Nausea and Anxiety
Chances are at one point in your life you have experienced the feeling of being nauseated or anxious. If you haven’t then you are very lucky that you have not experienced it, because it is one of the most uncomfortable and uncontrollable feelings our bodies can have. “Anxiety and stress can affect virtually every body system. This includes your cardiovascular, endocrine, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems.” And one of the most prominent symptoms of anxiety for many people is nausea. In this blog we will explore what nausea is, what causes it, how anxiety affects nausea, and how CBD may be able to help. A lot of research and time went into this blog, as I personally suffer from chronic nausea and anxiety and know how debilitating it can be. At the end of the blog I will share my tips and tricks to help combat nausea. If this is something you or your loved ones suffer from, please keep reading.
So what is nausea? Most people have felt it after eating a spoiled or contaminated meal, from indulging too much in alcohol, or from having an illness like the flu or COVID-19. But there is another cause of nausea that is oftentimes overlooked, and that is anxiety. Which we will talk about more later.
Nausea is complicated. Most people report nausea is the feeling of “butterflies” in your stomach that results in queasiness, a sour feeling stomach, acid reflux, churning stomach, cramping, dry heaving, and vomiting. For some people it can present itself in much more intense ways such as chills and severe sweats, shaking, vertigo or dizziness, and for me, I tend to experience what feels like an electrical current that is striking through my core. Many of these feelings are due to our flight or fight response, which we will discuss later with anxiety related nausea.
A lot of people who regularly suffer from nausea find relief from vomiting. However repeated and frequent vomiting can cause an array of problems in the esophagus, as well as tooth decay.
Let’s dive into how anxiety can contribute to being nauseated.
Dive Into Anxiety:
It’s 2022. We all know what anxiety is. We all just went through a pandemic and a tumultuous time in our nation. Who doesn’t have anxiety? A lot of people only experience mild anxiety that is easily treatable and not a huge burden on their lives. For some people this feeling can present itself as nervousness, uncertainty, shakiness, fear, and even a feeling of doom or dread, and can create more severe mental issues like depression, worsening anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. (There is a link to the bottom of this blog with Suicide Prevention Resources). If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the available resources. Help is available.
It took me almost a decade to realize that my chronic nausea problems were being directly caused by my untreated anxiety. After struggling through some severe trauma and also living with PTSD from a previously extremely toxic work environment, it took me quite a while to directly relate the two main symptoms I was experiencing. Most times I was experiencing anxiety, I was also nauseous. However, at the time I accredited the nausea to some other underlying stomach issue that I could never seem to solve, no matter how many doctors I went to. It turns out that, after many doctors and therapist appointments, I was able to pinpoint down my nausea issues directly to my crippling anxiety.
Anxiety is when your body is in fight or flight mode and your brain and central nervous system is sensing danger. This can be triggered by many different things. Our nervous systems are always ready to face a crisis, and that is why we feel these things when we have anxiety. When experiencing anxiety and nausea, it can be extremely hard to perform the most simple daily tasks, even getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. But there are ways you can help lessen this feeling, and one of those ways is using CBD.
CBD and Anxiety and Nausea:
Usually the first thing people use to start treating their anxiety is prescription medication from a doctor or psychiatrist. For some people anxiety medications work great! But others can have severe side effects from taking a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) or Beta Blockers. Personally, I find the best results for treating my anxiety and nausea by using SSRI’s, Beta Blockers, and CBD in conjunction with each other. However, everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, so you may need to experiment with different methods and doses of CBD. You also want to make sure you talk to your doctor before taking CBD if you are taking other medications.
On my worst anxiety and nauseated days, I find that CBD provides me more immediate and long lasting relief than my prescription medications. There are many reasons for this.
CBD interacts with our CB2 receptors in our nervous system, and primarily our gut. Gut health and mental health are primarily related, check out my previous blog about CBD and Gut health for more information on this
There are many different ways to consume CBD, however when it comes to anxiety and nausea, I find the tinctures to be the most effective for my symptoms. Having to eat a gummy or chocolate when your stomach is upset is usually the last thing you want to do. That’s why I keep a Full Spectrum Tincture with me at all times. If I feel anxiety and nausea coming on, I will take a dropper of this tincture and within 20-30 minutes I start to feel relief and more like my normal self again. This is a great alternative to taking prescription medications, especially during the day as they can make you drowsy and can sometimes make you feel intoxicated. Personally, I never feel drowsy after taking my tinctures; I even feel more alert and focused.
Other Coping Mechanisms:
In addition to using CBD to treat anxiety and nausea, there are other methods you can try to calm yourself down in these situations.
Trying to focus on the present rather than the past or future, whichever may be causing the anxiety. Pick one object in the room with you and just try to focus on that until you feel present again. You can try to find ways to distract yourself. I like to pick up one of my hobbies like drawing or painting, but you could try cross-stitch, playing a musical instrument, watching a comforting movie, or reading a good book. My favorite book for anxiety attacks is Be Here Now by Ram Dass.
In severe anxiety or nausea attacks you can try counting backwards down or forwards to 100 until you feel more focused. Take a large long deep breath in through your nose, hold that breath for as long as you can, and do a slow breath out until you feel a pressure in your lower stomach. Repeat this a few times until you’re feeling more calm. This will help your body and brain reset and realize it is not in danger.
Coping with nausea can be a little tougher but try to eat very small bites of bread or saltines and sip small amounts of cold water. I like to carry sugar free ginger candies or ginger tea with me, as ginger calms the stomach. It also helps to wear comfy, loose fitting clothes. You can also try taking a cold or lukewarm shower, or even a bath with one of our CBD Bath Bombs. I would avoid taking a very warm or hot bath or shower, as this can actually make nausea worse.
It can be extremely rough trying to live with anxiety and nausea, but with the help of CBD and a few other techniques, it is something that can be manageable on most days. If you have any questions on what products would be best for you, please reach out to us.
If you or anyone you know have suicidal thoughts or ideations please call 988. Help is available.