Can Anxiety Disorders Cause Memory Loss?

Do you ever walk into a room and forget why you went in there in the first place? This happens countless times to most of us. But if you have chronic bouts of forgetfulness it could be your anxiety causing the mental miscues. This is because stress, anxiety, and even depression, can cause memory loss and mental haze.

Too much stress over long periods of time can hinder brain function in a major way. One of the reasons for this is because when you become stressed your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol . This hormone, which is also known for causing excess belly fat and therefore increased risk of heart disease, affects your ability to remember things and think straight.

When we become stressed or anxious, our bodies also release adrenaline into the bloodstream, which in turn causes the body to release cortisol. The two compounds are an essential part of your fight or flight response but are very different. One of the major differences is that cortisol remains in your body much longer than adrenaline does. This gives the cortisol the time it needs to adversely affect your brain cells (watch how stress triggers adrenaline and cortisol ).

While in the brain cortisol disrupts the normal function of neurotransmitters, which are the brains “communication towers.” Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by brain cells to carry information and if they are disrupted by cortisol your brain has a difficult time sorting things out.

In addition to memory loss, this is also why you experience the anxiety gaze (staring blankly) and brain fog from time to time. Your brain’s ability to transmit information, like memories, is temporarily affected by the stress hormones you release when you are feeling high anxiety or prolonged stress. The brain is simply bogged down by all the anxiety juice released into the bloodstream.

Here it is again, anxiety unmasked for what it really is. Anxiety is really high levels of stress over a long period of time, which is sustained by ‘bad’ thoughts. I was tempted in the past to put a magical circle of light around my anxiety disorder for its ability to do nasty and seemingly mysterious things to me. But now I see it for what it is and in a lot of ways it makes it a lot less imposing to view it as just a physiological response to stress and not some ‘crazy’ disorder.

The moral of the story is that you must lower your stress level. In the long run stress will not just eat at your memory but also at your physical health. Stress can cause you to become so anxious that you start to imagine sickness and before long you have accomplished this goal via a psychosomatic effect . In other words, you stress so much and it makes you feel so bad that you assume and start to believe that you are sick and eventually this will be the case.

Don’t chalk up all your bad sensations to anxiety. Realize that while your feeling anxious you are also under a great deal of stress. Try to tone down your stress levels by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. The exercise will help to burn off that “excess” adrenaline and hopefully prevent the release of excessive amounts of cortisol. Relax as much as you can, it’s for your own good.

For more information on how stress affects the brain click here .

Recommended reading:The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook

Comments

  1. George says

    I have recently been receiving anxiety/panic attacks and along with this bad memory loss I have this pressure feeling inside my head (primarily left side of my brain and a bit on my temples), what is causing this? I’ve had it for a week now.

  2. Paul says

    Hi George, While I don’t know what maybe the matter with you specifically, I can tell you that anxiety can do what you describe and much more.

    First things first, if you haven’t already and you are concerned go see a medical doctor.

    After your checked out and reassured that it’s “only anxiety” you can go from there.

    Anxiety, stress, and fear sustained over a long time can cause headaches, head pain and all kinds of strange sensations.

    If it turns out that it is anxiety, then you have to start the long journey of unmasking your anxiety and learn different coping skills to help yourself along.

  3. Nik says

    See I’ve had anxiety for years and panic attacks for years too but for the last year I haven’t been able to remember alot of things and people think that I’m just making up excuses when I’m not. I’m about to start public school again and I don’t want to get yelled at by teachers for not remembering things for something that is really wrong with me!

  4. says

    Hey Nik, don’t feel bad. It is real. Don’t let others make you feel bad for something that just happens to people in your circumstance.

  5. Donna says

    I was previously diagnosed with depression/anxiety, went on medication, then was diagnosed with bipolar, then it was changed again to depression/anxiety/ocd, then different medication, etc. etc. It’s been a long few years.

    I finally was able to get off all medication earlier this year (with dr’s input).

    I have sooo many stressful life events going on right now, I feel like I’m starting to have a hard time with everything again.

    My memory is awful, I’ve got that awful “brain fog”, and feel tired a lot of the time.

    Any tips on how to recover memory or make it start working again? I really don’t want to go back on meds as I’m finally starting to lose some of the weight I put on while on them.

    Thanks for listening.

  6. says

    Hi Donna, I’m sorry to hear about your long time struggle with anxiety disorder(s).

    I’m not sure what you could do exactly to improve your memory but you can visit http://www.memorise.org/ to try some memory exercises.

    You might also just Google “how to improve memory” and several sites with various tips will pop up. I think the best thing is to play games that require memory, remember the brain is an organ so you get whip that thing into shape.

    Good luck.

  7. Kerry says

    Hey there … i have a hard time with words but i have been taking a program called Holosync, it makes you get better in all ways i have been mkaing myself get better, but recently i jsut can’t handle the amount of shit.Anyway, Got so bad i couldnt sleep, afraid of sleeping, went away but came back so it gave me insomnia plus couldnt relax at all even with my usual meditating. Which then eventually lead to depression. I never was depressed before, do you have any tips to relax and feel like mmyself again? I don’t want to be stressed nomore i want to enjoy my youth i am 20. Any response would be appreciated deeply, thank you

  8. says

    Hi Kerry, Tips for anxiety and depression. Well that is a huge subject so I encourage you to check out old post and podcast on this site to get some detail.

    But in general you want to make sure that you’re physically active, eat well, and don’t spend too much time alone. You need to make connections with friends and family to keep youself focused on something other than your thoughts.

    In addition sometimes you just have to accept what your going through and understand that it will not harm you. Much of what we all go through is all tied to fear. So, see it for what it is and don’t add unnecessarily to your depression/anxiety by feeling sorry for yourself or not making efforts to adjust.

    Lastly, educate yourself as much as possible about depression/anxiety and by doing so you will naturally come upon things that work for you best. And above all believe that you can get better and you will.

  9. Anna says

    I have a question. I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for over 10 years now, I’ve been feeling good off and on because of medication. Just recently I’ve experienced something really terrifying. What happenns is suddenly everything becomes like a haze and I can’t see straight and than it’s like I blackout because I can’t remember anything, when I “wake up” I have a bad anxiety attack and I feel afraid long after, I can’t shake the feeling. Am I going crazy? or is it because of cortisol being released like you wrote here? should I see a doctor? I am terrified that it will happenn again, it already happened twice. Greatful for answer.
    /Anna

  10. says

    Hi Ana, I’ve always thought that if you feel like you need to see a doctor you should – A. because you might actually need it or B. Because even if you’re fine you sound like you need some reassurance. The other thing I can tell you is that you’re not going to go crazy, but again, get checked out for peace of mind. I’m sure you know that anxiety can do endlessly annoying things but don’t ever fear for your life or sanity because of anxiety.

  11. says

    Hey Paul. I had some questions if you have the time. I’ve had anxiety all my life on and off. What happened about four months ago is my Dad got a very rare desease called CJD(1 in a million people) and died about two weeks after the diagnosis. Then about a month later I started to get dizzy and lightheaded along with forgeting things here and there and could not concentrate at times. I didnt associate it with anxiety at the time just though something might be wrong (something simple). Then I was starting to get dizzy/lightheaded all the time with this concentration/memory problem, along with numbness that came and went in the face. I started to worrie that I could have got this very rare disease my dad got because these were many of the same symptoms(memory loss and numbness). At that point I began to obsess and start searching the internet for answers and saw my doctor. I have had may blood tests, CAT scan, MRI, and others. Everything came back normal. Now Im having my right arm going weak, legs are shaky, tired, and cant concentrate, and things that happend earlier in the day seem like a week ago(along with constant dizziness). My question is, Even when I feel relaxed, will I remain dizzy, and concentration problems stay? I’ve stated Lexapro a few days ago and wake up feeling more dizzy and more “out of it” than ever. Is this normal with anxiety?

  12. says

    Hi Paul,

    Well for starters, let me first express my sincere condolences. And just so you know, anxiety can absolutely do all the things that you mentioned. Dizziness, memory loss, muscle weakness, vertigo and so on, is all very normal while your in an anxious state. Also, when you experience any significant life event, such as losing a loved one, anxiety/depression can certainly come into the picture very fast, but this isn’t uncommon.

    I’m glad to hear that you went to see a doctor to rule any life threatening illness. But I’m not surprised that you haven’t accepted the findings. It’s natural to fear the disease that takes the life of a family member given all we know about family history and how it effects our own health. In fact, my dad died of a heart attack when I was 22 and for years afterward I was convinced I had heart disease too. So, my point is, don’t feel like your sick, strange or crazy off hand. Sounds like your dealing with a lot and anxiety has only added to the confusion.

    In terms of the meds, this can also cause some issues up front. You should talk to your doctor if the dizziness and lightheadedness continue, but in general it’s probably your anxiety at work. It’s hard, but you have to accept that anxiety, and all of it’s symptoms, aren’t deadly at all. Generally speaking, things like dizziness and being lightheaded aren’t dangerous if they are not also accompanied by breathing, vision, or pain issues.

    Constant dizziness can be a problem however, so if it persist for more than a few days see a doctor or if it goes on more than a few hours continuously also see a doctor. Just remember, keep calm. This is so important. Deal with what is happening, and never with what you think might happen. In regard to medical questions, like I’ve hammered home, see a doctor, if need be get a 2nd opinion, but after that accept the information given. If it’s empirical, based on tests, then don’t add your best guess to the situation.

    And finally, remember, anxiety does not kill. Follow up with the doc if need be, practice relaxation and breathing techniques, and be optimistic. Time usually heals the type of wounds your dealing with right now. Hope that helps.

  13. says

    Thank you very much for helping me with some good answers. I’m really greatfull to have someone listen. I think I may go back and see My doctor again if the dizziness continues. I’ve been dizzy for over a month now and the medication only makes it worse I think. Also one more thing, I was wondering just how long cortisol will stay with you and fog things up. Thats all. Thanks again

  14. Heather H says

    Does stress sneak up on you? I think it does to me.

    I’ve been having memory issues lately… I’ll explain. Husband kisses me, we sit down to dinner, and then I asked him if he’s going to kiss me(he just did). I put a cigarette in my mouth while my husbands talking to me, i should be going to light it, but instead I grab another to put in my mouth… what the heck?!

    If there is something for me to be stressed about, I can handle it, but when my heart starts racing when I’m watching tv… that I can’t handle. I was in the ER 2 nights ago for that reason. Checked out find. Tested me for blood clots and did an ekg, all good.

    Are the odds good that my memory loss is caused by underlying general stress? I need to followup with my doctor (and probably get a head scan), but I’m really freaking myself out as my mother in law just died a year ago this month of glioblastoma. To top it off, I have serious white coat syndrome. I used to hold my breathe and pass out at the sight of blood until I was 15ish. I am 25 now.

    I am always needing to be in control of every little thought and feel everything in my body and if my head hurts a little or I think I can’t see straight for about a second I get anxious. Is anyone else like this?

    Sorry for the long note… but I am relieve to read this article. Thank you so much!

  15. connie V. says

    Hey Heather, I am 56 years old and I HAD anxiety issues years ago. I am a ‘worrier’ but have not had anymore anxiety until now. About a year ago, I started out with memory issues, concentration problems at times, hazy, foggy almost drunk feeling episodes and THEN anxiety came back. I had been drinking a little too much wine every night, but now have none to see how that related to memory issues. The ‘thinking’ problems are progressing.. I am convinced I have Alzheimer’s. I am so afraid of this and sad and worried and I keep asking the doctors to do more and more tests.. I am seeing a memory specialist next week for tests to see if I have dementia. I don’t know now she will figure ot the difference between anxiety causing blank-outs… and Alzeheimers or Dementia..?.. I had a head injury when I was 16 and then two concussions after that. I healed well at the time from those.. Anyway, if it doesn’t sound too crazy I just want to say, I am HOPING I have anxiety problems and not what I fear MOST; Alzheimer’s……

  16. Lauren says

    Hi Paul, Lately i haven’t been feeling like myself. I’m constantly worrying about almost everything, but mostly about my relationship with people. I’ve started dating a guy quite older than me. He’s extremely intelligent, good looking, and charming; it’s hard to find anything wrong with him. I’ve noticed that since i’ve been dating him (a little over a year) i’ve developed brain fog, my memory has been horible, irritability, huge mood swings, anxiety, and a significant loss of confidence. I’ve become constantly obsessed with what others think of me, when im around others, while their talking to me, and for a significant time after. It becomes hard for me to concentrate, espically when i began to talk to someone. I’ll loss my focus, jumble up my words, and end of looking stupid. I don’t know if this is related to my boyfriend or mabye a hormone imbalance. I’m usually not like this and it’s effecting my life. My grandmother passed away from breast cancer years back, and my mother recently told me she had high levels of estrogen, i also think this might be the case with my mom and possibly me. Could this be the culprit or my relationship?

  17. says

    Hi Lauren,

    Although it’s hard to say for sure what the problem is exactly, anxiety is certain to be at the center of it all for you.

    Based on your description your boyfriend sounds like a great guy, so I doubt he is the cause of this type of high anxiety.

    Brain fog, forgetfulness, and being self-conscious are all signs of “nerves” without a doubt.

    The only way to check out the possible hormone cause you mentioned would be to see your doctor, of course. Outside of that, it could be a significant life change, brain chemistry, and the list goes way on.

    The important thing to remember though is that fear and anxiety are harmless. And issues of self-confidence can be handled, if you really want to handle them that is.

    Try not to get too caught up in what other people think of you. Most times they aren’t focused on you as much as you think they are anyway.

    You’ll be fine. Rule out the medical causes, don’t worry about criticism (it’s overrated), and be as cool as you can be. This will blow over.

  18. allie says

    I have a best friend who went through a stressful life change last summer. I don’t see her often as we live in different towns but iI talk to her often. Her personality has changed and she has become obsessive over details in her life. It began exactly during that period. If I talk about my life, she doesn’t tune in too well and begins going into details about things in her life that have happened as if I didn’t know. She doesn’t ask about anything and just goes on and on about her own life. This is NOT in character. She is obssessive about the details in her stories. Her husband and children are very concerned also.It is hard to pinpoint what is wrong but it is as though her depth has changed…My mother went through a similar experience years ago and they said it was dementia…it was, but it began when several very stressful,worrisome experiences occurred. Could this be mini strokes, depression, or high blood pressure? I don’t think my friend is aware of this happening to her. Shouldn’t we mention it? Her husband thinks she will become more worried and obssess about it. I think it will be good to relieve the stress. I haven’t described the condition very well but there is definately a big change and I can notice by conversations on the phone. She is obssessive about details in her life…

  19. Johnny says

    Hey paul.. I’m 16 years old and i just started feeling strange about 4 or 5 days ago. I’ve always been a normal guy but there is this thing in my life i just cant stop thinking about in the back of my mind. Ive been forgetting things a lot lately and also have a strange headache like pressure in my head. Sometimes people could be joking around and say something dumb and i would really worry about it when i know i shouldnt. I tend to overthink some things like stuff such as texting my gf. Im really worried sometimes in the day that something very bad is gonna happen. Sometimes i feel nervous, really scared or anxious about stupid crap. I want my old self back, and i cant seem to get back. I also have trouble listening to teachers and when people are talking to me. This has happened for about 4-5 days, and I wanna end it NOW. I tried taking an antidepressant which seemed like it helped at first, but then ended up making me super mad like my heart was raging and heavy with pointless anger. What should i do to get past this? This has been a tortureous scary time in my life I wanna move on.

  20. john V. says

    Paul…. I’m 16 years old and i just started feeling strange about 4 or 5 days ago. I’ve always been a normal guy but there is this thing in my life i just cant stop thinking about in the back of my mind. Ive been forgetting things a lot lately and also have a strange headache like pressure in my head. Sometimes people could be joking around and say something dumb and i would really worry about it when i know i shouldnt. I tend to overthink some things like stuff such as texting my gf. Im really worried sometimes in the day that something very bad is gonna happen. Sometimes i feel nervous, really scared or anxious about stupid crap. I want my old self back, and i cant seem to get back. I also have trouble listening to teachers and when people are talking to me. This has happened for about 4-5 days, and I wanna end it NOW. I tried taking an antidepressant which seemed like it helped at first, but then ended up making me super mad like my heart was raging and heavy with pointless anger. What should i do to get past this? This has been a tortureous scary time in my life I wanna move on.

  21. says

    Hey John,

    I’m really sorry to hear about your struggles. I’d say that keeping an open line of communication with your parents is very important. Make sure they know what’s going on in detail. And if the meds stopped working you can also consider therapy. Sometimes talking it out can help a lot. Also, try doing things within your control to calm your nerves, like exercising. Just remember that anxiety can mess with your memory, and make it hard to focus. Don’t give up hope though. It took me a long time to get better, sounds like you’re already ahead of the game. With some effort, and a little time, you will bounce back.

  22. Heather H says

    Hi Everyone!

    I left a message here in May. Little did I know, when I wrote that, that things would only get worse. Memory loss and foggyness… and noticing it, made me even more anxious. I began to worry about every little thing going on with my body. Floaties, vision, tingles, itches, sensations and severe depersonalization (feeling like you’re in a movie). I thought I was going crazy!!! I am here to let you all know that there is an end to anxiety! The end is you, you have to want it and you have to try! My doctor put me on 100 mg Zoloft and I’ve been seeing a therapist every other week now. The zoloft has made a world of difference and I have no side effects from it. The therapist has helped me retrain my brain and it has worked!!! Lately, I wake up in the morning with a buzzed feeling in my body, it causes anxiety, and I start to worry that I will go back the way I am, or that the zoloft is not working anymore. I just have to remember that these kinds of thoughts, as small as they seem are the thing that will take me back down that awful road. I suffer from health anxiety. I convinced myself that I had a brain tumor and 1 twitch in my cheek was a symptom, soon enough, the twitch became persistent, not because I had a tumor, but because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s amazing what stress and anxiety can manifest itself into. As sick as you feel you just have to repeat, I am healthy, there is nothing wrong with me, I am not a doctor! :) If anyone needs to chat, feel free to e-mail me! There is hope!

  23. john V. says

    Thanks so much Paul. Even just hearing your encouragement about bouncing back makes me feel better! Its still happening but i think i might be coming out of this. Is it possible to come out of this a bit slow? or will it happen at once?

  24. john V. says

    If I know what is causing my anxiety, and I do btw, its something in my life i wont change, well if i continue to not change it, then will the anxiety ever go away? Becuase i dont wanna change it, even though i know i should. i just want the anxiety about this THING to leave

  25. says

    @ Heather – Very, very pleased to hear about your progress Heather. That is great news. You’re living proof that things do get better.

    @ John – We all tend to fall into anxiety fast but climb out the hole we’re in slowly. But honestly, with focused effort there is no reason why you can’t expect to see improvements in weeks, or even days. It depends mostly on your mindset and your ability to learn what is necessary to recover. But that’s the thing, you can recover. I used to be an anxious mess, but I never quit. I never stopped going to work, school, or hanging with friends. I moved forward and learned what I needed to to get better. You’ll be alright John, you just gotta want to get better and not focus on the negative. If you haven’t read the article I wrote called 7 Habits of Anxiety Free People, you should. That is a list to live by.

  26. Kristin says

    Thank you for this website and for this informative article. This is my first visit here. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for about five years now but have just started to experience short term memory issues in the past few months. I “lose” all of my personal objects (phone, wallet, rings, etc.) multiple times daily. It seems as if I put things places with no recollection whatsoever. I’ve been in a near constant state of sort of foggy forgetfulness for a while. I have terrific cognitive memory skills, never forget conversations or past memories, but it seems that on a day-to-day basis this “zoning out” as my boyfriend calls it is becoming increasingly frequent. I’ll sometimes flat out refute saying or doing something that someone watched me do or say moments earlier simply because I have no memory of it whatsoever.

    I can identify with the blank gaze. I realize now I’ve been doing it since I was a child. Friends and family always asked me about it but I just laughed it off and said “sorry, I was just out of it for a moment.”

    Thanks again for letting me know I’m not alone I guess..

  27. says

    Hey Kristin, You’re not alone. It’s just that people don’t like talking about their issues too much. It’s understandable, but there are literally millions of people with this problem. Glad that you found Anxiety Guru. Hopefully it can help you out a little.

  28. says

    What a GREAT article on anxiety and memory! I am so glad to see this issue being addressed. I have devoted my life to memory (I am the current USA Memory Champion and I hold the record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the USA my name is Ron White http://www.brainathlete.com ). When I am training for a tournament I do everything I can to stay calm…I get massages, meditate, breathe and avoid alcohol (for a month before the tournament)

    I also exercise and have found that the better in shape my body is the better I handle stress. Plus good work outs tire the body out and it is too tired to be stressed or anxious :)

    Finally, I resolve conflicts. I have learned if I am training for a memory tournament and upset with a family member it creates anxiety and hurts my ability to focus which KILLS memory. So I resolve conflict not always for the relationship…often times for my MEMORY!

    I am really glad to see this issue addressed.

  29. Jean McDowell says

    Several days ago, I had a very stressful confrontation with a pit bull in my daughter’s front yard. Thank God I had shovel and was able to hit the dog in the head twice and run him off. Needless to say, I was rattled the rest of the day. The next morning, I was in that “twilight sleep” state where you aren’t awake but you’re really not awake and I was seeing that dog all over again. As the dog was attacking me again, I heard a noise in the house and suddenly, my daughter’s dog licked in on the face. I came straight up off the couch in a full-blown panic attack…..I don’t remember anything from that point on. I’m guessing it was probably about 8:00 a.m. The next thing I remember, it’s 1:30 p.m., I’m at home in my bed and my housemate is banging on my bedroom door, telling me that I need to move my car because I parked behind her. I had just driven THIRTY MILES and packed up all my stuff from my daughter’s house with no recollection. This was three days ago and I am still freaked out about it. This has never happened to me before and I hope it never happens again. Does anyone have any thoughts about this and why/how it happened? I need any help/suggestions I can get. Thanks.

  30. Jessicaa says

    I was diagnosed with anxiety, panic, and depression about two years ago. Now a lot lately i have been forgetting things, feeling in a daze, and it is bad. I can’t even remember what day it is sometimes, or people’s names. I also lose such track of time! Is there anything i can do to make this go away, are thier medications?

  31. says

    Hi Jessicaa,

    There are medications for anxiety, but of course you want to speak with your doctor about what options you have in that regard. In the meanwhile, I know it’s hard, but try the best you can to accept the fact that anxiety symptoms are harmless, even if they make you feel fear.

  32. Paul dillett says

    How long have all of you had these symptoms of anxiety and forgetfulness ? I myself have had all of these symptoms and myself. And I always thought it was all caused by anxiety. Geese I was wrong.

  33. Doug says

    Hi,
    I have suffered from anxiety off and on for 15 years. I have health anxiety as well. My ears have felt pressure as well as my sinuses bothering me. My allergist thought I had a sinus infection. After a bout of Avelox I really don’t feel better. I am dizzy a lot, feel “out of it” get a little nausea and have this feeling of pressure across my face. I think i hear a ringing too and a crackling/popping sound when swallowing. ENT told me that I have swollen eustachian tubes. I’m a bit embarrassed because I am now worried that I have a brain tumor. Can anxiety cause a feeling of pressure across my face? I am really worried but my doctor said that I would have different symptoms with tumor. I;m a mess :(

  34. John H. says

    I have finally think I my have narrowed down my problem with my spacey head and lack of interest in daily activities. My condition started about 2 1/2 years ago after I had been drinking on an almost daily basis in the evening after work, but casual, 2 drinks and thats it. I got up one morning and stumbled to the door and down the hall way, thinking well I might just have had to much to drink and lack of sleep. It persisted for several days and into the weekend, now I though, this isnt right. Tried the ear specialist route cause I have problems with left ear staying clear, and a deviated septum as diagnosed. Did steroids to open me up and made my spacey head feel worse, so I stopped taking. I do have a popping on my left side jaw socket, could be TMJ
    due to teeth grinding that I was doing when this all started because of work stress largely caused by manager. Head aches on left side rear base of skull, which will radiate to frontal area above left eye brow, but never on right side of head. Neck pain tightness, especially turning side to side,
    like tension. Concentration, focus, short term memory are key problems
    in combination with foggy head and lack of motivation. It troubles me,
    in as much as I only work a part time seasonal job at the moment, and I dont know if I can tackle any involved type job, that requires alot of detail and problem solving which I was quite good at before. Thanks for letting me vent, any thoughts please relay.

  35. Faye says

    Hi

    Here’s some backgroud – I’ve had anxiety my whole life but it went undiagnosed until I was close to my mid-twenties. I now think back to my childhood and realize that all those sick mornings were just anxiety about going to school. I have always had memory problems (ie I don’t remember a lot of things from my past, and I can’t really recall what is said (by me or others) in the course of a heated argument or confrontation). It’s not debilitating but it is annoying.

    I’m writing to share some of my observations about how the anxiety thing works. I’ve found that talking to others who are going through/have gone through anxiety makes it better.

    It seems to me – Paul, correct me if I’m wrong – the anxiety, panic, lightheadedness, floating feeling, etc. typically sets in after some period of intense stress. It’s not really during the stress but rather it’s an after-effect of it. So for all of you who are saying “I reduced my stress levels but still feel anxious…” it takes some time to overcome the anxiety/depression/etc. even after the stress has subsided.

    Also, having anxiety is sort of an up and down thing. The first panic attack is terrifying but soon you come to recognize that it’s just anxiety or it’s just panic, and you’re able to dismiss it. Sometimes I don’t even recognize that I’m in the midst of anxiety filled thinking and my husband is the one to point it out because he’s come to know the “anxious” me versus the “real” me.

    It really does get better. No matter how scary. You even forget you ever had anxiety. The obsessive thinking/worrying doesn’t take place. When I’m anxiety free, I think back to the anxious thoughts I had, and I laugh at myself for letting my fear and obsessive thinking run away with me. So have faith. It definitely gets better.

    A couple years ago, my panic attacks and anxiety turned into a constant lightheadedness and I couldn’t get up off the couch for a couple days. I went to the emergency room. Test after test found nothing abnormal. I did a lot of research online and it seems a lot of people were going through the same thing (weird unexplained lightheadedness, almost feeling like you’re walking on clouds or your legs feel like jelly, or you might faint at any minute). It seems the medical community hasn’t yet recognized/named this condition so don’t worry if your medical tests are coming back fine. It is just anxiety.

    I haven’t really ever wanted to take pills. I tried tamazapam (sp?) when I was first diagnosed and I didn’t like how it felt. I know that some people might need meds depending on the severity, but I turned to herbal solutions instead (Lemon Balm, Lavender, and Passion Flower extracts). I took herbal drops when I felt like I needed it and it helped me get through some really tough moments.

    All this to say, there’s a lot of other people going through the same thing. It’s scary and lonely because it’s all going on inside you but there’s a lot of books and resources out there that help. It will get better.

  36. Ricardo says

    Ive recently have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and panic disorder. Before i was diagnosed, in April i fell into a depression where i would just sleep all day. This i think happened because i was on a medication called imipramine and i just stopped taking it for a while and then take it again. Then my life went into a tail spin i had to move back in with my parents and was having panic attacks and what not. So as of now im on Seroquel,lamictal, and Klonopin. I guess these drugs have kind of helped my anxiety but my real question is, i feel like my memory is fucked i use to have the best memory i could remember stuff that people would be amazed and i was quick as a whip, out going, and really intelligent. Now if someone tells me there name ten times i cant remember, Its also hard for me to correlate words that use to smoothly come out. I really hate this and people tell me this is faze and that your memory will come back but i feel hopeless. Really i dont like my life with out remembering things. Ive been to a couple doctors and they said nothing is wrong as far as maybe ms or brain tumor. Is there anything that works to get it back?

  37. sue says

    WOW! Reading these posts is like looking in a mirror. I too have had anxiety when I was younger along with a little ocd. It passed but the last year or so it has returned with a vengenance. I currently work alot of hours in a high stress environment. It doesn’t help that my husband is my boss. I end up with alot of resentment towards him and the way he acts at work alot of times (like screaming at me for something others at work are doing). He comes home and acts like nothing happened while I’m still livid but I say nothing. I’ve spent the last few years walking on egg shells around him and think it’s finally all came to a head. I suffer from the dizzy spells, foggy thinking, shakes, feeling disconnected, etc. I get startled very easily and I have now developed a real fear of driving which I REALLY don’t like. I dread leaving the house, especially when I have to go to work. I drink more alcohol than I did before because it’s the only thing that takes the edge off but it’s getting so that doesn’t even work as good anymore. I was always known for being a happy, bubbly person who was always smiling but now I feel miserable and cranky. I just want my old self back. I want to feel like the normal me again. Any input would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you for letting me finally get this out because I have no one I can talk to about this.

  38. says

    I have been a sufferer of many of the problems everyone has posted on here. I suffer from anxiety and had a few bad panic attacks, and depression from the anxiety. It is a scary thing to go through and i feel for every one of you. What i am about to say is the 100% truth as to how i have been making it thorugh this hard time. I have really been feeling so much better lately, the sleeping at night is really what im having a tough time with now but even that has gotten better little by little. I am a 24 year old Christian woman. Well i called myself a Christian but definetely wasn’t living the way God wanted me to be living. I was living everyday selfishly for me and only me. When all of this came about, over night i decided to change my life for Him. It’s been hard to make such a drastic change but at the same time i feel so much more alive then i have felt in a long time, and that is him working in me i know that. I pick up the Holy Bible, the book of life everyday to encourage me, and to get some direction from God. I pray non stop to Him, especially when im feeling anxious, and He listens to my every prayer..i know this because i feel him working in me everyday. I feel the way my mind and my heart is changing. Everytime the devil tries to swoop in, i just have to practice my faith. He has pulled me through this hard time sooooo much it’s been a true miracle for me. A doctor gave me Xanex to go to sleep at night and an anti-depressent but i don’t want to depend on anything like that, i only want to depend on God so i never even took them. God has directed me somehow toward herbal teas and vitamins instead. I have never even thought twice about vitamins and eww tea lol i was always a big coffee drinker. But somehow he has directed me to all of these things i never even thought about, eating better, vitamins, and now mmm herbal tea. With his help i have really noticed a big change in myself, even if i still feel a little anxiety sometimes, my heart and the way i see life is so much better and clearer. It doesn’t hurt at all to have God on your side. He will change your life into something you could never even imagine for yourself. Little tiny things that you never thought were any big deal can put the biggest smile on your face and make your whole heart feel so full and warm. He will do wonders for you. Jesus is the answer!!! Ask him to come into your heart, believe that He died on that cross for you, and turn from your old life and start to live a new life for Him, and DON’T GIVE UP!! You may not feel a drasric change in the second you do this, but you should feel it in your heart right away and then your faith comes in..as long as you have faith in Him He will perform miracles in your life, and keep your eyes open because He will show himself to you in little or big things, just keep your eyes and heart open. I am so sorry for all of you who are struggling with this and i hope and pray that you all find peace in this hard time. I will be praying for you. God Bless all of you!! <3 The Lord is calling you, and remember without God there is so much that is impossible in this world, so much that feels impossible, but with God ALL things are possible!!

  39. Tanya says

    I’ve always been a highly anxious person, had some form of short term memory loss and went through severe depression during my teens and then on and off in my 20’s and 30’s.

    I knew that anxiety and stress played a key roll on the physical body. But didn’t understand exactly what it entailed. The last week has been one of my worst to date, and was even considering hospitalising myself if things continued to get worse (and still am). In the meantime, I’ve been searching for as much information as I can so I can understand what my body is telling me.

    As I said previously, I have always suffered from small bouts of memory loss. But the last 4-6 weeks it has been considerably getting worse. An example would be: Going to the shops to pick up 6 things and only coming back with 4-5 on the list. Instead of a rare occurrence, it now happens almost daily so I have to write down what it is I need. I can tell the difference between my forgetfullness before and this one – Considering I know that I have something to remember, but can’t recall what it is I have to do.

    For some reacent physical history: In the last two years I lost over 45 lb (21-22kg) and exercise on a regular basis. That exercise started increasing steadily 6 weeks ago to get ready for a long distance run for a charity event involving 1-1/2 hours in the gym running treadmills and hill climbers. At first side-effects were minimal – small headaches and aches and pains in the body, before eventually in the last two weeks it escalated dramatically; severe headaches that last all day everyday through into the night that cannot be treated with pain medications, aches and pains of the body, moderate short-term memory loss, mental fog or haze characterized by feeling “zoned out”, insomnia, severe heartburn and general feels of being “unwell” physically. What finally got me to take action was when my monthly cycle just “stopped”… At 32 years of age, I have never had a missed cycle ever (besides the obvious being pregnancy). After seeing my Doctor and having blood tests to rule it out, it came back negative.

    When I described my exercise history to her, I was put on immediate bed rest and told not to exercise AT ALL, as my body had hit a catabolic state that was too severe for my body to handle. I knew about catabolic metabolism and that it occurs more often in endurance runners, but naive me had thought it occurred more predominantly in athletes who did it over long and extended durations of time. When I got myself checked out, I was in my last week of training and had to end up cancelling the run with the charity. If I hadn’t done that I do believe it would have had disastrous side effects. What I’m trying to point out is that even though exercise is good for the body, there is only so much physically we can take before the body reacts to exercise like how it does to other emotional and psychological stresses. I had been slowly stepping up to that level of exercise, not one big hurdle. And because each persons body is different we sometimes don’t know that threshold before the signs finally appear in ourselves.

    I’m now on the pill to regulate my cycle, and am also taking a Calcium+Vit D supplement to make sure that the escalated cortisol doesn’t cause adverse effects on my bones. I’ll let everyone know if symptoms disappear over the coming months.

  40. Bridget says

    hi,
    my name is Bridget I’m 24 and i been suffering from anxiety and depression about 2years now. My doctor recently stated me on celexa a anti-depressant medicine but before i been having memory lost like i can’t remember wear i lay stuff down or i can’t remember what i had for dinner last week. Is this normal? Does anxiety and depression cause that? Am i going crazy please help and give me some tips.

  41. Helen says

    Hi.

    Just a warning really to all you reading this article and the posts below.

    A while ago I too started having problems with what I thought was anxiety related(memory and cognitive problems),and I left it thinking I would be ok and a week off work ect would fix it.
    However it wasn’t that simple after visiting the doctor with quite severe problems recalling words, recipes(I’m a chef)and nearly burning the kitchen down at work through forgetting things it became apparent that I should go and have a chat with my gp.
    When I told her what was wrong and she asked me some other questions about the shakes and loads of things i thought were never even related, and I told her I was having problems when I was driving(I couldn’t hold the clutch and I kept stalling)she advised it was best if I saw a neurologist.
    A few weeks later I had a bad attack of pain which left me numb down one side and was rushed into the hospital.all of a sudden what I thought could be fixed with a few days off work because of anxiety or stress had turned into something quite bad.I had lots of tests following this and was given a diagnosis of probable MS.Which then was diagnosed as MS.
    So what I’m saying is don’t always think yey I’ll be ok or it’s just a bit of stress I might not be sat here today with a permanent limp if I had thought before I should go and see the doctor instead of oh it’s just stress or anxiety.because at the end of the day it may not be.

  42. Peter says

    Hello everyone,
    I have been s uffering fron anxiety since I was 10 years old and am now 43!

    When I was 10 little was known about anxiety and I was treated with xanax and other crap for years until I educated myself about what was really happening. Besides learning relaxation techniques and such I took lexapro for many many years. 6 months ago I decided to cut down on the lexapro little by little and then started taking more and more herbs. Today i am writing and its been 2 days with no lexapro!I cut back about 2 mg every few months and boy was it hard. The main symptom was complete lightheadedness and everytime I told my doctor, he just said thats becuase you need the medication. Well now I am off it completely and feel a little lightheaded but am determined to remain off it. The only bad thing now is that recently ( literally 3 weeks) I accepted a very highly stressful professional position (Director of laboratory in a hospital) and hope I am making the right decision. I saw these posts and just decided to tell my story.
    Can anyone relate?

  43. jayashree says

    Hi,

    I’m having panic attacks and of late I’m suffering from severe forgetfulness. whereas previously I had good memory. I had a breakup recently. Can anyone tell me whether its because of this breakup or not.

  44. says

    I suffered alot of troma as a child. There was sexual abuse from two very close relatives, my dad being one. Also my mother and father were extremely violent to each other. There was a lot of fear. I remember depression and it onset, very early in life. I was told later on by a physician that i have post tromatic stress disorder. As long as i can remember i’ve had a failing memory. This effect all aspects of my life. In shool, some teachers sent letters home to my mother saying that i was day dreaming and not focused on my studies. I am still doing the same thing now, but im 39. Im trying to go to shool and learn a trade, but just like then, now i struggle with my focus and memory. I dont want to giveup on this, like i gave up on school. I droped out in the 9th year. Failed several grades prior, just couldnt keep up. My life depends on this. How will i ever be able to take care of myself, i surely have no one else who will?

  45. Judy Colton says

    I’m on my way to recovering from GAD. I have constant anxiety for more than 3 weeks and I was 100% sure that I was losing my mind. I’m on an antidepressant and a benzo and I feel a lot better. I was scare of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, now life is more bearable and my smile is back again!!!

  46. says

    Fluids seeping into skin tissue due to anxiety –

    Have you heard of this? Can’t find ANYthing @ it.
    When my husband feels stuck or hopeless, fluids seep into his skin and his clothes get tight – he feels puffy. He calls it bloated. Weight doesn’t change. Comes on in a matter of minutes, can go away rapidly. He despairs because he has no control. It depresses him. Adds to the cycle. Been on Zoloft for years. Doesn’t help. He’s 54 – started years ago as a cadet at West Point…dogged him on and off his whole life.

    Help! he gets depressed and withdrawn

  47. says

    Yes…and they all dismiss it. After dealing with it as fluid retention…finally put him on prozac…and now for years zoloft.
    So anecdotally as his wife living with this..I see that his persistent thoughts affect this physical condition. ‘Good news’ (you’re no longer stuck in this situation) can restore his skin tautness within a couple of minutes as his mind processes.

  48. says

    That’s very interesting. Well, seems like coping with this problem is at least partly related to his state of mind and his inability to cultivate a positive mind frame on his own. That of course can be fixed with time and practice. It seems to be a “thoughts issue” in that regard. Cognitive behavioral therapy would be a good option in that case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>