If anyone can write an ultimate guide to nausea caused by anxiety, I would be one of them.
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My Personal History
I always thought my anxiety nausea started when I started high school in eighth grade, around 2001, but perhaps I was wrong. I wasn’t even aware that throughout childhood, I had that too. I just didn’t know what it was. I was always told by my mum that I was a difficult eater, as in I didn’t want to eat, and it took so much effort to even get one meal down me as a kid. I also remember one of the biggest reasons why I didn’t want to eat, because I always felt nauseous. I then remembered the worst of it was after my grandpa left, and I had missed him a lot.
After starting high school, I noticed that in the mornings, I would always get sick around the same time and it was horrible. It made me scared to travel, go to places, go to school, talk, or do anything. I didn’t know what the problem was, only that I was ill or something.
I was always afraid that I would be sick, especially in front of people, and because I thought I was alone in this, I never told anyone. For many years, I dealt with it silently, allowing the anxiety to take over, to the point where I could not even move from bed, because I was constantly nauseous. Around that time, eating a slice of watermelon was hard, and I felt that I was slowly getting an eating disorder because the constant nausea makes me not want to eat, and then not eating makes me more anxious. The cycle goes on.
The few horrifying experiences I can recall was once on the train, I had just eaten, had a cold and therefore sore throat, there was a slight argument going on with family, and I just didn’t feel well. I literally started to retch, and everyone thought I was going to throw up. Thankfully, I didn’t. Another time was when a friend was over, I suddenly had a panic attack with nausea, and had to hide in the bathroom for a long time. I also had it in the cinemas when things were too loud, I just got super anxious, at a friend’s house (which was caused by eating a cold salad, then some bread), during school assemblies, during speeches and performances, and even during work.
At one stage, I remember I had exhausted every idea I ever had, and was just feeling like I was dying. I lied on the ground, scrunched up, hoping it would go away.
Causes of Anxiety induced Nausea
I was doing so much research on what causes nausea and I figured a few things out.
When you are anxious, your body usually goes into flight or fight response, which means your blood supplies escape from all parts of the body onto your hands and feet, preparing you to fight or run away. This also means your stomach, which usually has lots of blood there happily digesting your food, has also left.
This will cause the stomach to be overloaded with acid, without any digestion, and cause nausea.
What I did to Help my Anxiety Nausea
This is the one and most important thing that saved my life. The sad thing was, I didn’t even discover them till years later, and kept thinking that I had missed out on my lifesaving elixir. I like to take the capsules, not the tablets, as they are slightly easier to swallow. I take around 2 capsules of 500mg each time I feel an onset of nausea, without water. I swallow them on their own, and that’s when I find that it would work the best. I absolutely stress the importance of taking ginger, it is so absolutely necessary for people suffering from anxiety nausea.
Ginger is a really amazing because it has natural anti nausea effect, it helps your stomach digest food faster and really is the one thing that I always have with me everywhere I go!
If you can’t find ginger root capsules, try ginger tablets. You can easily make your own by buying empty gelatin capsules and putting the powdered ginger root you buy as spice in it. It works exactly the same. I sometimes take up to 8-10 tablets a day.
Avoid Triggers if Possible
Some of my triggers include: Spicy foods, people who have thrown up recently, especially if they didn’t have a reason, certain foods (since I’m lactose intolerant, milk is one of the worst). If you know something throws you into an automatic panic attack, try and avoid if possible. For example, if you heard that your relatives have thrown up on the weekend, don’t visit until the illness has cleared up. If you’re an emetophobic like me who’s terrified of being sick, avoid foods that may easily be contaminated like certain deli meats and semi cooked eggs, or chicken. Be sure you cook your food extra thorough at home.
Vitamins & Minerals
Magnesium Oil & Chelate – I take 3 capsules of Magnesium Chelate 500mg each day, and since then, my anxiety has seriously decreased a lot. Though I also take them with Vitamin D & Calcium, I think magnesium is one of the greatest things to take. Most of us are depleted in magnesium, and magnesium has the ability to calm your body. You will need to take this each day consistently to see an overall good effect though. I suggest magnesium oil for the most perfect absorption at first, as it’s the easiest for your body to absorb.
Vitamin B6 – I would suggest take 25mg every 2 days or so for the best effect, as I find that it lowers anxiety levels!
Inositol – I was told to take that for anxiety by my father in law, and I suggest you try it out for a period of time with the other vitamins and minerals to see if it helps.
Talk to People
If you haven’t talked to anyone about it, please do. Sharing a problem can often lessen half the burden on yourself. Be sure to have them be patient and understanding and not overreact with worry as it will probably make it worse. Be sure that they read up about anxiety if possible, know that it’s not under your control and be as kind to you as they can.
Some medicine like Dramamine or Zofran can be bought or prescribed for absolute emergencies or just having it there may lower your anxiety levels. I like to have them with me, even though I have never even taken them once.
Splashing Cold Water on your Face
This one works amazing with full blown panic attacks. Sometimes I get this bad panic nausea attack, and I have already taken ginger and feel it’s effects, but I still feel as if my heart is beating like crazy and there’s something lingering, splashing some ice cold water is a really good way to slow your heart rate down because of the mammalian diving reflex, as your body or face is submerged in cold water, it realises it may be lacking oxygen so your heart rate slows down. If you notice while you’re anxious, your heart rate will always be super fast.
You may have to repeat this a couple of times for it to work properly, and be sure the water is so cold it has ice in it. If you are going out, I suggest taking some water frozen overnight.
Massage the Stomach Area
Since massaging can often increase blood flow, I totally recommend when you are not nauseous, to massage the centre of your stomach, hard if possible, so that you get all the blood working there. This may have to be done repeatedly over time, but I do believe it can help.
For some reason, a bottle of water has always been my comforter, even though I know it wouldn’t really do anything. That’s because as a little kid, my grandfather once told me that if I was throwing up, sipping water will help. I’m sure he meant that it would help get the taste out of my mouth but I always thought he meant it would stop me from being sick, so since then, water is one of my biggest life supporters.
P6 and Sea-sickness Acupressure Bands
You can buy sea-sickness bands online or in a pharmacy or health food store, they can be used during pregnancy and travelling, but it can also be a small relief to nausea for some people. You wear it on your wrists at the acupressure point that. Another way you can get a similar effect is by about three fingers from wrist line on both hands for a while.
The acupressure point is called P6 so be sure to look up some images if you can’t find it.
Nevasic Anti-nausea App
The Nevasic app is an audio file that you listen to for about 30 minutes and I used it tremendously during my pregnancy and it did help to a certain extent, certainly didn’t take it away but it’s worth a try for anyone who’s looking for some immediate relief. I have this on my iPhone so I can play it anytime I’m feeling sick.
Eat Healthy and Anxiety Fighting Foods
One important thing is eat a very healthy diet, as that can help make sure your body has enough of all the important vitamins and minerals. If you can, make a green smoothie with lots of spinach and kale, different fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, blueberries, and add some carrots and such. It will be easier than cooking all the stuff.
Also, oatmeal has helped me relieve anxiety in the past.
Another food that helps me is dried longans and goji berries which you can buy at Asian grocery stores. Try and make some tea out of it if you can.
Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
This is usually something I do when I’ve done most other things, as it’s the hardest to do. Try and breathe slower if possible, draw a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and slowly let it out. This can help with making sure your heart isn’t going too fast and you’re not hyperventilating.
If you can, try and imagine yourself at a very peaceful place and think to yourself, “it’s okay, everything is alright. I will be fine. I have gone through it before and survived. I will get through this!”
Finally, I want to say that if you are suffering from anxiety nausea, feel that you can’t do anything and nobody understands you, I really do understand it. I’ve dealt with it for almost 15 years now, and everything I wrote here are the information and knowledge I’ve gained within these years, everything has helped me in many different ways. It doesn’t mean I am free from anxiety nausea, but it’s a lot more manageable and I can do things I love and go out without panic attacks.
Days where I eat so little are all int he past as now, I can’t seem to stop eating. It’s all because of ginger, my one true friend that has helped me the most, because ginger took away a lot of the queasiness, and gave me control. I am continuously trying to find new methods, but I hope this can help you as it did with me, and don’t forget that this is not something you should have to suffer alone, please try and talk to someone if you can, someone who’s nice and won’t make you feel worse.
I truly hope that one day very soon, anxiety can be a thing of the past for you!