The Real Reason Anxiety Makes You Shake

Anxiety disorders affect over 30 percent of the U.S. population at some point in their life. They can range from generalized anxiety disorder to a number of different phobias (via the National Institute of Mental Health). They're characterized by excessive anxiety and other changes in behavior that are difficult to control. Most people with anxiety disorders have mild impairment, but almost 23 percent experience serious impairment that interferes with their daily lives.

Feeling anxious can not only be distressing, it can actually cause a physical reaction. Restlessness, muscle tension, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, and even tremors are all symptoms that people with anxiety may exhibit (via the Mayo Clinic). The trembling that results from anxiety may be surprising and unpleasant, but it's not physically harmful. However, if tremors lead to greater anxiety, that can cause other symptoms that may even result in a panic attack. Panic attacks tend to come on suddenly and can be triggered by certain thoughts or experiences. 

What to do if you experience tremors

Doctors don't understand all the causes of anxiety, but both genetic and environmental factors can leave you more prone to having an anxiety disorder. If you were exposed to trauma, for example, you may be more prone to anxiety. 

When you experience stress or anxiety, your body releases stress hormones (via Healthline). Changes in your heart rate and blood pressure can be triggered by these chemicals, and your breathing may become more rapid. As your body prepares to fight or flee, your muscles become more rigid, which can cause them to shake rhythmically (via the National Institutes of Health). These involuntary tremors are classified as psychogenic, meaning they are usually caused by some underlying psychiatric condition like anxiety.

If you are experiencing tremors caused by anxiety, doctors recommend seeking out ways to help your body relax, such as mindfulness meditation or even yoga. If the problem is consistent and begins to bother you or cause disruptions in your life, it may be a good idea to speak with a licensed therapist or medical professional to see if therapy or medication may be a good fit for you.