Medical Specialty >> Psychiatry

Doctors Lounge - Psychiatry Answers

Back to Psychiatry Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Can anxiety cause paralysis?

 JC - Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:03 pm

I will try to do this as briefly as possible. My mom is 63 years old, 30 years ago she woke up one morning with a slight tingling in her legs. It got worse spreading to the majority of her body. By the next morning she was paralized from the waist down. She went to the local hospital and then to Stanford University hospital. She briefly became completely paralized. She went through every neurologocal and muscular test avilable and basically rolled out in a wheelchair 6 months later undiagnosed. Eventually a docter tried Prednizone and this seemed to work, eventually allowing her to walk with a walker and at one point walk slowly with no assistance. She took Prednizone for over 20 years ranging from 5 mg to 80 mg. Over that time she has relapsed about 8 times knocking her back to a wheelchair. The older she got the tougher it was to recover. Finally after seeing a set of new doctors, she was taken off of Prednizone. Unfortunately the Prednizone helped cause Osteoperosis which a few years ago caused a collapsed vertebre. She recently had another flare up and was temporarily put back on Prednizone, but is finding it very difficult to recover. Until 10 years ago, each relapse seemed to be at the time of her menstrual cycle and subsequent depression. Now they seem to be at the same time as bouts of depression and anxiety. My mom is a very reclusive person, staying in her room constantly and has no socializing at all. She has major depression and anxiety. For years doctors focused on her spine and a possibilty of MS (which has been ruled out). But could this be more of a mental illness that her extreme anxiety brings on? Any feedback will help. Can Paralysis be brought on by stress and anxiety?
 one_blueangelz - Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:28 pm

Hello, I just wanted to say that the mind is a powerful thing. I remember reading about a man who was paralized and it was all in his head. Being an anxiety sufferer myself I know that I can think about a symptom long enough and eventually will feel that symptom.
 maiden75 - Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:40 am

I also agree...if I hear, read or think about a disease/illness I wil worry that little things I am feeling could be that illness, and then the anxiety becomes so extreme that I start feeling those symptoms severely until I stop worrying about them and they go away. I have seen studies about medical students who start exhibiting symtpoms from diseases or illnesses they happen to be studying about. My anxiety causes me to have dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, weakness, clumsiness, shakiness and pretty much anything under the sun....I wouldn't be suprised if her anxiety is causing her medical issues. Good luck, I know how you feel.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us