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MUSCLE SPASMS...ANXIETY....HELP?!?
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MUSCLE SPASMS...ANXIETY....HELP?!?

So....I am 25 yrs old, and upon returning from a fabulous trip to Italy, had my first panic attack (2 months ago).  Scariest feeling of my life!  For the last two months I have experienced severe anxiety on a daily basis and a tremendous fear of having another panic attack.  I feel short of breath often and lightheaded as a result.  I've lost my appetite and a few pounds as well.  Doctors ran blood tests to check for thyroid problems-came back NORMAL.  Funny, I surely don't feel normal!  I find that when sitting still and consumed with anxiety my legs and arms will tremble and jerk rapidly (the way you feel when you're extremely nervous and can't control your body).  I've consumed myself with anxiety and panic and worry of "maybe i have asthma, maybe i have parkinson's disease or something similar, maybe i  have cancer, etc."  I feel I am driving myself crazy.  My doctor gave me zoloft for the anxiety and xanax to be taken ONLY during a panic attack.  The first time I took zoloft (25mg) I felt dizzy, nauseous, irritable, shaky, so I did not take it a second time and the starter kit is still sitting on my kitchen counter.  I drink herbal teas made with chamomile, lavender, valerian, st. johns wort, etc., and they honestly do help for a little while, but I need something to make me feel like myself again.  I used to be so much fun!  I've had anxiety and nervousness for the last two months EVERYDAY.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I'm losing my mind and my patience.  My question is:  Are my symptoms (muscle spasms & jerks, shortness of breath, nervousness, etc.) similar to any other diseases besides anxiety disorder?  Is Zoloft the right medicine to take for anxiety without depression?  PLEASE HELP!!
Related Discussions
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Ask your doctor about Klonopin for anxiety, or Buspar.  Also, try seeing a therapist and get down to the root cause of your anxiety rather than just bury it with medication.  It has something to do with some decisions you have to make now about the course of your life...and that's what you should be thinking about.
21 Comments
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Hiya, I know what your going through and you have my sympathy. I found that the book by Dr. Claire Weeks (Hope and Help for your nerves) helped me out ALOT. It explains alot of what is going on in your body. I still have muscle spasms, jerking and the nervousness often but have learned to deal with it a little more effectively. I had more heart/chest symtoms (symptoms) at first and then moved onto the spasms and such. Zoloft can take up to six weeks to start working properly and can make the anxiety worse in the beginning. I have heard good things about it though...take care and good luck. If you need to chat or just complain to someone my email is ***@****. Traci
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I do feel for you, because I have been there. After having my first panic attack a couple of years ago, I found myself "spiraling" into what felt like a black hole. It is truly the worst feeling in the world. I had muscle twitches in my legs that I was sure was something serious. I couldn't eat (I had a hard time swallowing(, had chills, and felt like a bundle of nerves for weeks. I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with me. I finally sought psychiatric help and was told that all of my symptoms were panic/anxiety related. My doctor started me on Lexapro, and for the first several weeks, I did feel worse! I remember calling my doctors office crying because I didn't know how I could possibly feel worse than I did before I started taking the medication. Once it "kicked in," my life changed dramatically. I felt like a new person...I could stay positive, my husband and I don't argue, I'm more patient with my kids, etc. I have been on Lexapro now for two years now and feel that I'd like to try to wean myself off of it (although that doesn't look easy from what I've read). I will say that medication definitely takes time to take effect, and for me at least, it worked wonders. If you'd rather avoid medication, a great, inspirational book is called "From Panic to Power" by Lucinda Bassett. Please be assured that your symptoms are anxiety-related, and once you convince yourself of that, you'll likely feel better. I wish you the very best! :)
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Is it normal also to feel very short of breath throughout day, while feeling anxious, however not while having a panic attack?  The doctor did not notice any signs of asthma or bronchial problems, so it frustrates me that I feel short of breath, and my chest feels tight-kinda adds to my anxiety you know?  Thanks for the support, this forum is a very helpful tool for those of us dealing with these life-changing disorders.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't remember specifically feeling short of breath, but it's highly possible that I did. I absolutely felt like I was losing my mind and felt bad enough that I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with me physically. It wasn't until the Lexapro kicked in and I was able to rationalize what was really going on with my body. It is amazing how the anxious mind works and what a toll it takes on your body. If you have already been to the doctor and everything checked out fine, I'm pretty sure that all of your symptoms are anxiety-related. I say this because I went from feeling "rock-bottom" to feeling great within a matter of months on the medication. I am hoping that I will be able to use other techniques to cope after I wean off of the Lexapro, but it certainly worked wonders for me. The key is (and it is SO HARD to do when you are in anxious-mode) to try to stay positive and tell yourself "this is just anxiety making me feel this way and I can deal with it"...take a walk, get some exercise, listen to music that brings back happy memories, watch funny movies, etc...do whatever you can to bring yourself "up." You will get through it! :)
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I still get that way sometimes. It has been slowly easing up now for the past few months and I only get short of breath when my anxiety is sky high. Only walking across the room would make my chest tighten up and feel like I could not breathe...
Knani has a point on telling yourself that it is just the anxiety making you feel this way. Once you accept it is just anxiety then the feelings start to slowly go away. (very slowly I might add..lol) Also the book that Knani mentioned is also a very good book. I think it depends on you which book will give you the most insight. Take Care, Traci
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Avatar_n_tn
When you say that you are "anxious" ... are you specifically anxious about something, or just feel anxiety all of the time?

There are such a myriad of disorders which patients can present with when they say that they're "anxious."

Are you able to sleep?  

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Avatar_n_tn
I'm able to sleep fine, in fact, that is the only time I'm feeling at ease.  But the moment I awake in the morning, my mind's racing, my heart's racing, the butterflies in my stomach start up, and I'm a bundle of nerves the entire rest of the day.  Fun, huh?  It's sooo miserable.  I feel nervous and restless and uneasy and just overall physically worn out.  I, too, am convinced that there is something dreadfully wrong with me physically.  Is lexapro for anxiety?  Is zoloft (which my doctor gave me) for anxiety or depression?  I certainly need something specifically for anxiety and nervousness.
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

That symptoms that you are presenting with are consistent with this type of disorder.

Yup ... Lexapro & Zoloft are both indicated for this type of disorder.  Are you having success with Zoloft?
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Hi again worriedsick25...I also questioned whether Lexapro was for me, since it is an antidepressant and my diagnosis was panic disorder. Turns out that it works great for panic disorder, too. As I mentioned earlier, the Lexapro made me feel like a new person (after about 4-6 weeks). My only hesitation to saying "go for it" is my own fear about the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms of weaning off. It did help me tremendously, though. Believe me, before I started the Lexapro, there was no convincing me that I didn't have a serious illness because I felt so bad. I truly believe that anxiety/panic is your only problem. Best of luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have to agree with the doctor. It may take some digging, but you absolutely must find out the real reasons for your panic and anxiety. Are you currently in an unhappy relationship with a friend or family. What's going on in your life that may be unresolved? Sometimes you may find it's something you didn't think was a problem at all! Good luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know how you feel.  I've been having anxiety attacks for the last couple of months.  It's getting nuts.  I had anxiety before I started trying these meds, but I seem to be worse off now!!!  I used to take meds for the last 7 years off and on and had no trouble with them. But now after pregnancy, it's a whole different ball game.  Can't seem to find the right one.
Anyways, I have the muscle twitching too.  Also my muscle pain in my legs gets worse as my anxiety increases.  don't know if that happens to you or not.
keep trying and you eventually will get the right med or the right doctor.
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Avatar_n_tn
I really hope someone can help me out. I will start with a bit of medical history. About year and half ago I was started getting flu like symptoms. They would come back every 2 months or so and drove me completely mad. Stupidly, I started searching the Internet for symptoms of "weak immune system" and all I was getting was HIV. I convinced myself that I had HIV and lived with that thought for about 4 months until I could take no more & decided to have an HIV test. The results came back negative and for about 3 months I was really happy. I dicovered ImmunaAce tablets, which are excellent,ever since I have been taking them I had no flu symptoms so I guess it must have just been that my immune system was down for one reason or another. If you are wondering what this has got to do with anxiety please read on. Ever since these flu symptoms stopped I came down with other symptoms like - strange taste in my mouth, pressure behind my left eye, tingly feeling all over my arms and legs and so on. Last week I went to see my GP as I was browsing the Internet and realised that I could be having MS. My GBP told me that my symptoms do not sound like MS, she was not sure about the tingly feeling all over arms and legs though. Instead of feeling relieved that my symptoms do not sound like MS symptoms I now have other strange feeling in my arms and legs only. They just feel really really weak and my hands shake a lot. Do you think this could be panic attacks? I do not have any shortness of breath but occassionally I have this light headed feeling as though I am walking on cotton wool.  I do not have any symptoms in the night, I am sleeping quite well but as soon as I get up I start thinking about it and the weak feeling in arms and legs returns.  It has been like this for the past week and I really don't know what to do.  I don't want to go back to my GB as she will think I am a total hypochondriac but what to do? Do you think it could be just a panic attack and in time I will stop having these horrible symptoms? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Many thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

yesterday I finished a six month journey from neurologist to neurologist. I had about three different docs tell me three different stories. I basically have the same symptoms as most of you: muscle spasms, stiffness, soreness and my muscles seem to slowly degenerate (my arms are beginning to look like chicken wings). However, one diagnosed me with Stiff Person Syndrome, the other one didn't know and sent me to a third. The third diagnosed me with anxiety disorder; the second doc agreed with that and now I am being send to my general physician to receive meds for anxiety disorder...I guess that'll be zoloft or prozac or similar. But here is the thing: I am NOT anxious. I am not nervous and I do not have panic attacks or any of that sort. I feel like my docs are trying to make a mental case out of me, cause they can't come up with a diagnosis. Maybe I am just completely wrong, and deep down I am incredibly anxious...I don't know. Has any of you ever experienced the same? PLEASE let me know.
Thousand thanks.
Tanja
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
to me it sounds like you are in need of seeing another doc(s).
I am sure you have read up online what a panic attack is, and if you don't identify yourself with it, then go and see another
doc.
Good luck with that.
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Hi Everyone,
On the 25th May (See i even remember the date solidly)I had protected sexual contact with a questionable individual and less then a week later,my genital area and lower legs were aburst with pain/tingling and severe irritation.Although the idea of the contact was on my mind at the time i did not have any worries or concernes about contracting anything because i used a condom.It is now September and these symptoms have probably only rested for about six weeks in that entire time..I too convinced myself i was infected with HIV but the worst one of all was that i had convinced myself i was infected with Genital Herpes.Every symptom i had was described on the net of being Herpes and the evasiveness factor of the virus made me panic even more,i was checking myself for blisters everytime i had these symptoms almost every half an hour in the day.I have now been to five different sexual health doctors who have done culture swabs (RIGHT DOWN INSIDE MY PENIS PAINFUL)and have also told me that the virus does NOT present itself in the way i describe.the fact that i have heard identical information from so many sources is assuring but i still get the symptoms (Even the flu ones) and it is totally destroying my life...You feel good for a while when a doctor tells you you are fine,but you sink again.I think it must be subconscious though cause what reason do i have to not believe such reliable sources??

One thing i've learnt and i'd like to share with all people similar to me on here is that no matter how you feel,it is important NOT to search the web looking for information and creating a self diagnosis!You are not a doctor and this is only going to ruin your mental state further..I've been there and done it and all for nothing...despite this,how many sites have you read that all contain massive amounts of contradictory information on the same subject...??

To everyone here,please be well and i hope you are all enjoying life a little more...God knows i am trying

PaullyK
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I have to agree with you on the self diagnosis part. There is no way we can diagnose ourselves. However, we all can and have to be critical of the a doctor's diagnosis. Even if there are hundreds of doc's telling you, you do not have genital herpes; it may just be that you are visiting the wrong sort of doc or that you are so afraid of having it that your mind plays tricks on you.
A doctor's diagnosis doesn't have to be correct just cause he or she agrees with a lot of other doctors. Please be critical.
Look at it from this point: if a 1000 people tell you it's safe to jump off a cliff, and you know it is not, would you still do it?
Also, maybe you want to see a general physician, if you are in severe pain. Or maybe stop seeing docs for a while and stop driving yourself crazy-the mind is a very powerful thing.
Good luck, and try to enjoy life :-) It's too short as it is.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I am not sure what you mean about being critical towards doctors advice?What else can you do beyond accepting their advice? When a number of seperate doctors (Of whom have no idea what your last doctor had to say) relay a similar answer and diagnosis,that to me sounds reliable,It's hard to get that sort of outcome nowadays...When you say the wrong sort of doctor,is it the doctors personality you describe?Because a Sexual Health Clinic i thought would be the only real place for expert advice in these situations..

I am a little confused,please explain..

Paullyk
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Again,
I have just read one of your earlier posts and understand why you wrote what you have written previously,about being bounced from here to there with different diagnosis..and being critical of a doc's opinion.I think we are in different boats though because my situation has had the same outcome with each seperate doctor.But i know what you mean mind wise,Even after having the SAME opinion from a non specialist (GP) doctor it's hard to shake the feeling of something being seriously wrong,especially with persistent symptoms..

I think what i need to do now is block my PC from accessing any site to do with STD's..hehe

Take Care and be well

Paul
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Hi Paul,

yeah you got me right. :-) mmh, I was thinking more that you might need to see a different doc-not a sex health doc - go and see a GP and tell them what's up. Maybe that event just triggered something. Don't give up.
Take care,
Tanja
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Avatar_n_tn
Whats happening to me ?? can anybody help ?just home from the ER. after just having a perfect day with the ladies.,when on the way home in a traffic jam.My throat became irritated and I started to cough. Felt like I had inhaled some dust or something, in the next few minutes my voice became squeaky, the next few seconds I couldn't get any air in my lungs. I had some sort of bronchial spasm.Luckily for me my sons inhaler was in my bag giving me instant relief. The ER checked me out all seemed fine , giving me a Xanax for a few days. Does that sound like a panic attack, I'm so scared it will happen again. can anyone one give me advice . Thanks Lorraine
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