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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How bad can anxiety get? Having numbness in my mouth, face,

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How bad can anxiety get? Having numbness in my mouth, face, and throat. The more I freak out about the symptoms the worse they get. Can't seem to calm myself down and can't get the symptoms to go away.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.


What you are experiencing is very normal. It may not feel that way, but anxiety can cause odd symptoms that make you even more fearful. What helps is to understand why and what you can do about it.


It sounds like you may have panic disorder. People with panic disorder often describe themselves as constantly anxious or always feeling panicky. That is because when you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes the symptoms you feel like the numbness and other bodily symptoms. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling or even may feel numb. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel.

It may not feel like it, but the panic does subside. The adrenaline in your system does deplete and needs time to replenish. But because your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This may be why you always feel anxious.

You may also need a change in your medication when you have had your baby. Medications are helpful to ease the symptoms but they vary in their effectiveness. Each person has their own body chemistry and what works for one may not work for another. Also, once you take medication for a while, your body becomes accustomed to it and you either need an increase in dosage or you need to try a new medication. Keep this in mind for when you have had your baby and he/she is weaned.


Although medications can help take the edge off your symptoms, the best treatment for anxiety is therapy. Anxiety is highly treatable with CBT- Cognative Behavior Therapy, which helps you learn to change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to anxiety. In therapy, you learn to pay attention to what you are thinking to make yourself anxious. The therapist then can help you change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to your thoughts. You also can learn about how to let yourself float through your anxiety thereby gaining more control over how you feel. When a panic attack or anxiety comes on, you allow it to flow over you without tensing in response. This makes the anxiety reduce or go away faster. To find a therapist, talk to your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at

You can also help yourself at home. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about anxiety and how to control your panic. Here are some to get you started:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you. Many people use at home resources to help because they help so much. The key to dealing with your anxiety is to learn about it and therefore taking the mystery out of why you feel as you do. That alone can help you feel empowered and help you recover.


I hope this has helped you,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is it normal for the numbness to be present most of the time? I am exhausted and I can't even talk myself down from the panic anymore. It is like my body has turned on itself.

Yes, it can be normal for the numbness to be there. It would be good for you to get your doctor's input about it first, just to be sure it's not a physical issue, but if a medical problem is ruled out, then it is most likely caused by the anxiety.


Distancing yourself from your body (shutting it down) is also a common anxiety symptom. It is a way to depersonalize, to move away from the anxiety. It will go away when you begin to work on understanding the anxiety and try the different techniques to combat the symptoms.



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