May 07, 2024

How to Stop Anxiety Chills

Woman with coffee by a fireplace

Anxiety can trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response. That response can be essential to our survival in some instances, but it’s unnecessary and unhelpful when we aren’t in immediate danger. Going into self-preservation mode can cause what are called anxiety chills or anxiety shivers.

You may tremble, shake, or feel like you can’t regulate your body temperature. Anxiety chills alone aren’t dangerous. Still, they can be alarming and unpleasant. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to help reduce or stop anxiety chills.

Read on to learn more.

Anxiety Chills and Other Symptoms

The term “anxiety chills” covers several related physical and mental experiences, including:

  • Trembling or shaking, often in the hands and fingers
  • Muscle tension
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Chills that may alternate with hot flashes or sweating
  • Feeling like you’ve lost control of your body’s movements and temperature regulation

These anxiety symptoms can occur independently or with others, such as:

  • Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea or stomachache
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea

Treatments for Anxiety Chills

While anxiety chills aren’t harmful, they can be very concerning. The good news is that there are several forms of treatment.

Coping skills you can use to ease anxiety chills and other symptoms include:

  • Deep breathing practices. An example is breathing in, holding, and exhaling for four seconds each or at other set intervals.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves tensing (without straining) and then relaxing different muscle groups around the body.
  • Visualization. Picturing a calm, peaceful environment in great detail can help relax your mind and body.
  • Practicing yoga. Yoga poses can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for inducing relaxation.
  • Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation involves focusing on and being immersed in the present moment.

Therapy with a counselor is another way to address anxiety chills and other symptoms. Methods include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This approach involves talking with a counselor to identify and change unhelpful thinking patterns.
  • Exposure therapy. This modality involves careful exposure to stressful thoughts as a way to help desensitize you to them.
  • Psychodynamic therapy. The focus of this type of therapy is determining the “why” behind your thoughts and resulting actions so that you can change your behaviors and responses to stressful situations.

Doctors can also prescribe various medications for anxiety symptoms, including:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Anxiolytics
  • MAO inhibitors (MAOIs)

Each of these drugs has advantages, side effects, and other characteristics that your doctor can explain.

Get Help with Anxiety Chills and Other Symptoms

Anxiety chills and other symptoms can adversely affect your quality of life. If you have anxiety, our mental health experts at Baptist Health can help.

Tell your primary care doctor what you’re experiencing. They can diagnose your condition, prescribe treatment, and help you reduce or eliminate your symptoms. They may also refer you to a mental health specialist.

You can find a Baptist Health physician using our online provider directory if you don’t have one.

Learn More.