Fainting Anxiety – What It Is & What To Do About It


Can anxiety attacks cause fainting? Why do I feel like fainting?

Fainting, or Syncope, is a temporary loss of consciousness and muscle tone due to blood loss to the brain. It is usually caused by hypotension, or low blood pressure. -source

Dizzy spells and feeling like you’re going to faint or pass out can be an anxiety symptom and nothing more. Assuming you are healthy and have not been diagnosed with low blood sugar or low blood pressure, most of the time, feeling like fainting and being nervous about it can be attributed to anxiety.

Fainting Anxiety and the strange feelings that go with it are very disturbing to the nervous person. You may feel like your body is off balance, or that your legs are going to give out. You may also experience weakness, trembling, nausea, palpitations, visual disturbances, and sweating. All of these things are what typically happens right before someone actually does faint, which makes them seem all the more frightening.

But healthy people faint.

That’s true. Soldiers who have to stand at attention for long periods of time sometimes faint, for example while on parade. This is usually when they are overheated and are standing very still for extended periods, in which case the blood pressure drops.

And some people faint at the sight of blood. That is often referred to as needle phobia and that, too is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure.

What to Do About Fainting Anxiety

If you suffer from fainting anxiety it’s not enough to just know that you’ll be ok (at least it isn’t for me, and you will be ok, by the way). You must have some anxiety self help tools to help you once you start to experience the symptoms that scare you. Here are some helpful tips for fainting anxiety:

1. Make sure you’ve eaten.

All the symptoms that accompany fainting anxiety can be brought on by low blood sugar. Make sure your diet includes enough protein. You can also have something sweet in a pinch to quickly raise your blood sugar level. A glass of orange juice or even a piece of candy works.

If no food is available, just sit down and rest for about 10 minutes. This will give your liver enough time to release stores of glycogen (which eventually break down into glucose and raise your blood sugar).

2. Move just a little. fainting

It can be helpful if you are experiencing theses symptoms to make sure you are not locking your knees. Shifting your balance from one foot to the other helps. You can also tighten and release your fists or your thigh muscles. That way, you are “proving to yourself” that you have muscle tone and that you aren’t standing too still. tightening and releasing muscles groups also raised blood pressure. You couldn’t do these things if you were going to faint.

3. Make sure you’re breathing correctly.

Feeling like you’re going to pass out when caused by anxiety is usually not caused by a drop in blood pressure, but by over-breathing, or hyperventilation. the sufferer does this without even knowing it. When you feel symptoms of fainting anxiety, consciously slow down your breathing, and take in slow, deep breaths from the belly.

Fainting Anxiety- What NOT To Do

Do not give in to the fear and retreat because of the feelings. Do not make a pilgrimage from chair to chair. Do not run out of the room or out of the situation. This is letting anxiety win and will only serve to keep you afraid of the feelings.

I had fainting anxiety last week at work. For the record you should know I have never fainted in my life. But there I was, assisting a doctor at a patient’s bedside. The patient was a child and was bleeding (not badly) and the family around the bed were hysterical. It was a very tense situation.

I wanted to run away, but I was the only one who could assist, and the doctor needed me. I felt dizzy and sweaty and was 100% convinced I was going to faint. I felt trapped. I had such an urge to run, I felt that was the only way I would not faint.

Instead of running or standing there and going straight into a panic attack, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I tensed up and released my fists just enough to show myself that I had good control of my muscles I tensed up and released my thigh muscles to ensure my blood pressure wasn’t dropping. I made sure I wasn’t hyperventilating – I kept my breathing slow. And then I did the best I could to stay focused on the situation at hand, not my symptoms.

Sure enough, the little patient was dong well in no time and the anxious nurse assisting the doctor was too. :)

If she would practice walking forward in the way I have stressed so much… by letting her body do whatever it wants to – tremble if it must, feel weak if it must, even faint if it feels like it (this takes a lot of acceptance!) – she would find behind the trembling and the faintness the strength to move forward, however hesitatingly. She would not faint.

-Dr Claire Weekes, Peace From Nervous Suffering, p. 173

If you have fainting anxiety symptoms and follow the 3 steps above, you will be fine. You can function with the fear, and the feelings will pass.

Do you ever get fainting anxiety? What helped you?

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

Recommended: Self Hypnosis Download for Needle Phobia and to Cure Fear of Needles

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14 Responses to Fainting Anxiety – What It Is & What To Do About It

  1. david says:

    Jill, this is a good article. I have a friend who often experiences anxiety attacks, but not fainting.

    I was relatively unaware of panic attacks until a few years ago when I was laid off and had to rely on my online work for an income.

    I don’t think I have ever had a full fledge ‘panic attack’. But I have been very edgy and panicky over the ability of my business to meet all of my expenses.

    Things are better a few years later. but making the transition from employee to full time business owner was not easy. It requires a complete shift in awareness.

    During this transition, I felt fear often.

    • JillG says:

      Hi David,

      I think most people in this day and age know a thing or 2 about feeling anxiety, whether they have panic attacks or not. I’m glad to hear you are doing better after your transition to online business owner.

  2. maz says:

    Ok jilly how did you know I was like this yesterday. Really thought I was going to faint and terrified myself in the process. It took all afternoon to focus on something else before I could calm down

    You tips are fantastic I will etch them in my memory for the next time as this is one of my major anxiety symptoms and I hate it with a passion

    You are so knowledgeable I cant tell you how fantastic your tips are. You always make me feel better

    Thank you so much

    Maz x

    • JillG says:

      Hell it’s one of mine too Maz. I have no idea where this came from. I’m a nurse for God’s sake, so blood and guts is what I do. Anxiety always finds a way to creep into our lives doesn’t it? But we are smarter. Hang tough my friend, I will too!

  3. Ness says:

    I have felt this way for over 6 years, but I have recently started counseling and by God’s grace, it’s helping. Now when I feel I’m going to faint, my brain automatically says, “its ok”. It took months, but since I’m here now with this thought, it feels great so now I know I am definitely recovering. Good luck to all who are suffering from anxiety.

    • JillG says:

      Hi Ness,

      I’m glad the counseling helped you and you are better with this. It is a horrible feeling, but it can be overcome, like all scary anxiety symptoms.

  4. L says:

    Hi Jill – I just wanted to thanks you so much for your blogs and website. I have found them very informative and helpful. I feel like when I am reading your words that sometimes it is exactly how I feel. It is so refreshing to know someone else “gets it”. I am also a nurse, so we have that in common. Anyway, lately I have been having alot of health related anxieties (heart attack, stroke, dvt…you name it). It has been very difficult. One thing I am also worried about is fainting and having a seizures. (BTW I have never fainted and have no medical issues other than Hashimotos/hypothyroid). I feel woosy and all my fears and panic come rushing in. I make the mistake of creating the “second fear” and go into a full blown panic attack. I check my blood sugar with a meter I bought and it is always high 80’s or 90’s so it’s more likely pure anxiety. Now I feel like anytime I feel anything sort of like it I go from 0 to 60. Any advice?

    • JillG says:

      Hi Hon,

      Yes, you have to work like the dickens to not add the second fear. It takes practice because we tend to do it automatically. It is feeling that first flash of fear and NOT going into the “Oh no, what if??” kind of catastrophic thinking. So when I feel like I’m going to faint, I feel the first fear and then focus on what I’m doing in the moment- staying present. I watch my breathing and tighten & release my thigh muscles or fists to prove my BP is good. I refuse to indulge in the racing thoughts. If I do, anxiety wins and I panic.

      Does that make sense?

  5. Felicity says:

    I have terrible fainting anxiety, especially since I have low blood sugar. I have fainted a couple times before years ago. One was definately due to low blood sugar, and the other was a bit of a mystery… I was at a dog shelter with my 4-H club (working with the dogs) and a dog that I just worked with (and loved instantly) was bitten in the neck and almost seriously injured! After the other dog let go of her neck, and both dogs were ok, I passed out. Right there in the shelter. Not fun…

    With my anxiety/panic problems, low blood sugar, AND allergies; I always feel faint and dizzy and it’s quite hard for me to do things.

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this article!!! It’s VERY helpful! I hope I can get over this terrible fear…

  6. Zoe says:

    Fainting is my worst anxiety fear. I have passed out before in my life. Twice. I believe it could happen again. So when I tell myself that no one ever passes out from having a panic attack I don’t really believe it. The things that I passed out from weren’t things that would cause other people to pass out. So I feel vulnerable and have such a horrible time just giving in to the feelings so they will pass. I don’t trust them :(
    I will try squeezing my thighs muscles and fists next time I feel like that tho. Hopefully that will help. Thanks Jill :)

  7. Rand says:

    Praise God for these posts!! I was just looking at a disturbing documentary today and fainted. It’s happened a few other times in my life. I got home and looked online for some comfort and found it here. I’m not alone in this, I got funny looks when it happened, but on this site I’ve found comfort. I will overcome this without any medications because medications only destroy you. Thank you all for your comments. Good to know I’m not alone in this.

  8. xman4389@yahoo.com says:

    thanks for posting all comments , i feel a lot better knowing
    that anxiety will make me feel this way , i have this feeling when i get in large crowds or stand in long lines .i get like if am going to faint and i feel like my pulse in my stomache .so i concentrate where im at and start to move slowly . could this be anxiety . thanks again

    • JillG says:

      Yes it most probably is anxiety. The way to get past that symptom is to just let that pulse beat in your stomach and don’t’ get concerned about it. It can’t harm you in any way.

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