Anxiety encompasses several different anxiety disorders. Each year, approximately 40 million American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder.

Although there’s a mental component to anxiety, there’s also a physical component that can include things like:

There are ways to manage anxiety that can help relieve physical symptoms. Knowing more about why this happens can be helpful when it starts to occur.

Anxiety often manifests in physical symptoms. Your body can experience anxiety as a fight, flight, or freeze response. The mental mood state corresponds to a physical state, which your body interprets as a fear response.

In this kind of physical response, the body responds as if it’s in an emergency. Blood flow will be redistributed to main organs like the heart and large muscles to help with running away — the body is preparing for flight. This causes extremities like your hands, fingers, and feet to become cold.

Other acute symptoms include sweating, trouble breathing, and feeling lightheaded. General anxiety can also cause insomnia and muscle aches.

Yes, it does go away. Because it’s caused by the stress response, blood flow returns to normal as the stress response lessens. The body no longer thinks it needs to respond as if it’s in an emergency, and blood flow comes back to the hands and feet, warming them up.

It can take some time — about 20 minutes — so don’t be concerned if it doesn’t happen immediately.

Working with a therapist can help you learn to manage your anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for anxiety. It helps you identify and change unhelpful and untrue thoughts that can trigger anxiety and help you reframe it to react in a more adaptive way. This helps to manage the subsequent physical symptoms from the anxiety.

Talking with a medical professional about your symptoms may also be beneficial. Depending on what they feel is appropriate, they may prescribe medication to help manage your anxiety.

Anxiety isn’t the only potential cause of cold hands. Other possible causes can include:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon. Raynaud’s phenomenon is where blood flow to your extremities, including your hands and fingers, is restricted, causing them to be cold.
  • Hypothyroidism. This is also called underactive thyroid and occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is an essential vitamin found in many animal products. A B12 deficiency can cause tingling in the hands and anemia, both of which can make your hands feel cold.
  • Arterial diseases. Diseases that affect the arteries may reduce blood flow to parts of the body, including the hands and fingers. When this happens, the blood doesn’t circulate normally.
  • Smoking cigarettes. Smoking tobacco narrows the blood vessels in your body, which may cause cold fingers or hands. In the long-term, it can damage your heart, impairing blood flow throughout the body.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, as there are other conditions that may also cause cold hands.

When you see a medical professional about cold hands, they’ll ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. They may want to order tests to make sure that there’s no underlying medical condition that’s causing your cold hands.

Talking with them honestly about any other anxiety symptoms you might be having can help them provide the most appropriate treatment.

If you have cold hands all the time, in all kinds of weather, see a health professional. This could be a symptom of an underlying condition, and appropriate treatment can help. Cold hands may be indicative of several different diseases.

If you find yourself being anxious to the point where it affects your everyday life, talk with a health professional. They can help you find a counselor who can work with you to manage your anxiety and reduce physical manifestations of it. There’s treatment, and you don’t have to do this alone.

Anxiety can cause a variety of symptoms, both psychological and physical. These symptoms can include cold hands.

Anxiety is treatable, and treating the underlying anxiety can help you manage it more effectively. This can help reduce or even eliminate many physical symptoms of anxiety.

If you’re concerned that your anxiety is interfering with your life, or if you’re not sure whether your cold hands are a symptom of something else, see your doctor.

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