Description and Possible Medical Problems

Even though it’s an old-fashioned term, you may have recently heard someone refer to someone as a “nervous Nellie.” As is the case with anxiety, everyone gets nervous at some point, but there are always those who take it to extremes.

Also like anxiety, nervousness can get to the point where it prevents people from functioning normally and begins to interfere with their interpersonal relationships. In fact, nervousness is often linked with anxiety. In most cases, nervousness is a manifestation of stress, problems at home or work, or simply the travails of modern life. It can also result from working too hard and feeling overwhelmed.

In a few cases, however, if you are chronically nervous and also begin to lose weight unintentionally, you may have a thyroid disease.


Once your doctor rules out the possibility of thyroid disease, she will suggest that you try some behavioral changes to reduce your nervousness, including exercise, cutting out or down on caffeine, and/or counseling. Sometimes a short vacation or day off is all that’s needed.

If your nervousness is interfering with your life and these methods don’t work, your doctor may prescribe an antianxiety medication or sedative such as Valium, Xanax, or BuSpar. Your doctor will determine your dosage based on factors such as your age, weight, and sex and will lean towards giving you a smaller dose than is customary to help prevent the medication from becoming habit forming. In the case of BuSpar, it takes a week or two of daily doses until it starts to work, and it doesn’t seem to cause dependency like the other antianxiety medications and sedatives.


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