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The Twin Terrors: Anxiety and Excessive Sweating

Updated on July 24, 2011
Anxiety and Excessive Sweating
Anxiety and Excessive Sweating

The Twin Terrors: Anxiety and Excessive Sweating

Do you suffer from excessive sweating? Well, chances are high that you also suffer from some form of anxiety and possibly even panic attacks.

Despite there being strong medical evidence to suggest a link between excessive sweating and anxiety, opinion is divided as to which causes the other.

A real chicken and egg problem...

Which came first – the anxiety or the sweating?

Some people believe that anxiety and panic attacks are not, in themselves, causes of excessive sweating. They believe that in the majority of cases anxiety merely aggravates or exacerbates an existing medical condition.

Others believe anxiety induced hyperhidrosis exists. In other words, anxiety or panic attacks that bring with them bouts of excessive sweating. Many people suffer ongoing states of anxiety or nervous tension and therefore excessive sweating becomes an everyday reality for them.

Since hyperhidrosis is a complex and poorly understood condition, it is likely that both the above theories are correct. One thing is for sure - increased anxiety equals increased sweating.

Managing your anxiety will reduce your excessive sweating

You know the vicious cycle. You sweat a little which makes you embarrassed, anxious and tense. Your tension and anxiety then makes you sweat a little more... And so the cycle continues. Frankly, it doesn't matter which caused the other - you just need to break the cycle.

Fortunately there are many treatments for anxiety and panic attacks, ranging from everyday relaxation techniques through to strong prescription medication. Here are just a few types of treatment:

  • Controlled breathing techniques
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Hypnosis
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Medication such as diazepam or antidepressants

So what should you do if you suffer from excessive sweating and you feel you are susceptible to bouts of anxiety or panic attacks? Well, the first thing you should do is talk to your preferred medical practitioner. You'll need to make sure that your excessive sweating isn't a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

Once you've had a check-up I heartily recommend you try some simple relaxation techniques. As an ex-sufferer of hyperhidrosis I know first-hand the almost miraculous benefits of using relaxation techniques to reduce your excessive sweating. And, unlike the vast majority of excessive sweating treatments, this one is virtually guaranteed to have a positive rather than detrimental impact on your general health and wellbeing.

Product Recommendation – Panic Away

Frankly, you could try pretty much any relaxation, controlled breathing or CBT product from the Internet or your local bookstore and you will get some benefit from applying the techniques they describe.

But if you are looking for quick results with simple, easy-to-follow steps then I heartily recommend Joe Barry's book. I no longer suffer from excessive sweating but I continue to apply the techniques from this book because they help me to stay calm and in control in my everyday life.

I will do a full review of this book in my next hub page, but for now go over to Joe's website and read some of the comments from his customers.

All the best,

Howard Boon

This article is general in nature and does not represent medical advice. Always consult with a qualified medical practitioner before choosing a course of hyperhidrosis treatment.


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      worrywort 3 years ago

      It's nice to know that lots of people have this issue too! I feel less alone, although I'm sorry we all have to go through it! I definitely believe anxiety and stress cause sweating. I have had this problem since I was 12 and it's reduced over time. Controlling the anxiety and emotions really help me sweat less. I am 24 and still suffer from excessive sweating, but as long as I am in control of my emotions and anxiety I don't sweat. Its a hard life but I think being in control of your emotions is key. I'm a huge worrywart and its the worrying that causes me to sweat so much. I worry and get anxious and worry some more. It's difficult but worrying less = no sweating. Its a battle everyday for us with this issue. I think the only way to stop sweating is to find the root of your anxiety or stressors or worries. In my opinion, sweating is a symptom of a deep rooted issue!! Take control of your emotions, stop worrying and overthinking, stress less and You will sweat less or not at all!!! Good luck to everyone with this issue. I hope we all can overcome our anxiety/sweating. Remember we are not alone!!!!

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      embarrassed 4 years ago

      I also suffer excessive sweating when freezing cold, all over my face, neck, back and front, anxiety is ruining my life!

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      Meaghan 5 years ago

      And I thought I was the only one! Glad to know I'm not.. I'm a high school student who takes random outbursts of sweating profusely frequently. It happens all of a sudden and mainly when there's a group of people around. It's so embarassing! I'm contemplating going to the doctor and getting it checked out, but I wanted to get some information on it first. Best of luck to everyone, we can get through this!

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      Tianna Wimmer 5 years ago

      I to am reveled to read so many stories similar to mine. I find myself sweating constantly on my nose! I live in Utah and in the dead of winter i find im still sweating. Iam constantly wiping my nose. I find myself avoiding eye contact and avoiding people all together. I believe i have had server anxiety for serveral years now and recently dealing with PTS that seems to have worsen my condition. I often leave conversations or pretend i must get away quickly to avoid the chance of sweat running down my face. Sigh... im miserable

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      Sweaty monster:) 5 years ago

      It's comforting to read that I am not alone in my social/anxiety related sweatiness. I am a very confident outgoing person who loves to socialise but noticed as many here have that during my first year of university that I started to have these sweat attacks. They were irrational as I knew the room was not particularly hot. I would begin to sweat then worry other people were thinking "wow that guys really sweaty" and being anxious about other people noticing just seemed to make me worse. It always seems to be my forehead rather than anywhere else although occasionally my armpits decide to join in on the action. Sometimes it will get to the point where I have a waterfall running down my face.

      All I want to do when I have a sweat attack is run away so others do not notice. I have in many occasions done exactly that. I have left big uni lectures half way through and had to walk past everyone which has been horrible, on the bus sometimes when I have been late for work had to get off as I was getting too sweaty/embarrassed and I often make excuses that I need to go outside to call/text people when I'm getting to sweaty at a party or out at dinner.

      I freaked out a bit when it first started happening but have learnt to deal with it a little. Yet I still get these sweaty/anxiety attacks fairly often. I find it generally occurs in busy places with lots of people, meeting new people, and important occasions like interviews. I find concentrating on my breathing, rationalising how silly I am being and just grinning and bearing it are the best ways to deal with it.

      I do think about it a lot and worry about going to places/events when I feel there is a likelihood of it coming on. My fair of people noticing does effect what I wear and sometimes can lead to me shying away from situation that I feel may bring on an attack. IT SIMPLY SUCKS. I wish there was an easy fix but I am yet to find one.

      I have noticed in a few of these messages cutting back on coffee and boozes may help plus meditation. I may look into meditation classes and will definitely cut back on my coffee consumption. Boozes is a harder one to cut back on as so many of the social occasions I attend include boozes or are to a degree centred around it. In saying this though I will still definitely try to cut back on it.

      Good luck everyone. Know that you are not alone suffering from this and that this does not make you weird and should not make you an outcast. Try to not let it rule your life.

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      VAL 5 years ago


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      ace 6 years ago

      i have read all the comments...i too sweat heavily...sometimes just watchin tv or thinking...but mostly meeting new people...i can sweat through my entire clothes on a big important day....its disgusting and embarrassing....hard to shrug it off...there is a surgery that cuts the nerve in your armpit that restricts sweating in certain areas i am contemplating....i began sweating during a 4th grade test in a new school and the entire test was my hands are dripping right now on my keyboard....i find coffee make me sweat too....i drink heavily in bars and it relaxes me but that is a terrible solution....drysol works a little...i invented my own electric shock machine for hyerhidrosis from watching YOUTUBE but i never use it consistently....i heard there is a new medication to stop sweating but not really tested....relaxation techniques will probably be best bet but that takes i guess the best solution nothing comes easy in life so work hard at the problem.... or sweat like a whore in church and just look like a lying sweaty Nixon weirdo.

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      drew 6 years ago

      Wow, no idea how good it makes me feel to know that Im not the only one. I know that this is just a mind thing and a relationship for me that I've made with the sweating and anxiety. I'm trying to be the best person I can be and sometimes when I'm just too hard on myself. This causes the anxiety which leads to the sweating. A lot of good advice in these comments. I think the most important thing I've learned after about 6 years of this is to just not resist. The more you resist or look for an exit from the situation the more intense the sweating will become. If you sit back and feel the weaves of heat/sweat without putting too much mental power towards it, it can make all the difference. I'm about to leave college now and start a career. I'm making a commitment to myself that I will not bring this silly worry over sweating with me after I graduate. Life is too short and I've missed too much time already, as we all have, worrying over what people might think about my sweating. Who cares, let's live! Love you guys!

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      Trying to break the cycle 6 years ago

      So I am not the only one! About four years ago I started having anxiety issues. After about a couple of years I began to help myself doing meditation and exercises to help fight my anxiety. After doing it all, the excessive sweating went away and so did the anxiety.

      Then I went to grad school, was stressed did not have time to meditate and it all came back. I am looking to battle this once more, this time for good.

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      Relief 6 years ago

      I went to the doctor for excessive sweating and he told me if you put 100 people in the same room, 10 would be freezing, 80 would feel comfortable, and the other 10 would be sweating profusely. He prescribed a perscription strength anti-persperant (DRYSOL) which worked for me. It stopped my sweating completely no matter how stressed or anxious I felt. Once the viscious cycle of worry over sweating is eliminated, then you can focus on eliminating the stresses in your life :) Good Luck!

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      iol 6 years ago

      I’ve been reading your comments and feel very identified with all of you. Last year I discovered a really good help for everybody who suffers from hh and excessive sweating. Its name is Sutran and it’s a Spanish company that created new garments which prevent the sweating coming out. This is their website and I think they sell all over the world. T-shirts are maybe a little thick but, truly, they are worthy as the tranquillity you feel knowing that perspiration won’t come out is really amazing! I used to bear with three T-shirts in my bag for changing the one I was wearing because I soaked it really quickly. I’m happy now.

      Good luck to everybody…

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      shane j 7 years ago

      When ever i know im about to do something or go somewhere fun i began to sweat bad for hours. and im sure its not social anxitey, because i like being around people and being in front of large groups doesn't make me nervous, almost every night before work, or before snowboarding or anything.. the second im @ home and i know im about to do something or start getting ready i began to sweat??even if im just going to a familiy members house.. any ideas what this could be! it drive me crazy

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      Someguy 7 years ago

      Interesting stuff. I had severe issues with sweating at school as well. Now in hindsight I believe I suffered badly from anxiety and as said the anxiety/sweating cycle begins.

      I did find a treatment which blocked sweat holes and it worked in "curing" my underarm sweating condition.

      Once this happen I believed everything was going to be ok, but I have turned out severly depressed and have anxiety/panic attack issues. I always thought the sweating was my problem in life but it was just a secondary condition from the primary anxiety.

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      Yupp 7 years ago

      Im a 23 year old male and remember the first day I broke into the awkward sweating. I was in English class my Freshman year of college, and was called upon to read a paper. Now back in High School I was extremely outgoing, loved being in front of people, and always volunteered. But once I was in college, in a different scene, I became anxious when asked to read in front of the class, and that's when the sweat came, and the shortness of breath. I had never experienced this before. The sweat came dripping off my forehead uncontrollably and the more I thought about the worse and worse it got, I had to constantly wipe my forehead with my sleeve, which then became noticeably wet on both sides. Ever since then I was never able to go anywhere without the fear of sweating in public, which then caused my anxiety. I would wear basketball shorts to class in the middle of winter and still sweat. I would put my head down to hide the sweating all the while having uncontrollable anxiety. I would bring paper towels in my pockets and quickly ask to use the bathroom as soon as i felt it coming.

      Now that I am out of school, my biggest issue is going to an interview. Once I am in that room and all eyes are on me, I don't stand a chance. I've been asked if Im sick, if the room is too hot, or just stared at. I don't sweat from anywhere else but my face, the most noticeable place. I have tried relaxation techniques and everything else but nothing works.

      I then began asking myself what had changed from the day I left high school to the day I left college? It wasn't like I was afraid of going to new places or I was afraid of meeting new people, I still love it, and love being on my own. The biggest change was my intake of alcohol. I never drank throughout high school, and once I got to college I started drinking a lot, and have continued the same lifestyle until a few months ago. As soon as I slowed my drinking, my sweating started to decrease, and my anxiety began to lower. If i break out in a sweat in an interview these days I just kind of laugh it off, because life is too short to be worried about sweating. Big deal, stop worrying about what other people think and you will see a decrease in anxiety. Which wont lead to the end of sweating, but a definite increase. One step at a time.

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      rr 7 years ago

      I have this same problem. Then I become more aware of the sweating and can't move my arms, oh and the wonderful BO that accompanies the sweat really makes me feel great at parties. I really sometimes think I'm just not meant to socialize and be a hermit other than work. Any type of event causes me to have this vicious cycle of being anxious, then sweating, then being anxious about the sweating, and by the end of the night I'm totally humiliated. I tried so many things and nothing combats it. It's like virtually impossible for me to have any normal socializing with this problem.

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      Mike 7 years ago

      I am a 15 year old guy and I sweat a lot I start thinking it could be anxiety and it only got worse I am clear that what you need to do is stop thinking about it and be yourself but when Im with girls is nearly imposible to control I tell you this because maybe it can help u stop thinking of it and just relax however I know its very hard by personal experience but I wont give up I know I can cure this myself and you know u can cure yourself to SO KMON and try!!! never give up!!! hope this gets u more positive about it and I am glad to tel you that my sweating is getting smaller daily HOPE YOU CAN SOLVE IT AND WISH EVERYONE OF YOU LUCK so get that face up and START LIVING you know as I know THAT WE CAN!!!!!! Thanks..

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      Shae 7 years ago

      Oh thanks you soo much for this hub. Its so great to know i'm not alone in this situation. I for one don't want to be on medicaton so I'm off to Borders to find some meditation and anxiety books.

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      Hyperhidrosis Treatments 7 years ago

      Great hub - there are many ways to stop excessive sweating, and the psychological side of it should not be neglected. Certain relaxation techniques and meditation methods can also help sometimes.

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      Nikki 7 years ago

      It's reassuring to know that other people suffer from this. I hate it, I even sweat from anxiety when its freezing outside.

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      Sick of excessive sweating 7 years ago

      I'm still a teenager And have suffered from excessive sweating

      for 4 years and I know it's anxiety linked

      because about an hour before I go anywhere

      I start sweating really badly!!how can I get rid

      of this problem????

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      Confused 7 years ago

      I'm only a teen girl who suffers with this problem, I'm a very outgoing girl but now I won't even talk to anyone without breaking a sweat. What do I do? Help :(

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      Mitch 7 years ago

      I have suffered from anxious sweating since about 20 years old. I think I had anxiety issues prior to that, but I think once a person who is naturally a bit anxious starts to notice an issue with anxiety, it's a quick, logical step for them to begin having anxiety over the sweating itself...This then leads to the cycle Mr. Boon mentions.

      I know for myself that not a day goes by that I do not think about sweating. Whether it is what I am going to wear, what situations I will be in, who I will be talking to, whatever...I always take into account the risk of sweating profusely and embarrassingly.

      I have not found a solution to the problem, and I don't think that I will. I have used breathing techniques which are definitely helpful.

      Also, I highly recommend wearing a white shirt and an undershirt (At the least, this makes the sweating not obvious to others which, going into a long day, will certainly make a person with anxiety more comfortable).

      Thanks for the post.

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      yo 8 years ago

      anxiety is ruining my life

    • bryanmccarty profile image

      bryanmccarty 8 years ago

      without a doubt I have found that these two things go hand in hand. they both sort of trigger each other so it can be a funny relationship. thank you for the hub!

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      spazzbecker 8 years ago

      Curing Excessive Sweating

      I totally agree with your statement ..

      I worry about sweating in public places that triggers anxiety

      then I sweat then the cycle begins.. God I wish it didn't happen.. just comes on for no reason and if I know there's going to be lots of people then I worry about the sweating before I'm there..

      If I wear a baseball cap I feel more comfortable but cant wear them to a business meeting!

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      Curing Excessive Sweating 8 years ago

      Personally, I did have that problem, and to me it is obvious that anxiety is what caused the sweating.

      However, once this has happened to you several times, you might actually worry about starting to sweat, and this can trigger anxiety too. But in the first place, it's anxiety that's starting it if you ask me.

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      Debra Kay 8 years ago

      I haven't considered the connection between anxiety and sweating. All I know is that it seems like I'm always the only one sweating in a group of people. It makes me feel like a social outcast.

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      mechdawrek 9 years ago from Maryland

      Excellent Hub, Mr. Boon, as usual. It's so true that anxiety and excessive sweating go hand-in-hand. Keep up the good work, brotha'.

    • howardboon profile image

      howardboon 9 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Paul. I definitely recommend giving anxiety management techniques a try.


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      paulmichael 9 years ago

      This is interesting. I am a sufferer of excessive sweating and i was thinking about take a meditation class to help me relax a bit. i'll have a look at this.

    • howardboon profile image

      howardboon 9 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Tambalai. Stressful life in Thailand? You must be joking :)

    • Tambalai profile image

      Tambalai 9 years ago from Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

      Hey Howard I live in Thailand and sweat all the time and I live a stressful life, but joking apart great hub and some very useful resources