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Inner restlessness & nervousness
Who does not know it, the inner unrest that temporarily accompanies us after a serious argument, during a profound change or before an important examination? But serious physical causes can also trigger the symptoms. In addition, the inner restlessness with continued occurrence can lead to further psychological and physical symptoms, which are mainly caused by a dysbalance of the vegetative nervous system. Women seem to be particularly vulnerable to restlessness, but men are also often affected.
Internal unrest - a brief overview
The spectrum of possible causes ranges from obvious triggers such as upcoming exams or professional challenges to serious illnesses that urgently need medical treatment. In order to better classify the symptoms, here is a brief overview:
- causes: A distinction must be made between psychological causes, such as extreme stressful situations, traumatic experiences, anxiety disorders or depression, and physical triggers such as:
- Thyroid disease,
- hormonal changes (e.g. during menopause),
- Low blood sugar,
- Heart problems (e.g. cardiac neurosis, but also heart attack),
- Pulmonary embolism,
- low blood pressure (for example with orthostatic dysregulation),
- Fibromyalgia syndrome
- and magnesium deficiency.
Added to this are the ingestion of various substances such as coffee, energy drinks, alcohol and cocaine, but also withdrawal from addiction disorders such as alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction or morphine addiction. Likewise, taking certain medicines and stopping them can cause restlessness.
- Consultation with a doctor is required, if there is inner unrest without clearly recognizable triggers such as upcoming exams, it persists over a longer period of time, physical complaints are added, there are signs of a mental illness or other mental problems occur.
- treatment: Depending on the causes, emergency medical care may be necessary (heart attack, pulmonary embolism), drug treatment for many physical causes, otherwise often psychotherapy or learning autogenic training or yoga against stress.
Internal restlessness as a symptom
Inner anxiety is felt quite differently by those affected and is usually accompanied by other symptoms. This is how the restlessness is often described together with sensations of nervousness, rapid heartbeat as well as constant agitation and being driven. Inner restlessness seems to come so close to the feeling of fear that the two conditions are sometimes difficult to differentiate. On the mental level, inner restlessness goes hand in hand with concentration disorders, with "constantly circling thoughts" and the inability to "switch off". In the evening, restlessness and nervousness often continue as sleep disorders, which in turn lead to tiredness and exhaustion the next day. Physical complaints can include back pain, excessive sweating, loss of appetite, stomach pain and other indigestion, and men can experience erection problems.
Causes of inner unrest
An inner feeling of restlessness affects people of both sexes, but women are most often affected. This is attributed on the one hand to hormonal changes in the menopause, which can be the cause, but on the other hand to the increased stress on family and work. Constant tensions in the partnership or bullying at the workplace are also typical situations that can put a person in constant stress, which results in inner unrest.
In most cases, it is the combination of unfavorable external circumstances and a lack of internal coping mechanisms that unbalances our vegetative nervous system and causes internal anxiety. However, there may also be physical causes such as an overactive thyroid, low blood pressure, magnesium deficiency, a cardiac neurosis, a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. In the event of an emergency, medical help is required immediately and the emergency services should be contacted if accompanying symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chest tightness occur.
Nervous system disorders
The vegetative nervous system can be understood as the interface between the physique and the psyche. Through its structures, mental experience can be experienced physically by controlling smooth muscles, heart muscles and glands in a certain direction. For this purpose, the vegetative nervous system has two oppositely functioning control mechanisms in the form of nerve conduction systems that complement each other in their effects. While the parasympathetic nervous system predominates in internal body functions such as glandular secretion, sleep mode and digestive work, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by external events, work and stress. Because both parts can never be excited at the same time, a balanced cooperation is necessary to ensure healthy bodily functions.
Because excitement of the sympathetic nervous system predominates due to constant sensation of pressure, agitation and urgency, physical symptoms can also be explained, such as a (sympathetically induced) increase in the heartbeat rate, the reduction in gastric and intestinal movement and secretion of the digestive juices and the prevented male erection.
Treatment for restlessness
Basically, symptom-based treatment is not very promising in the event of inner restlessness. It is important to determine the cause of the complaints and then initiate targeted therapy promptly.
Internal unrest - naturopathy and holistic medicine
In eye diagnostics, it is assumed that approx. 20 percent of blue-eyed people are predisposed to a nervous weakness, which can be seen, among other things, from the very fine fibrillation of the iris stroma. Experience has shown that people with this so-called neurogenic constitution are more susceptible to nervous symptoms such as inner restlessness. The tendency to overstrain is therefore reinforced by a coral red ring (asthenic ring) that lines the pupil and can be seen with a magnifying glass or iris microscope. After all, the large pupil is already visible to the naked eye, indicating that the sympathetic nervous system is dominant.
People of this constitution are often advised to conserve their powers in naturopathic practice and to try with supportive measures to build up inner peace, mental clarity, new courage and drive. Here, for example, Schüßler salts can also be used, with potassium phosphoricum, calcium phosphoricum and magnesium phosphoricum being particularly recommended for strengthening the nerves. Bach flower essences made from white chestnut, cherry plum or elm, for example, can also help.
It is also advisable to create small oases of peace and relaxation in everyday life, to meet friends, to meditate, to practice yoga or autogenic training.
Systemic family and couple counseling are suitable for coping with family difficulties and unfavorable behavior patterns, while internal conflicts can be uncovered with self-organizational hypnosis. At the same time, ways and possibilities for a gentler handling of yourself and others can be initiated.
It is primarily osteopathy that deals with the autonomic nervous system on a manual level. The main nerve of the parasympathetic system is the vagus nerve. To activate it, osteopathy primarily works with craniosacral osteopathy techniques on the head. According to the theories of osteopathy, there should be connections between the muscles at the back of the head and this nerve. When the muscles relax, the vagus nerve and thus the parasympathetic system is activated according to the model of osteopathy, and those affected come back into a state of relaxation. Craniosacral osteopathy also senses a rhythm called the Primary Respiratory Rhythm (PRM). It should also harmonize the body rhythm and bring it into balance.
Structural osteopathic approaches also look for blockages of the ribs or thoracic spine. The switches for the sympathetic nerve conduits are located under the costal heads and one hopes to be able to move them to a regulated function through an interaction with the relaxed tissue.
The procedure is similar in Rolfing. Rolfing is a deep connective tissue work that looks at the emotional level in addition to the statics and tension patterns in the body and is therefore also a therapeutic approach for functional symptoms with inner restlessness. (jvs)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Anton J. M. Loonen, Stephen M. Stahl: The Mechanism of Drug-induced Akathsia .; in CNS Spectrums, Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 7-10, January 2011, cambridge.org
- DGPPN: Patient version of the scientific guideline "Definition, causes, diagnosis and therapy of fibromyalgia syndrome" (available on August 27, 2019), DGPPN
- Petra Isabel Schlerit, Susanne Antonie Fischer: Stress Management: Your Way to More Inner Peace; Heap; 1st edition 2018