Yes. The simple answer is “yes.”

While it may be tempting to answer in such a definite way, there is much more to the story of panic attacks and itching. It wouldn’t be wise to just resign ourselves to the idea that we are going to itch or get a rash when we have a panic attack.

It’s well known among those in the medical community that stress can be a root cause of skin rash or hives. Rashes can be caused by a lot of external factors, such as specific deodorant or perfume products or certain foods. Some people develop a skin rash or feel “itchy” because of an infection. If the person has a tendency to develop a rash or general itching because of an allergy, for example, stress may aggravate the situation.

Stress is known to affect our immune systems, which is why we are more likely to become ill in times of stress. Those who experience extreme anxiety or a panic attack may be susceptible to any number of maladies, including skin rashes or an overall feeling of itchiness.

Generally, itching is the result of over-production of certain chemicals in the body. In stressful situations and when we are anxious the body produces additional adrenaline. This natural reaction is meant to prepare us to fight or run, depending on the situation we find ourselves in. In addition, the body may produce additional histamine to help our bodies fight against harmful bacteria or other foreign substances.

An increase in adrenaline and histamine can certainly lead to the condition we describe as “itching.” Of course, one way to reduce this effect is to recognize that we are in a stressful situation and take steps to calm us down. We may even be able to avoid such situations altogether or leave as soon as we recognize a problem may exist.

Stress and anger also tends to increase the temperature of our bodies, which also leads to sweating and a redness of the skin. These responses may aggravate an existing rash or give us the “itchy” feeling. Our skin is very sensitive, with lots of nerve endings and tiny blood vessels just under the surface. Internal changes in body chemistry often manifest themselves on our skin. Feeling as if we have to scratch the itchiness on or under the skin is common in these situations.

While we don’t have to rush to the doctor or the emergency room when we get the itching sensation, we shouldn’t necessarily dismiss it either. We may need to make a change in our diet and avoid foods that cause itchiness or rashes. We may need to reduce the symptoms of panic attack by using various self-help techniques such as deep breathing.

One final note on panic attacks and itching that may help. Many panic-attack sufferers must use prescription medicine to help reduce symptoms or avoid such episodes. If itching skin and rashes have become a problem since starting the medication, ask your doctor if a change in medication is necessary.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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