DEPRESSION/MENTAL HEALTH
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MS or extreme anxiety/hypochondria?
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by Parrotsmuggler, Jun 10, 2006
About two weeks ago, I was working on some schoolwork on the computer when I realized that I felt a little lightheaded. I got up from my chair and felt slightly dizzy. I immediately became worried and cancelled my workout for that morning (I thought that maybe I had had a TIA - my father had one a few months ago, so I guess that's why it came to mind). I looked up dizziness on the internet and read about the various medical conditions that can cause it. I soon realized that it was very unlikely that I had had a TIA or a stroke. However, MS did come up in my search and I spent awhile reading up on the symptoms of MS. Later in the day, I got a tingling feeling in my left foot and since then everything has gone downhill. Over the last two weeks, I've developed just about every MS symptom there is, some have stayed with me, others have gone away, only to be replaced by others. I've experienced:

-intermittent tingling in feet, legs, hands, and face
-a feeling of weakness in my legs and arms
-muscle twitches all over my body
-seeing floaters
-a feeling of being off balance
-perceived hand/forearm weakness
-finger twitching, eye twitching
-sometimes I feel like my vision is blurry but when I rub my eyes, it goes away
-fatigue
-lower back pain
-leg stiffness/leg pains
-chest pain
-sometimes I feel as if the tips of my toes have gone numb, but when I touch them, the sensation is normal
-lack of coordination (I feel like my movements aren't as precise as they were before)
-a feeling of tightness in my face, intermittent pain in my face
-itchiness all over
-overreaction to the cold
-sometimes I can feel my heart beating very strongly, sometimes it feels like it's skipped a beat.

I just don't know what to make of all this. I've seen three GPs and they've all said stress. I went to the ER and the doctor said my neurological exam was perfect (unfortunately, they didn't give me an MRI). And yet I really don't feel that all this is being caused by stress...I mean, the most stressful thing in my life right now is the thought that I have MS.

Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Answer:
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by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank, Jun 11, 2006
Stress is the wrong word.  This is a very familiar onset of anxiety disorder focused on ms.  It is impossible for ms to come on like this, so suddenly, and not have any neurological signs. You should see a therapist or ask your doctor for Klonopin for your anxiety.
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Member Comments (44)
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by born2bfree, Jun 10, 2006
hey guy, check the topic two below yours. we are all discussing the "symptoms" that arise from anxiety. without even knowing you or seeing you i'd bet a million dollars you don't have MS. I've had these SAME symptoms for about a year now and I also thought I had MS, ALS, Parkinson,Some undiagnosable condition. STRESS causes anxiety and after awhile, our body just says enough of this stuff. Its starts acting weird and then this is where the nasty cycle starts. The symptoms start and you start worrying about them which causes more anxiety which in return causes more symptoms. in keeps getting worse until you can get some sort of control of it. you first have to get piece of mind that you are "physically" fine. once you get that in your head(which isn't easy to do because a person keeps thinking something else is wrong)it is then you stop the nasty cycle. it doen't always mean your going to get better right away but at least you can then begin to cope with the root cause of how it all began. I've been going thru this for about a year now and believe it or not there have good days but let me tell you, the bad days still come. the difference is i realize this is anxiety and not a physcial disease. if you ever want to email me my email is ***@****.
God Bless and hang in there. It does get better and easier to live with.
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by born2bfree, Jun 10, 2006
also look up the term derealization. it may answer your "dizziness" symptoms.
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by Parrotsmuggler, Jun 10, 2006
Thanks for commenting. I'd really like to believe that what I'm experiencing is anxiety, but it's very tough to believe this when all your symptoms point to one disease...MS. Unfortunately, the symptoms of MS coincide almost perfectly with those of extreme anxiety so it's impossible to tell what symptoms are being caused by what.

Even right now, typing at the computer, both my forearms feel weak and sore, my left eye is twitching, etc...so frustrating. I'll tell you one thing, if this isn't MS I'll be signing myself up for CBT!
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by born2bfree, Jun 10, 2006
i bet the reason for your weakness is that your totally tense with your body. i bet if you check yourself right now, your back is tense, your arms are clenched, you probably are sleeping tense. i was there, i could barley walk a half a mile without feeling like i had to sit down, previous to that i was jogging a couple miles a day without a problem. just sit back a TRY to relax and not focus on everything you notice about your body. you realize stuff that you've probably had for years but now it will be something you will worry about. sit down and say a prayer that god will give some peace and relaxation. it helps.
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by Parrotsmuggler, Jun 11, 2006
What's crazy about health anxiety is that a person can create any physical symptom. When I was worried that I had testicular cancer, I had pain and aching there. When I was worried that I had bone cancer, I had shooting pains in my legs. When I thought I had a brain tumour, I felt off balance, had head and eye pains and felt nauseous. Thinking about these past instances of hypochondria makes me feel better to some degree.

The thing is, this case somehow feels different from the others. I've never experienced so many symptoms at the same time and they were never this persistent. Maybe the stress had just gotten worse and worse over the years and I've finally reached the breaking point.
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by Jenny Wren, Jun 11, 2006
Hello there.  I want you to know that you are not the only one with these strange happenings.  Mine all started about 6 years ago with facial tingling.  I started looking up stuff on the net and bang, guess what came up? MS.  I panicked, cause my gram was diagnosed with MS when she was 60.  Not to long after looking this stuff up, I started getting really paranoid, and noticed every little thing about my body, soon I started with muscle twitches, creepy crawling sensations ( only with clothes on), muscle tension, headaches, heart palpitations, you name it, I probably had/have it.  I never endured numbness though.  I finally after 6 years, decided to have a brain MRI done, the only thing that came back was sinus infection.  I still to this day worry about MS, I know its sometimes hard to diagnose.  I have felt a little better knowing that after 6 years probably something would have shown by now (MRI).  My next step is maybe trying an antidepressant, although Prozac didn't seem to work in the past when this all started, your mind can play havoc on your body, I hope that the problem with you, and me, and also a number of people here turns out to be "HEALTH ANXIETY".  By the way, I seen your postings on the MS forum, it's a scary thing.
I hope you feel better soon.
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by Parrotsmuggler, Jun 11, 2006
Thanks for responding. I hope you don't mind if I ask you a few questions. Did the majority of your symptoms begin after you started reading up on MS? Did you experience pretty much the same symptoms as me?
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by Jenny Wren, Jun 11, 2006
Hi there, yes the symptoms all started after I read about this, at that time, my only symptom was nausea, and somewhere on the net MS came up as a potential symptom, that's when I panicked.  After that, it's been all downhill, been this way for 5, maybe 6 years.  My symptoms don't follow the typical MS pattern, mine are there all the time, I have found that when I'm busy, I don't notice it at all, it's when I try to relax, or I'm bored, go figure, the mind is complex, I wish everyday that all these feelings will go away.  If you find any helpful information, please let me know.  Try to relax, better said than done.