition which has been overcome by many people just like you. There are ways in which you can manage anxiety and its associated side effects but for long term results and an improved quality of life, you need to solve your anxiety permanently, not only manage it.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been used with great success in many people suffering from anxiety. It involves learning better stress coping techniques and changing your pattern of thinking. If this is combined with relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or mediation results can be further improved.
Small changes in your lifestyle can also further increase your chances at success. Cutting back on strong stimulants such as caffeine, which can induce anxiety like symptoms, is one way of doing it. Exercise can help you to get rid of all the stress causing hormones in your blood stream and taking part in activities that you enjoy, such as dancing, painting, going to the movies or just being with friends can further increase your enjoyment of life.
You can manage the vomiting in the following ways:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can also lead to a panic attack. You should however wait 30 to 60 minutes after vomiting before eating or drinking anything, and then only start with small amounts of fluids at a time. Only 6 hours after vomiting should you attempt at eating solid foods.
- Peppermint or ginger infusions may help sooth nausea which can prevent you from vomiting altogether. Just keep in mind that ginger ale is not made from real ginger so don’t let the name fool you.
- Try to avoid strong smells, such as hot food smells or perfume. Even the smell of smoke can turn your nausea into real vomiting.
The most important thing you can do is to face your anxiety and step up to the challenge of overcoming it permanently so that you can lead a happy and a fulfilled life.
“Anxiety, Stress, and Stomachaches. Excitement and stress can cause nausea and vomiting”. WebMD. 2009. Webmd.com. (November 15, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/anxiety-stress-and-stomachaches?page=3