Relationship Between Shingles & Anxiety

Shingles can lead to anxious feelings.
Shingles can lead to anxious feelings. (Image: Image by, courtesy of SmilingStrong)

Shingles is a very painful and uncomfortable condition that can happen to anyone who has had the chicken pox and has been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus responsible for shingles and the chicken pox.


After the chicken pox, the virus lies dormant near the body's spinal cord. When the virus is activated, it presents as painful blisters that start mid-back and spread around the front of the chest to the breastbone; this condition is called shingles.


While there is no known cause behind outbreaks, shingles affects people with high stress levels and weak immune systems.

Physical and Psychological Symptoms

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, persons with shingles complain of flu-like symptoms, fatigue and anxiety. The condition is disruptive to daily life and can cause angst and distress in sufferers.

Anxiety and Shingles

Shingles can produce frustration, irritation and depressive feelings. The pain can interrupt sleep and negatively affect mood, both risk factors for the development of anxiety.


The varicella-zoster vaccine (for shingles) and the varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) lower the risks of developing shingles. People who are prone to outbreaks should practice stress management and learn coping skills, which provide relief for patients during infections and lessen the chance of developing anxiety or making it worse during a case of shingles.

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