Anxiety can be a causal factor for GERD, and GERD can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Treating both conditions can alleviate your symptoms.

Mental health conditions can often cause physical health problems and vice versa.

Taking care of your physical and psychological health is often necessary because of the link between mental health and physical health conditions.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux, is linked to anxiety and depression. If one condition is left untreated, this can cause further problems.

Treatments are available for anxiety and GERD. Seeking treatment can improve your quality of life and help alleviate symptoms.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder where the stomach contents flow back into your esophagus.

According to a 2023 overview, GERD is one of the most common digestive disorders, with a prevalence rate of 20% prevalence rate in the United States.

The main symptom of GERD is heartburn. If you have GERD and leave it untreated, over time, it can cause damage to the tissue that lines your esophagus.

The acid that regurgitates from your stomach to your esophagus can cause inflammation and pain.

Several factors can cause GERD. Research indicates that potential causes of GERD may include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • older age
  • smoking
  • excessive body mass index (BMI)
  • less physical activity at work

The authors also indicate that your eating habits, especially foods with high amounts of acid, may contribute to the disease.

GERD and anxiety are connected. A 2023 study supports previous research that GERD can lead to an increased incidence of depression and anxiety.

The authors of the study recommend that patients who are treated for GERD also need adequate mental health support due to the possibility of developing anxiety disorders and depression.

In other words, if you’re receiving treatment for GERD, you may also need to seek the support and help of a mental health professional.

Additional 2019 research of 258 patients in a hospital setting found that many patients with GERD also had depression, anxiety, or both. Anxiety and depression were common in patients who also reported chest pain.

Anxiety can also be a causal factor of GERD. Research suggests that anxiety can cause GERD, and GERD can cause anxiety.

In the author’s review of nine studies with over 200 participants, they found an interaction between the two conditions, suggesting that anxiety interacts with GERD and GERD interacts with anxiety.

If you live with GERD or anxiety, you may consider learning about the symptoms of each condition and how they interact with each other. It may be essential to consider treatment options for both conditions.

The two different conditions separate the symptoms of GERD and anxiety.

If you live with one condition, you may need to treat both conditions so you don’t experience increased symptoms.

Common symptoms of GERD include:

  • heartburn
  • regurgitation of stomach contents into your esophagus
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • the sensation of a lump in your throat
  • chronic cough
  • persistent sore throat
  • hoarseness of your throat
  • pain in your upper abdomen
  • trouble swallowing or pain with swallowing
  • chest pain

You can be diagnosed with GERD based on a self-report of symptoms.

If you have potential complications with the condition or don’t exhibit typical symptoms, your healthcare professional may recommend additional testing.

Anxiety is a future-oriented mindset that involves worry or fear about a threat or perceived threat that is excessive.

Here are some signs you could also be experiencing anxiety:

  • excessive fears or worries
  • detachment from reality
  • frightening thoughts or mental images
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty speaking
  • increased heart rate or heart palpitations
  • chest pain or pressure in your chest
  • nausea or upset stomach
  • feeling tense or on edge
  • feeling jittery
  • shortness of breath
  • having hot flashes or chills
  • tense muscles
  • dry mouth
  • restlessness
  • avoiding situations that feel threatening
  • agitation
  • frustration

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety overlap with the symptoms of GERD.

Treating anxiety and GERD as co-occurring conditions can be complex due to the effect of some anxiety medications on the esophagus.

Research indicates that typical anxiety medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines should not be used to treat anxiety and GERD.

The authors suggest that tricyclic antidepressants can reduce the sphincter pressure in your lower esophagus.

They also note that SSRIs can affect your esophagus’s ability to move fluid and food along, and benzodiazepines can lower your pain threshold.

Due to the complications of typical anxiety medications, the recommended treatment for anxiety that occurs with GERD is serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Some common SNRIs to treat anxiety, according to 2021 research, include:

If you’re considering taking medication to help manage symptoms of anxiety with GERD, consider talking with your healthcare professional about what medications may be suitable for you.

You may also consider seeing a mental health professional for anxiety treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) continues to be the most evidence-backed treatment for anxiety disorders.

You can use the FindCare Tool to locate a therapist near you.

Treatment for GERD involves medication and lifestyle changes. Research indicates that common types of medications prescribed for GERD include:

The authors also suggest the following lifestyle changes can help with the management of GERD:

  • raising the head at the end of your bed
  • weight loss
  • avoiding eating 3 hours before bed

Before making any changes, talk with your healthcare professional for recommendations.

Anxiety and GERD often occur together. One condition can cause another and vice versa. The main defining feature of anxiety is excessive worry or fear about a threat or perceived threat.

The key defining feature of GERD is heartburn.

There are various treatment options to treat anxiety and GERD when they occur together. You can take medication, see a mental health professional, or make lifestyle modifications.

If you live with GERD and anxiety, talk with a healthcare professional for their recommendations. Treatment can help you alleviate symptoms.