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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5807
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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ive been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. my latest symptom

Customer Question

I've been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. My latest symptom that's been terrorizing me is a tickling sensation inside my body. It migrates or it can be in a few places at once. It's like a butterfly tickling feeling in my muscles chest, head, everywhere, arms, hands , etc.. Is this normal for anxiety? It makes me restless at times more than others. As a result I become anxious. I feel a need to move at times. I also tend to squirm if it gets bad and play with my facial hair. It causes me distress. It comes and goes when it wants. I can go to sleep, lay down. But nonetheless sometimes I need to get up or I tap my feet fast. This is the worst it's gotten in the last 10 years. I dont know if its because if I'm giving it too much attention, but how can i not? I thought it was RLS but my doc who's a specialist says my symptoms dont typically match the description. I am typing here as I wont be seeing him for another month to ask about this sensation. What is akathisia? Does this sound like it? can you please give me a detailed description of it? If it has physical symptoms. Also what does inner restlessness mean as opposed to regular restlessness? If it isnt and this problem is psychosomatic how do I deal with this symptom as it is driving me crazy? Im currently on wellbutrin and it just reignited, but i have had these symptoms and similar symptoms of anxiety at the age of 18 but wasnt properly diagnosed till 3 years ago.<br/><br/><br/>Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

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


It is very common to have disturbing bodily sensations when you have anxiety. It is part of the disorder to focus on your body and be anxious about what you feel. That is not to say there isn't something wrong, it's just a very common part of anxiety and should be considered when you feel focused on a symptom.


You mentioned you saw your doctor for the restlessness problem. If you do not feel reassured by his diagnosis, see another doctor for a second opinion. There is nothing wrong with being sure.


Akathisia is basically restless leg syndrome from my understanding. It is a physical disorder that causes a person to feel the need to move their legs. It occurs mostly in middle aged to older adults. It can be hereditary.


Inner restlessness is part of the akathisia diagnosis. It is the sensation of needing to move around. Regular restlessness is most likely more of a feeling rather than a sensation.


I am not a medical doctor so I have a general idea of these symptoms. Your doctor can help you with a more complete description. However, I do understand how anxiety can cause these types of symptoms and I can help you with that as a source of your problem. If your doctor clears you of a physical problem, anxiety is most likely the cause.


Anxiety can give you the sensation of needing to move around and restlessness. It can also cause you to have bodily sensations that bother you to the point of being distracting. That is why I recommend a second opinion to rule out a physical cause so you can focus on the anxiety as the origin of the sensations.


You did not mention seeing a therapist. That would be a great start in helping you target this symptom and reduce or eliminate it. Talk with your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at Even if you find that this symptom is part of a physical problem, therapy can help you cope with the resulting distress and anxiety.


There are several resources to help you work on this problem at home as well. Here are some excellent books to get you started:


The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Edmund J. Bourne


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus


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


They Can't Find Anything Wrong!: 7 Keys to Understanding, Treating, and Healing Stress Illness by David D. Clarke

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


Keep in mind, if the doctors do find a physical problem they can treat it. However, if they do not, you have the opportunity to rid yourself of these and other anxiety symptoms through treatment and self help. Anxiety is highly curable. With a bit of determination, you can heal yourself from anxiety and live a fuller life.


I hope this has helped you,

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i had gotten a second opinion by an rls specialist confirming I dont have RLS because my symptoms don't subside as I move or can come on while in motion. My question is, is it normal for anxiety symptoms to bother you to the point of you having to move around or squirm? Mind you I'm not always anxious when moving. I get anxious when it becomes really bothersome. Like I dont pace or anything, I'll usually squirm around in my seat or if im in a car long enough I feel the need to get out and walk. It's ironic cause at some point when I get home a can totaly relax and nothing is bothersome. Thats why I wanted a clarification about akathisia to better understand if it's my mind causing it or not. As far as what I've read some say its the same while the majority of the Dr.'s disagree. Can anxiety give you a need to move around without being anxious? or bwecause of the discomfort of your symptoms while not necessarily being anxious?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Yes, this is a very normal symptom of anxiety. It is the result of the sympathic nervous system being overstimulated by your brain during the anxiety. It is completely harmless but it can be disturbing. Sometimes the symptoms can get worse with certain medications, but Wellbutrin is not one of them.


What you have is called paresthesias in mental health. The cause can be a pinched nerve for which you should see your doctor to rule out. But most likely, it is emotional in nature. When you are anxious, your body reacts with sensations. It's related to the function of your nerves (which is often why it's called a "nervous condition" when you are anxious). This can cause many unusual and disconcerting symptoms that increase your anxiety. However, these sensations are completely harmless.


And it is very normal to be restless when you are anxious. The key here is that you are able to relax at home and other times. That is a good sign that you are experiencing the symptoms of anxiety and not something else. To address this problem, practice relaxation techniques to learn to control your anxiousness. Also, consider some of the resources I gave you in my last answer. They have an abundance of great information about how to learn to shut your anxious thoughts off and relax so this sensation goes away.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi you've been a great help, but u didn't quite answer my question. Even tho in general I am anxious, but when the synptoms flare up, is it normal to fidget just because of the symptoms in itself as they are uncomfortable. Sorry if you responded to this question and I missed it. Also sorry to be a pain in the but.

Thk you soo much for your help. I'm going to check those books out
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It is no problem that you ask for further information. I want to answer your questions until you feel fully satisfied, so it's no problem at all.


Yes, it is very normal to fidget. Anxiety often causes you to feel the need to move around because the sensations from the nervous energy. The nature of anxiety is nervousness, which causes you to want to fidget. If you sit still, the symptoms can feel overwhelming. So expending some of that anxiety through fidgeting is a way to cope with the sensations.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help. I hope I can regain my normal thought pattern through therapy as it has impacted my life greatly. My thought pattern is a disaster. Thk you so much
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

You're welcome!


It sound like you are on the right path. Anxiety is highly curable so with therapy and self help, you will get there.