Why Does My Anxiety Nausea Happen, And Is It Real?

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated September 19, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Nausea can be a common (and very real) symptom of anxiety. In many cases, anxiety causes a fight-or-flight response that tells your brain and body to turn all available resources toward the perceived threat at hand. Your adrenaline may increase while any digestive activity stalls, potentially contributing to queasiness. Normally, anxiety-induced nausea goes away as you regain a calmer state of mind, but if your nausea persists, it’s generally a good idea to see a doctor. It can be helpful to exercise regularly, practice deep breathing, drink herbal tea, and eat foods that are gentle on the stomach to alleviate the anxiety and nausea. Working with a therapist, whether in person or online, can also be helpful in addressing anxiety at the root.

Anxiety Isn’t Always Just In Your Head.

Stress Can Be Managed

Often, when our brains are overloaded, stress can manifest physically. The stress you may feel from the havoc in your brain can send signals throughout your whole body, potentially reaching your stomach and causing nausea. 

With the right help, you can overcome this condition. According to medically reviewed research, anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are likely among the most common mental health issues in the U.S., potentially affecting 40 million adults. Therapy can be a successful means to combat anxiety symptoms. While you may not be directly treating the nausea itself, you'll likely find that as your anxiety subsides, so may its physical manifestations.

Causes of Anxiety Nausea

Everyone tends to experience anxiety differently, but there may indeed be a correlation between anxiety and nausea. When anxious, the body usually responds with physiological, psychological, and biological ways to try to bring the anxiety down. 

The fight-or-flight mechanism that is typically triggered in the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system can be a natural reaction. It can cause many physical symptoms, like a rapid heart rate, quickened breathing, muscle tension, and higher blood pressure, but it can also suppress the digestive system to make more resources available to deal with the stressor. 

Over time, if stress is too high or constant, as in the case with many anxiety disorders or deep-seated emotional conflict, the body can remain in this fight-or-flight state. This can cause a constant suppression that may lead to feeling "off" digestively. The lining of the stomach can become inflamed and irritated, so it may take less of the stress response to trigger the irritation. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Some people might just feel a bit queasy with anxiety nausea, while others may vomit. Since it's usually a symptom of being stressed, anxiety-related nausea will likely pass once you've calmed down. The only time you should be concerned may be if it is a persistent, regular occurrence, or if the nausea might have been caused by other health conditions, such as food poisoning or irritable bowel syndrome.

Mental And Physical Health

There is generally a strong connection between anxiety nausea and your mental and physical health. In short, severe anxiety can seriously impact your quality of life, even if you’re only having occasional bouts of it.

Anxiety and depression are typically classified as mental health disorders, and they often go hand in hand. When an anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder exist together, it can be hard to determine if the anxiety caused the depression or vice versa. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) usually makes the distinction between occasional anxiety as a response to stress and chronic anxiety that can turn into generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or an anxiety attack. 

It can be common for people to experience anxiety and stress temporarily. By contrast, chronic anxiety may also be a stress response, but it can become an anxiety-related disorder if it doesn’t go away, or if it worsens over time. Chronic anxiety disorders may interfere with your work, school, family life, and other daily activities, and they can seriously affect your quality of life.

Chronic anxiety and stress can cause anxiety attacks and panic attacks. If anxiety or panic attacks recur unexpectedly and frequently, they may be diagnosed as anxiety disorder or panic disorder. 

People with anxiety disorders of all types, including panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and OCD, can experience positive long-term improvement when they get the proper medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. As with any severe symptoms, it’s generally best to speak with a trusted professional. You can reach out to your doctor or seek the help of a licensed therapist to learn how to manage anxiety.

Home Treatment


Most of the time, you can cope with anxiety-induced nausea, at home since the stomach symptoms are likely to pass once you're feeling calmer. If you can, try to avoid the things that create or increase your stress or cut down your exposure as much as possible in the moment. 

You might also take measures to calm yourself. For example, practicing breathing exercises, listening to music, taking a bath, or exercising can all have calming effects. Keep in mind that overly intense physical activity can increase adrenaline, but people often find themselves calmer following the workout. You can do many things to bring your stress levels down, even if you can't avoid the causes of your anxiety.

  • Physical Exercise - Exercise often works well to decrease anxiety because it usually tires out your muscles, which can force them to relax. It can also deplete your adrenaline levels, potentially helping to keep anxiety under control. Another potential benefit of exercise is that it typically releases endorphins, which can help you feel good and improve your mood. Physical exercise can also manage hormone levels and lead to more balanced body chemicals, which may also reduce anxiety levels. 

  • Breathing Exercises - When you feel overly anxious, you can use common coping exercises and relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Deep breathing generally means taking controlled breaths slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. The repetitive action often helps to empty the mind and gives you something else to focus on so that you aren't dwelling on the source of your anxiety. Taking deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth typically sends signals to your body that help it understand the fear response is no longer needed. Thus, your heart rate and blood pressure will likely decrease. Exhaling for a slightly longer period than you inhale usually produces this effect more quickly. 

  • Herbal Supplements - If you still experience nausea, you might drink some ginger or mint tea. Both ginger and mint can be beneficial for the digestive system, and the hot water typically helps to relax the muscles of the stomach and digestive tract. Some teas can also produce a calming effect on your entire body and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Also, some herbal supplements may work for nausea, potentially including valerian, passionflower, and kava, though these are not advised for children or pregnant women and should be discussed with a doctor first. If you're taking prescription anti-anxiety medications, it can be essential to talk with a doctor before taking these supplements.

  • Eating - Eating foods that are gentle on the stomach - not too spicy, greasy, or salty - can also help, and in the long term, they can have other positive health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure. Try to eat smaller portions rather than big meals and keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol, especially if you're vomiting and not just feeling sick. Anxiety can sometimes be a symptom of dehydration, so it can be helpful to slowly sip water and replenish any lost fluids.

When To See A Doctor

If you've been vomiting consistently for 24 hours or getting anxiety nausea regularly enough that it's disrupting your life, it may be time to see a doctor. Vomiting itself can be a serious symptom, and it may be possible that it isn’t caused by anxiety, so you may want to seek the guidance of a medical professional if it’s often happening. 

Anxiety Isn’t Always Just In Your Head.


In general, as soon as you stop feeling stressed or anxious, symptoms of anxiety nausea may subside. Learning about what causes your anxiety and how to calm yourself may be an important part of prevention. If your anxiety is severe, getting help from a therapist or other mental health professional may be beneficial. 

Sometimes, anxiety can make it difficult to reach out for treatment or keep an appointment. For instance, you may have social anxiety that gets worse when you talk to people in person, or going outside your house could trigger symptoms. This is often why many people with anxiety find online therapy to be a better option. You can chat with someone online and don’t have to leave your house to get the professional help you deserve. 

Research shows that talking with a licensed therapist can be very helpful in treating anxiety disorders, including the type of anxiety that produces an upset stomach. In addition, online therapy can be just as effective in treating anxiety as in-person therapy, according to a recent study comparing these interventions and their ability to alleviate symptoms of anxiety in college students. 

See below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from clients experiencing similar issues.

Therapist Reviews

"Gregory was responsive, direct, and helpful during the time we worked together. I would recommend working with him if you struggle with anxiety. Very approachable and nonjudgmental methodology."

"Carmen has helped provide me with tools that help me better manage my anxieties and insight into reducing my stress and finding balance within the different activities in my life. She is supportive, encouraging, and helps me to see things from a more positive outlook."


It can be common for those experiencing anxiety to also experience nausea. Most of the time, this nausea will go away once the underlying anxiety has resolved. If you experience frequent, consistent, or severe nausea, it can be important to see a doctor. However, if you’re certain the nausea is related to anxiety, then drinking herbal tea, taking deep breaths, eating bland foods, and exercising can be helpful. You may also wish to work with a licensed therapist to address the root of your anxiety.

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