What Mental Illnesses Cause Sweating?

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA
(Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : April 13, 2022

Sweating is a natural process in humans. It is only a problem when it is excessive and unpredictable. For many people, sweating is not due to natural causes but in certain situations such as in front of a crowd, on a stage or during an exam. Can mental illnesses cause sweating? What Mental Illnesses cause sweating? Can Emotions cause sweating?

Picture this. Betty was about to give her speech. On the stage, she finds the mic slipping out of her hands. It’s an air-conditioned room. Despite that, she notices beads of sweat trickling down her forehead. Do you resonate with this situation too? Well, all of us sweat and it is certainly not always a problem. For Betty though, sweating was due to her stage fear. This article explores What Mental Illnesses cause sweating. We also try to understand how can emotions cause sweating.

Chapter 1:
What Is the Role of Sweat?

Sweat helps to keep the body cool. It acts as a natural coolant when the body heats up. It maintains the thermostat of our body. Given below are some natural causes of sweating:

  • A hot climate raises body heat. Sweat glands activate to keep the body cool.
  • Exercises raise the heartbeat and blood pressure. This increases the body temperature. Sweating indicates that the body is warm now. It also helps in cooling the body.
  • Fever raises the body temperature. Therefore sweating indicates that the fever is breaking off.
  • Caffeine or nicotine starts up the central nervous system. This activates the sweat glands.
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Chapter 2:
What Mental Illness Can Cause Sweating?

Sweating is not pleasant. It can embarrass us when it occurs in social situations. Additionally, sweating can also affect our personal relations. Imagine shaking hands with your friends only to discover that your palms are all wet. When sweating occurs in situations where the body doesn’t need to cool off, it can cause shame. What mental illnesses cause sweating? Let us find out.

  • Anxiety: We may sweat in response to nervousness. When nervous, our palms, armpits, and soles of the feet may all begin to sweat. Initially, nervousness can lead to sweat. This may lead to social embarrassment. Later on, we may become nervous thinking that we may sweat. That is to say that we may get trapped in a vicious cycle of anxiety and sweat. This can affect our confidence in social events.
  • Substance abuse disorders: Alcohol widens the blood vessels in the skin. This activates the sweat glands. People who consume excess alcohol sweat excessively.
  • Social anxiety: People who are afraid of social situations may sweat just at the thought of social encounters. If you fear social interactions, you feel stressed even at the thought of meeting new people. Giving a speech, talking to strangers or even a simple outdoor task can be daunting. You may experience shakiness and sweat just by thinking of social situations.
  • Hyperactivity disorder: Hyperactive people are always on the go. additionally, they find it difficult to sit in one place. They sweat more in response to these increased activity levels. Their body does not get enough time to rest and cool down.
  • Performance pressure: People may worry and stress about their performance in a task. They feel that they might fail in a task and others will laugh at them. This anxiety may lead to high blood pressure and sweating.
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Chapter 3:
What Makes Us Sweat in These Mental Illnesses?

When stressed, our body gets into a flight or fight response. This activates our sympathetic nervous system. That is to say that our brain signals our body to activate the stress response system. Here our heart starts pumping more blood. Our blood vessels dilate, Quite simply, our entire body warms up in response to the perceived threat. As a result of which our body sweats in response to the raised temperature.

Can Emotions Cause Sweating?

Nerves that are sensitive to emotions, hormones, and other stimuli can stimulate the sweat glands. This is because emotions can trigger the parts of the nervous system that exercises do. This means that emotional stimulation can raise our body temperatures too. In order to cool down, our bodies sweat. Let us discuss which emotions can cause sweating:

  • Anger: When we are mad at someone, our body releases stress hormones. This in turn signals our heart to beat fast and pump blood faster. This increases the body heat and we sweat in order to cool down.
  • Love: Intimacy or falling in love releases endorphins or feel-good hormones. These hormones result in a racing heart and an increased breathing rate. This leads to sweaty palms.
  • Fear: In catastrophes or in a frightening situation, we may have observed sweat running down our faces. As discussed earlier, our body moves into a fight or flight mode when in a fearful situation. This response raises the body temperature and we sweat in response to the increased heat.
Consequences of Excessive Sweating
  • Sweating in public can reduce a person’s confidence. Apart from the smell, it is a visible sign of nervousness.
  • In an interview room, sweating can reduce the chances of a candidate’s selection.
  • Sweating can lead to rejection by friends and partners.

Researchers constantly try to understand what mental illnesses cause sweating. An inventory of relaxation techniques can help us in stressful times.

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Chapter 4:
How to Deal With Excessive Sweating Caused by Mental Illness and Emotions?

  • Breathe: When we focus our attention on breathing, our brain is tricked into thinking about something different from the object of anxiety. Our body’s reaction to stress slows down and the symptoms such as racing heart reduce. Breathing also slows down the respiratory system and helps in cooling the body.
  • Rehearse: We can rehearse some stressful situations like a stage performance. This can be done physically or by using mental imagery. We can prepare mental notes in order to deal with anxiety. These notes could include short reminders or mnemonics of the content.
  • Stay hydrated: We can drink sufficient water before any fearful situation. As we sweat during stressful times, our body loses water and there is a possibility of fatigue.
  • Counselling: Sometimes we may need expert solutions for conditions like anxiety. A counsellor can help a person overcome their fear by proof-based methods.
  • Fun activities: Listening to soft music or dancing can relieve stress. We may have done this before ur exams or stage acts.
  • Talking it out: Talking about our fears to friends or family helps us release the tension. They may also give us a fresh perspective which can in turn motivate us.
Understanding Emotions That Cause Sweating
Finally, all of us face stress at some point in our lives. We cannot eliminate stress from our lives. However, we can have an inventory of techniques to deal with it. We have read about what mental illnesses cause sweating. We also know if emotions can cause sweating. An awareness of it can help us control excessive sweat. Awareness of emotions can act as anticipation of sweat and we can use relaxation techniques to ease the tension. At Epsychonline, there are courses that help deal with social anxiety. They are curated by experts to help individuals over come their fear of social situations. Do check them out.