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How to Stop Heart Palpitations Due to Anxiety: What You Need to Know

How to Stop Heart Palpitations Due to Anxiety: What You Need to Know

It is important to learn how to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety. This can be done by first learning about anxiety and heart palpitations separately.

What are heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations refer to the feeling of your heart beating too fast or too intensely. It may also refer to the feeling of your heart skipping a beat or fluttering. These palpitations may be observed by putting your attention to your neck, throat, and your chest, or by feeling your pulse and heartbeat.

Heart palpitations may be a sign of a more serious health condition. Thus, it is important to have yourself checked by a doctor in case you experience heart palpitations.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the body’s natural, though sometimes harmful response to enduring stress. It is identified with feelings of being frightened and worried about unforeseen circumstances or events that are yet to come.

Your anxiety may be a disorder if you exhibit extreme changes in behavior, or experience extreme forms of the anxiety itself. Other symptoms are if you have been dealing with anxiety of this level for more than six months, and are having trouble with activities that constitute your normal way of life.

How to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety

Part of learning how to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety is understanding how your heart palpitates when you feel anxious. Anxiety is a normal, but involuntary action. Anxiety disorders however, tend to amplify the reactions your body makes in response to stress.

How to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety: The nervous system

The autonomic nervous system (or ANS) is responsible for taking care of the body’s functions when feeling anxiety and stress, as it regulates functions such as your breathing, digestion, and your heart rate.

The ANS is composed of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system:

Sympathetic nervous system

This is responsible for activating the body’s fight or flight response when a threat or danger is perceived by the body

Parasympathetic nervous system

This is responsible for relaxing the body after stressful situations by restoring the body to a calmer state by any means necessary.

The sympathetic nervous system gets its job done by releasing the epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones, which accelerates a person’s heart rate. The parasympathetic nervous system on the other hand releases acetylcholine, a hormone that is responsible for lowering a person’s heart rate.

How to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety: Anxiety disorders

Triggers and responses to anxiety disorders vary from person to person. However, there are specific types of anxiety disorders that are known to affect one’s heart rate and cause palpitations.

These types of anxiety disorder include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

It is important to rule out that the heart palpitation experienced is not caused by other factors such as drastic lifestyle changes, hormone shifts, medicine intake, fevers, or inherent heart problems.

Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medicines such as SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

You may also explore complementary approaches to help address your stress, in addition to your primary treatment approach. These include:

  • Self-management. This is a core element to help contain anxiety
  • Activities such as yoga

Key takeaway

How to stop heart palpitations due to anxiety? Though it is not possible for a person to prevent anxiety palpitations completely, it is still possible to keep the symptoms at bay by understanding triggers for attacks and forming ways to deal with these attacks.

Other factors may cause heart palpitations aside from anxiety. Consult with your doctor to determine the reason for your heart palpitations.

Learn more about Heart Arrhythmias here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Relationship between Palpitation and Mental Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884607/
Accessed May 15, 2021

Anxiety Disorders, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9536-anxiety-disorders
Accessed May 15, 2021

Skipping a beat — the surprise of heart palpitations, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-disease/skipping-a-beat–the-surprise-of-palpitations 

Accessed May 15, 2021

Heart Palpitations, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-palpitations/symptoms-causes/syc-20373196
Accessed May 15, 2021

Symptoms – Panic Disorder, https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia/symptoms
Accessed May 15, 2021

 

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Written by Amable Aguiluz on 2 weeks ago
Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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