Anxiety/Stress and Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndromecan be troublesome as it can stop you from relaxing and resting, and especially when you feel tired. It gives you the feeling where you are so tired and you just want to rest but your legs feel like they want to keep going so you have to move them continuously because they feel so antsy. This syndrome may affect one leg or both as well as the entire half of the body. Restless Legs Syndrome can progress anxiety sensations and symptoms. It could follow an episode of elevated stress, nervousness, or fear that occurs out of the blue. This symptom may range from moderate to severe.

The symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome can change each day. As each body is somewhat chemically and biologically different, each person can have a unique symptom experience. Restless Legs Syndrome can seem more disconcerting when doing deep relaxation, resting, or when trying to go to sleep.

Why Does Anxiety Cause Restless Leg Syndrome?

In addition to stress and anxiety, there are some known triggers of Restless Legs Syndrome:

Some non-prescription and prescription medications can worsen this symptom, including:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-nausea
  • Beta-blockers

Being still for lengths of time:

  • Long trips
  • Sitting in a concert or movie theatre
  • Confined to bed because of an illness or other medical reason

Other triggers such as:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Warm temperatures
  • Alcohol
  • Recreational drugs
  • Caffeine or other ingested stimulants
  • Smoking
  • Restrictive clothing

When symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome are caused by stress, as part of the survival mechanism of the body, the moment we believe we could be in danger the body produces a stress response. The reaction secretes stress hormones through the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots. It is to bring about a specific response that enhances the body’s ability to deal with a threat.  

The body can recover relatively quickly when stress responses occur infrequently. When stress responses happen too often and dramatically, the body has a more hard time recovering. Wherein, it may cause it to remain in a state of semi-stress response readiness. A body that becomes hyper-stimulated can experience a wide range of symptoms because of an increased level of chronic stimulation. Having nervous energy and restless legs are two examples. Research has found a high correlation between anxiety and depression symptoms in patients with Restless Leg Syndrome.

Getting Rid Of Anxiety-Caused Restless Leg Syndrome

When this symptom is caused by stress, some people have found these short-term strategies beneficial:

  • Avoid high sugar foods
  • Avoid stimulants
  • Deep muscle relaxation
  • Deep relaxation
  • A short walk before resting
  • Light to moderate exercise before going to sleep or resting
  • Don’t involve in stimulating activities before you want to sleep or rest
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your medications

Overall, reducing anxiety-caused Restless Leg Syndrome needs decreasing and eliminating the body’s hyper-stimulation. As the body recovers from the adverse effects of hyper-stimulation, it stops exhibiting symptoms, including restless legs.

You can speed up the recovery process by practicing healthy stress reduction strategies such as:

  • Practicing relaxed breathing
  • Reducing your stress load
  • Not worrying about the symptoms
  • Increasing your relaxation

Restless Leg Syndrome can be bothersome, but again, when your body has recovered from the adverse effects of hyper-stimulation, this symptom will subside.

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