I would like to know if you think my symptoms might be that of Panic Disorder. I am 19 years and currently attend college near my home in Chicago. Ever since about 3 months ago, I have been abnormally anxious. The trigger was a CPR class that I took (forced to as part of work) when I had a panic attack, after watching a movie about a person having a heart attack. Since then I have been anxious almost every single day, and have been admitted to the hospital once after suffering an attack at my apartment. While in the ER, I was diagnosed with tachycardia and after they told me I would be admitted my heart rate went from a 105 to 140 due to me freaking out. Since that trip to the hospital I live in constant fear and have panic attacks about once every other day, and have trouble breathing usually accompanied with chills. Do you think I might have a panic disorder, or even OCD. Any help is good help. Thanks - Jericho
Panic and anxiety can really be a pain in the your know what and can seem to come out of nowhere; especially health anxiety, which is what was the original source of mine. If the doctors say you are okay physically then you are okay....plus your really young which is a good thing! Have you ever had anxiety in the past or have you had stressors lately? College can definately be a stressfull time in one's life. Panic can be very confusing and scary when experienced for the first time...the answer to your question is 'yes' in my opinion...it can definately be anxiety. I encourage you to read and learn more about it here and if it gets to where you are having problems like you are now, you may want to get some counseling if it is available..I know most schools have some sort of service available. Please keep us posted!
First off, you got great advice from cj and I agree that you are experiencing some health anxiety. But the good news here (YES! Good news!) is that you KNOW what the trigger was...........that CPR class and watching an actor pretend to have a heart attack. Why do you think that caused you such anxiety? Have you lost someone to a heart attack?
You said that ever since you watched that film, you've been anxious. Fear, worry, stress, anxiety.............any and all of these can bring on an episode of tachycardia. When you went to the ER, I'm sure they did many tests. One of which would have been an EKG or ECG........those tests tell the doctors what your heart is doing. Your heart was no doubt going "wonky" from an anxiety attack which showed up on the EKG. Blood work would have ruled out a heart attack as did the apparent total lack of any other indicators. (Chest pains, sweating, pain in your left arm, paleness, shortness of breath) And then there's your age............how many 19 years olds do you hear about having heart attacks? When they said they were going to admit you, your heart rate jumped to 140 BPM. Tachycardia ranges from 150-300 BPM. You should have been cut from the team right then!
At 19, I'm going to assume that you're pretty active. Play any hoops or backyard football? How fast do you think your heart rate gets to then? Does it freak you out that your HR could be as high as 180? Did you even give it much thought until you saw that film? Probably not. Never underestimate the power of your mind!
How long did the tachycardia last while you were at the hospital? They would have probably given you something to calm down, which should have stopped the tachycardia, which in my humble, non-medical opinion was anxiety induced. Did they not talk to you about anxiety and panic at that time? Did you tell them about being freaked out by the CPR movie? Ruling out an organic reason for your tachycardia, which they obviously did, should have left them with the diagnoses of ANXIETY.
When they released you the next day, what did they tell you? From your post, it sounds like they told you nothing! But, since the hospital ordeal, you've been "living in constant fear and having panic attacks every other day." It's time to take the bull by the horns here, Jericho and get to the campus infirmary or your regular doctor and let them know what is going on! This is now obviously affecting your life in a very negative way, interfering with your schooling and it's time to stop it before you spiral out of control. And by the way, difficulty breathing and chills are classic symptoms of anxiety...........NOT OCD!
A little more reassurance. If the doctors at the hospital thought for ONE SECOND that you were in any danger of having a heart attack,if they thought there was something wrong with your heart, you would NOT have been discharged or if you had been, you would have been sent to see a cardiologist for a lot more testing immediately. And you weren't! So there!
See your doctor. Tell him this story. Ask about anxiety and possibly some short term therapy, which as cj said, should be available to you on campus.
You'll be fine! You're young and healthy. Do NOT sit in your apartment and dwell on this. Get some help and get on with your education..........and your life.
Thank you so much to the both of you, thank you for all of your advice and yes maybe I will go see someone at my university. to answer some of your questions when I first got to the hospital my heart rate was around 160, but once I got into the ER I felt a little safer and it dropped and was at its lowest around 85 BPM's which is really good. I did have an EKG done almost the minute I got into the ER, in which they said I was not at risk for a heart attack. After about 2 hours in the ER I had a chest X-Ray performed, which according to the doctors I spoke to showed nothing wrong at all. My blood work came in good but showed lower then normal potassium levels. Following this they gave me some Bayer aspirin and Potassium.
I do have Thanatophobia (or fear of death) which developed after losing about 5 immediate relatives in a 2 year period when I was about 10 or 11 years of age. The movie I watched just rattled me, and that's when my symptoms began. But in my regular life, I was a cross country runner in High School. And every morning I wake up and go for about a 10 mile jog, and never once think of might heart.
Finally I have seen my doctor who has recommended me to a clinical Psychologist, an appointment I made this afternoon and will be seeing him this Thursday.
Anyways thank you so much, it feels good to find a group of people who understands what I am going through.
get some zanax
when i was 30 i got major panick attacks
i finally got zanax
although it made me tired it took the uneasy felling away and after a while just having a pill with me was enough to make me not have any more attacks
until recently lol but its been 14 years panic free
You are DEFINITELY not alone here! Health anxiety and fear of death is what initially started my anxiety and losing people close to us are also 'triggers.' That is actually when I suffered first from anxiety; my grandfather passed away due to cardiovascular complications and that got me worrying. You have been through a lot and you are recognizing that you are experiencing the not so fun aspects of anxiety, but you are also recognizing it and willing to confront it which is VERY important. Also, BELIEVE the docs when they say you are okay..keep us posted!
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