Issue No. 23
Does Curing Excessive Sweating Stop the Related Anxiety?Date: January 1, 2014
Imagine a life captivated by fear of your own sweat, when a simple handshake is accompanied by crippling anxiety.
That’s reality for people who have hyperhidrosis, in which overactive sweat glands cause heavy, even dripping, perspiration. Although the coinciding psychological conditions are usually managed with anti-anxiety medications, the physical cause of the emotional distress often goes unrecognized and untreated. Yet, says Malcolm Brock, M.D., a thoracic surgeon at Johns Hopkins, some evidence suggests that treating hyperhidrosis can curb the person’s anxiety.
Treating hyperhidrosis usually involves a minimally invasive technique that decreases perspiration, Brock explains. “Anecdotally, we’ve had several patients who came to us on anxiety medications and were diagnosed with a primary psychiatric problem, but whose actual anxiety was secondary to hyperhidrosis,” Brock says. “When we treated their sweating, many were able to stop the medications.”
For more information, or to watch an educational video on excessive sweating, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/sweat_disorders.