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OCD, anxiety, panic and cardiophobia?
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OCD, anxiety, panic and cardiophobia?

Hi everyone,

In Spring of 2012 I completed grad school in the South. Unable to find a job, I had to move back home with my mother and grandmother in the Midwest. The move was already anxiety-inducing--I had so many questions running through my mind: "How will I ever pay off student loans if no one will hire me?," "What is going to happen to me?," "How lame am I for having to live with my mother who has a job and works while I don't have one?"

In August, I threw out my back, lost health insurance coverage for anything spine-related, and completely broke down. The pain was so severe that it became all I could focus on and I was unable to walk for several months, having to crawl instead.

My first doctor initially put me on Effexor, but it induced a serious panic attack accompanied by a scarily high heart rate and palpitations. I was sent to the ER, where they did Vagal maneuvers, a chest x-ray and even a fluid test to make sure blood was distributing properly and they could find nothing, instead telling me to stop Effexor (they gave me Ativan to calm me down).

Anyway, I'd also done blood labs just because I hadn't had them taken in a long time. My cholesterol was somewhat high (122 I think? does that sound right?) but everything else--my good cholesterol, fats, vitamins/minerals, whatever they can tell from a blood test was optimal.

I've since been put on Lorazepam which helps me greatly, but I still go through the day constantly fearing that my heart will stop or I will have a heart attack. I'm close to being underweight if anything and tend to eat verily healthily, though because of my back issues I'm unable to get much exercise.

I was wondering if this sudden cardiophobia could be related to the sudden changes in my life--finishing school, transitioning jobs, moving in with mom, injuring my back--and triggered by my anxiety, panic and OCD? But why my heart?

I see people in their 80s who've lived long, full lives having slices of cake and thinking nothing about it. Meanwhile, I obsess over everything I consume and constantly fear my own demise is just around the corner. What can I do? Has anyone suffered this problem? There are so many other vital organs I don't obsess over I just don't understand it.
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If your total cholesterol was indeed 122 it is great. They want you to be at 200 or below.
Yes, any kind of change whether good or bad can cause you to have anxiety. I think the cardio fears are because of what happened to you when you were on Effexor. Any med can have possible side effects, and you did have some severe side effects from this med. It's good that you went to the hospital to be checked out. Now you know your heart is perfectly fine.  
I do think having anxiety about the heart is probably in the top 2 worries for us anxiety sufferers. We tend to notice every beat, if we have a panic attack it feels like a heart attack at times. Would it be possible to get in to therapy to help you with your heart phobia?
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