Anxiety Chest Pain, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Chest pain from anxiety is a concern due to the potential link to heart attacks and other heart diseases and is frequently the outcome of a panic attack or heightened reactivity. Keep reading to learn more about this condition.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: April 21, 2023

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Anxiety Chest Pain

Anxiety and depression difference: The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other represents a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate several different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since the anxiety does not go away for someone with an anxiety condition and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Only a handful of the many different types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and many phobia-related disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: A generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive anxiety or worry over a wide range of issues, including one’s own health, one’s job, one’s relationships with others, and one’s regular day-to-day conditions. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function daily, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia): is a depressed mood lasting at least two years. A person with chronic depressive disorder may experience significant Depressive Disorder episodes as well as times when their symptoms are less severe. Still, symptoms must last two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). Postpartum depression may make it challenging for new moms to fulfill daily care tasks for themselves and/or their kids due to the tremendous grief, worry, and weariness that accompany the condition.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. In most cases, this Depression gets better in the spring and summer. Seasonal affective disorder regularly recurs every year in the form of winter depression, which is generally accompanied by social seclusion, increased sleep, and weight gain.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD, as most people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interferes with daily activities. Anxiety disorders include, for example, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness, and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating.

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling.

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aims to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are related to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

Nineteen million adults experience specific phobias, making it America’s most common anxiety disorder.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

About 17.3 million American people, or 7.1% of the country’s population 18 and older, suffer from major depressive disorder.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Anxiety Pain Chest & anxiety chest pain when lying down: Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain? Chest Pain Anxiety

It’s perfectly natural for most people to have occasional worry, dread, or nervousness. These are common responses to unusual events in daily life.

Some people regularly suffer anxiousness. Symptoms can progress from worry or concern to other physical reactions. Sometimes, these symptoms are misdiagnosed as being caused by other illnesses.

As an illustration, anxiety can occasionally manifest as chest pain. Chest pain from anxiety is a concern due to the potential link to heart attacks and other heart diseases and is frequently the outcome of a panic attack or heightened reactivity.

Understanding your chest discomfort might help you find symptom relief and recognize when you require more medical attention if you suffer from regular worry.’

Anxiety And Chest Pain

What Does Anxiety Chest Pain Feel Like? Anxiety Chest Pains

What does chest pain from anxiety feel like? Rarely do different people experience the same anxiety symptoms. Even the same person’s symptoms can vary on some days. It can be challenging to identify or comprehend the symptoms of anxiety because it manifests itself in so many different ways.

Each person experiences anxiety-related chest pain differently. Some folks may gradually start to feel chest pain. Others may experience abrupt, unanticipated discomfort. Chest pain brought on by anxiety includes:

  • Sharp, shooting pain.
  • Persistent chest aching.
  • An unusual muscle twitch or spasm in your chest.
  • Burning, numbness, or a dull ache.
  • Stabbing pressure.
  • Chest tension or tightness.

You could be concerned if you don’t have a history of chest pain accompanied by anxiousness. Many people believe they are experiencing a heart attack and seek care in the emergency room of the hospital.

According to 2018 research, between 25 and 50 percent of individuals who present to the emergency room with low-risk chest pain (chest discomfort unrelated to a heart attack) feel moderate to severe anxiety.

If you go to the emergency room of a hospital and the medical staff cannot pinpoint the origin of your chest discomfort, think about talking to your doctor about other potential causes, such as anxiousness.

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Anxiety Chest Pain Vs Heart Attack

If you experience chest pain, it’s usually recommended to get emergency medical help. Chest discomfort is a worrying indication. Even if your anxiousness is the cause of your chest pain, it’s better to know than to run the risk of losing important time if you are experiencing a heart attack.

When experiencing a heart attack, people can describe their chest pain in a variety of ways. Several instances include:

  • Chest pain that radiates to other parts of your body, such as down your arms or up to your jaw.
  • Chest pain that worsens with exertion.
  • Nausea along with chest pain.
  • Pressure in the chest, as if someone has put something heavy on your chest.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Squeezing sensation in the chest.

According to studies from 2020, 30% of individuals who are having a heart attack don’t experience chest pain. Back pain and exhaustion are two symptoms that some people list as heart attack symptoms.

Even though doctors are aware that anxiety and chest discomfort are related, you should still go to the doctor if you have any symptoms.

If you are experiencing chest pain, dial your local emergency services. Don’t try to get to the hospital by yourself. Emergency personnel can assess you and decide whether you are experiencing a cardiac episode or whether your chest pain is being caused by anything else.

Does Anxiety Cause Chest Pain? Anxiety Causing Chest Pain

Chest pain in anxiety: When stressed, your body can and frequently experience physical symptoms like sweating or shortness of breath. Your brain and body trigger an immediate stress response when you experience anxiety. This also entails a modification of the body. Your body may get rigid or tighten up.

Can anxiety cause chest pains: A psychological or emotional reaction can also be part of the stress response. You might react irrationally or violently more frequently. The fight-or-flight response is the name given to these reactions. Your body gets ready to fight back or flee when you feel pressured or frightened.

If this fight-or-flight stress response occurs seldom, your body should recover entirely in 30 minutes. However, if it happens frequently, your body can’t bounce back as rapidly. Increased muscle tension may result from this, and your chest may experience pain as a result.

Similarly, under even more stress, your heart rate may rise, and your heartbeats may become more powerful. You may experience unique pain as a result of it and tight chest muscles.

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Anxiety Chest Pain All Day: When to contact a doctor?

Anxiety chest pain not going away: You might need to speak with a therapist if your anxiety and chest pain is severe or ongoing. They can offer coping mechanisms and help you talk through anxious situations.

If you frequently feel worried, these tactics might take some work. A medical expert can be helpful here.

You can learn coping mechanisms from a therapist or medical professional that give you a sense of security and control. Your symptoms, particularly the chest pain, will go away as you start to feel more at ease.

If counseling methods or mental exercises don’t work, you might want to think about getting a prescription. Anti-anxiety drugs involve risks and adverse effects. However, taking them as a band-aid while you figure out how to manage your symptoms can be beneficial.

You shouldn’t disregard chest pain. Consult a doctor if you are experiencing it to rule out a cardiac issue. If it is determined that your chest pain is caused by anxiety, you can work with a therapist or doctor to develop coping mechanisms or choose the best course of treatment for you.

Anxiety cause chest pain: You might be able to learn coping mechanisms from a therapist or medical professional that give you a sense of security and control. Your symptoms, particularly the chest pain, will go away as you start to feel more at ease.
Anxiety cause chest pain & anxiety chest pain location: You might be able to learn coping mechanisms from a therapist or medical professional that give you a sense of security and control. Your symptoms, particularly the chest pain, will go away as you start to feel more at ease.

How To Relieve Anxiety Chest Pain? Chest Pains Anxiety

Chest pains from anxiety: People suffering from panic attacks and anxiety can significantly benefit from professional therapy. These conditions can lower a person’s quality of life if they are not treated. But in many cases, medicines and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) successfully treat panic disorders.

Anxiety and chest pains: CBT enables people to rearrange their thinking, recognize their anxiety triggers, and stay away from them. Without the use of medication, this kind of therapy can assist people in reducing and managing the symptoms of panic disorder.

Additionally, there are actions one can take at home to control and lessen anxiety symptoms, such as chest pain. To cope with a panic attack, use the following methods:

  • Find safe shelter: If at all possible, one should locate a safe and cozy location and think about pulling over if they are driving.
  • Take deep breaths: Consistent, deep breathing helps lessen and stop the worsening of anxiety symptoms.
  • Remember it is temporary: Keep in mind that chest pain shouldn’t endure more than a few minutes when you are experiencing it.
  • Try to stay positive: During a panic attack, concentrating on tranquil or uplifting pictures may assist patients lessen the severity of their symptoms.
  • Count: Focus can be improved by counting backwards from 20 or to 10 when having a panic episode.
  • Rate the attack: Some people discover that rating their overall mental state during a panic attack on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense and 1 being a hardly perceptible experience, can help them cope with their worry.

A person can also alter their way of living to lower their likelihood of developing symptoms:

  • Exercising regularly.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
  • Avoiding foods high in refined sugar.

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Anxiety Attack Chest Pain: Home remedies

You can attempt some easy tactics if you’re feeling worried. These methods might not always be effective, but they’re a wonderful place to start if you need assistance controlling your anxiety.

Chest Pain With Anxiety: Practice deep breathing

Deep, focused breathing helps relax your body and mind. Find a calm place and take a 10-count breath. Hold for a second, then exhale slowly for 10 counts. As your heart rate begins to decrease, say this aloud many times.

Musculoskeletal Chest Pain Anxiety: Take stock of the situation

Accept your anxiety, acknowledge it, and then concentrate on putting it in perspective.

Do you worry about things you have no control over? Do you worry about unlikely events happening? Do you fear a circumstance whose outcome you cannot influence? Find the root of your emotions through conversation, and then strive to put them into perspective.

Chest Pain And Anxiety: Picture a beautiful scene

When you’re feeling anxious, try picturing a location that quickly makes you feel at ease. This can be especially beneficial if you’re experiencing anxiety in a setting you can’t control, like a challenging meeting. While picturing this place, practice deep breathing.

Chest Pain Caused By Anxiety: Use a relaxation app

You can follow workouts and approaches for stress reduction with the help of smartphone apps for anxiety. Additionally, some apps might help you meditate when you’re feeling worried. You can test out several of these applications for free to locate the one that works best for you.

Waking Up With Chest Pain Anxiety: Be proactive about your physical health

Do you properly care for your body? Are you getting adequate rest? Having a healthy diet? You can take good care of your body and mind at the same time. While this won’t help alleviate your anxiety-related chest pain, it might lower your risk of experiencing anxiety in the future and subsequent chest discomfort.

Anxiety Chest Pain FAQs

  1. Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain Everyday? Can Anxiety Cause Pain In Chest?

    Anxiety chest pain for days, sharp chest pain anxiety, & anxiety pain in chest: Chest discomfort symptoms may develop as a result of ongoing worry or behavioral changes mixed with frequent anxiety attacks. An estimated 20% to 70% of panic attacks include chest discomfort. Panic disorder affects 18% to 25% of people with chest discomfort who are treated in emergency care units.

  2. How Long Does Anxiety Chest Pain Last? Do anxiety cause chest pain?

    How long does chest pain from anxiety last? Even though it can be unnerving, anxious chest pain is only temporary. Although other anxiety or panic attack symptoms (such as nausea, shortness of breath, or dizziness) may continue longer, the pain typically lasts roughly 10 minutes.

  3. Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain On Left Side? How to stop anxiety chest pain?

    Anxiety gas chest pain location & anxiety chest pain left side: On the left side of the chest, anxiety may result in pain. A person should seek emergency medical assistance because it may be a sign of a heart attack or pericarditis.

  4. Can anxiety cause chest pain and shortness of breath? Can stress and anxiety cause chest pain?

    Your body experiences an adrenaline and cortisol rush when you’re anxious. Your heart rate and blood pressure rapidly increase as soon as these hormones are released. Many people consequently experience chest pain, perspiration, or difficulty breathing.

  5. Why does anxiety cause chest pain?

    If you are wondering, “if anxiety causes chest pain?” or “is there a connection between chest pains and anxiety?”, the answer is when you’re anxious, your body gets an adrenaline and cortisol spike. When these hormones are released, your heart rate and blood pressure quickly rise. As a result, many people have breathing problems, sweating, or chest pain.

  6. What is the difference between chest pain heart attack vs anxiety? 

    There is a difference between the chest pain experienced during panic and heart attacks. Pain from a heart attack can spread to the arm, jaw, or neck. Pain that is a panic attack usually remains in the chest.

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Different institutions may have different definitions of dual diagnosis, which is sometimes known as co-occurring disorders. But generally speaking, it refers to the special care given to someone who is being treated for both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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Powerful Coping Skills for Anxiety. Top Mental Health Tips & Anxiety Tips Advice from a Therapist Video.
4 Mental Health Tips & Advice From A Therapist To Remove Your Everyday Anxiety

“Anxiety, when gone untreated, can increase over time.

So here are four tips to calm your everyday anxiety.

Take a breath.

Do something that you enjoy.

Remove yourself from the situation and go for a walk.

Doing these four things gives you a better chance of calming your everyday anxiety.”

Search We Level Up FL Anxiety and Depression Resources