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Can Anxiety Cause Nausea?

Can Anxiety Cause Nausea?

A lot of things can make you feel tinges of nausea, but if that sensation continues and seems to happen without physical cause, then you may be experiencing signs of an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of both can be treated, in some cases with psychotherapy, and in others with drugs like ketamine.


Anxiety is part of life that just happens, like how you may feel when facing a problem at work, prior to taking a test, or before making a critical decision. But for a person with an anxiety disorder, the feeling persists and gets worse over time – interfering with daily life.


According to, “Nausea is a general term describing a queasy stomach, with or without the feeling that you are about to vomit. Almost everyone experiences nausea at some time, making it one of the most common problems in medicine. Nausea is not a disease” but happens with many disorders.


Lots of things can result in a stomachache, like bacteria and viruses – which in turn may cause nausea and vomiting. But so, do emotions, like stress, anxiety, and excitement. Consider:

  • Social anxiety, such as attending a formal party by yourself, or a new job or the first day of school.
  • Performance anxiety, like giving a key presentation at a meeting, or preparing for the season’s biggest game.
  • Stress or fear, like house payment concerns, a bully at school, or relocating a child cross-country for college.
  • Over-excitement or anticipation of a wonderful big wedding, perhaps graduation day, or a much-needed vacation.


The causes of anxiety disorders are one of the biggest topics of conversation among people who have it. Nearly everyone – mental healthcare professionals or “armchair” psychologists – will admit the causes of anxiety are not fully understood. Life events such as traumatic events seem to cause anxiety disorders in people who are already susceptible to anxiety. Inherited characteristics also can be a reason.

Medical causes

For some patients, anxiety can be linked to an existing health problem. In some instances, anxiety symptoms and signs are the beginning indicators of a medical ailment. If your doctor believes your anxiety has a medical cause, she or he may order scans or tests to look for indications of a problem.

Examples of medical issues that may be related to anxiety include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism or other thyroid problems
  • Respiratory disorders, like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Drug withdrawal or misuse
  • Withdrawal from anti-anxiety medications, alcohol, or other medications
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or chronic pain
  • Rare tumors that create particular fight-or-flight hormones

Sometimes anxiety is a side effect of particular medications.

It is possible that anxiety disorder may be caused by an underlying medical ailment if:

  • Your family history excludes blood relatives like a sibling or parent with anxiety disorder
  • You never experienced an anxiety disorder in your childhood
  • You do not avoid certain situations or things due to anxiety
  • You have a rapid onset of anxiety which seems unrelated to life events and you do not have a prior history of anxiety


  • Drink ice-cold or clear drinks.
  • Eat light, flavorless foods (such as plain bread or saltine crackers).
  • Avoid greasy, fried, or sweet foods.
  • Eat slowly and eat more frequent, smaller, meals.
  • Do not mix cold and hot foods.
  • Consume beverages slowly.
  • Avoid activity following eating.
  • Avoid teeth brushing after eating food.


A mental health provider will likely:

  • Give you a psychological examination. This involves talking about your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Anxiety conditions often happen along with another mental health issue — such as substance misuse or depression — meaning that diagnosis is more challenging.
  • Compare your symptoms to criteria in the DSM-5. Many doctors utilize the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), authored by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose anxiety disorders.


Also called psychological counseling or talk therapy, psychotherapy means working with a doctor to lower the anxiety symptoms. It is known to be a useful therapy for anxiety. Over the last several years, researchers have studied a novel use for ketamine, a drug created in the 1960s and popularized as an anesthesia during Vietnam. Today, the drug is dispensed through infusion therapy and a nasal spray to help control symptoms of anxiety and other mental illnesses.


If you feel nausea constantly, the cause may be something more serious than nerves or eating food that disagreed with your stomach. It could be the first warning sign of an anxiety disorder. If you feel physically or mentally ill, contact your doctor to talk about diagnosis and treatment before either worsens. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help manage the symptoms of anxiety please contact us today. We can help.


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