Hepatitis C Community
Anxiety - Fight or Flight Response?
About This Community:

This forum is for questions about medical issues and research aspects of Hepatitis C such as, questions about being newly diagnosed, questions about current treatments, information and participation in discussions about research studies and clinical trials related to Hepatitis. If you would like to communicate with other people who have been touched by Hepatitis, please visit our new Hepatitis Social/Living with Hepatitis forum

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Anxiety - Fight or Flight Response?

Updated info - 1b, 21/48, ND at 12 weeks.  In the last 2 or 3 weeks I've started experiencing anxiety.  It's not everyday and it's not depression.  It's that fear thing and feels like my body has kicked into high gear.  

If I remember correctly from school the fight or flight response has do with your adrenaline, doesn't it?

Has anyone else experienced this and what do you do/take for it?  I have an apt with doc but not till the 13th.  Valorie
Related Discussions
33 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
How many mg of Paxil are you taking?  I am starting out at 10mg and have a feeling it will not be enough.
Blank
85135_tn?1227293372
I am also no stranger to panic attacks. It may help you to know that you did nothing to cause your panic attack. One problem you may now face is the <b>fear>/b> of having another one.
Most modern AD’s work for panic attacks. It does not mean you have a lasting problem but it may be a good idea to talk to your Dr before your next appt about AD’s.
I take Lexapro for my depression and  anxiety. If you need relief at the time of an attack take  Zanax, Valium, Ativan or Klonopin.
I hope this information helps you. Let me know if you need more clarification.

Dana.
Blank
85135_tn?1227293372
Good post Deb.
P.S. I sure screwed up on my HTML code.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
My doctor prescribes me the Lexapro, I took one pill yesterday but I did not feel anything. May be a dosage is to small (5 mg per day). Can you please tell me what is your experience with med?
Thank you
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
Unfortunately, I'm not stranger to panic attacks either, 52 now and I've had them off and on since I was 25...the reason I get them is probably multi-factoral...I have hypoglycemia so if I don't get myself some protein and complex carbs (in a pinch, just protein will do) every 2 1/2 to 3 hours or so, it'll kick me into one...I also think it's a hormonal imbalance prob (and since the liver is the general of the hormones and mine is fighting off critters) that is prob at the base of it...

Women get them twice as much as men so that should say something about them being partially due to hormone imbalance...many people who get them are very intelligent (can I get an amen! ha ha!) and sensitive, so sometimes we tend to overthink things, when something is out-of-whack or whatever... we tend to blow it up in our minds as to the overall importance of it (a little obsession there)...it can be a subconscious thing...where the subconscious feels it is trying to protect you from something that is causing you fear, which can be be irrational but the subconcious doesn't deal with rationality, just fear (I know the basic mechanics of this process inside out but that fact alone doesn't stop them from happening to me, so intellectually knowing all this does little to help you with them)...

So it kicks your adrenals into high gear, and once that happens, the adrenaline kicks your system into pooling your blood to the main organs and that's why you might feel a little tingly and lightheaded, and weak in the arms and legs if it's a bad one...and make your heart beat faster and you take smaller breaths...which causes you panic, so it goes around and around...

What I do is try to keep my system as balanced as I possibly can...when something untoward happens, or I'm feeling edgy or whatever, I take deep calming breaths, and play with the panic, like categorize it...for e.g.: this is just a 2 on a scale of 10, I can bring it back down to a 1, that type of thing...there are many tecniques like this that can really help....

Now of course if youre taking these strong meds that will mess with many systems in your body, these other issues may not play such a great importance, but they will still help to calm yourself if you get into panic...doesn't matter what causes it...I'm capable enough now and have had so much experience that I rarely need to take a tranquilizer  (but I would if these other tecniques just didn't do it for me)

Of course if I was on treatment I'd probably have to take tranquilizers ALONG with these techniques, my meditation and hypnosis tapes, etc...I believe you get "twice" the benefit with using them both...for myself I would rather not take meds for panic unless I needed them...I don't think I would just take them daily as a matter of course, but that's just me, of course you do whatever you feel best for yourself...

But maybe you are just not the type of person to do these other techniques, not everyone is, so maybe just the tranquilizers alone will help do the trick for you...I have heard that ativan is easier on the liver than zanax, but I'm not completely sure on this...I've talked to docs that have told me this is true, and a few who told me they are both equally good, so there you are...

If you are interested in the techniques, there are many good books on the subject and also if you go to hypnosisdownloads.com they have really cheap downloads on panic and anxiety that you can listen to repeatedly (they are only like 7 bucks a piece) and it could really help you to deal with subconscious fears and make you feel much calmer and more in control of this...hope this helps...
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
I also neglected to say that some of these anti-d;s will help with anxiety and panic as well in most people...but the tranqs are good for the panic attacks...
Blank
92903_tn?1309908311
I used to have these problems. As Forsee said, low blood sugar was a big contributor. I walked around with 2mg valiums in my pocket, and took 1 or 2, here and there. Just having them and knowing they worked was a comfort. I haven't needed them for a good long while. But they were life savers when I needed them.

Good luck
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
Unfortunately, I am no stranger to panic attacks.  They are quite hard to deal with, and usually runs in families.  In the past, I never treated it, but just allowed it to come and go.  Now that I am on treatment, I did have a panic attack episode.   A couple of days ago at pilates class, I started getting very dizzy and it turned into a full blown panic attack.  Surprised me as I haven't had one in years, and this one was BAD.  Yesterday I had an appointment to see my NP and told her about my experience.  She put my on 10 mg Paxil to start with and Ativan.  She said to use Ativan for sleep as well, and to keep some with me in case my adrenals go hay wire again.  She mentioned that the treatment will bring on any you issues you might have had in the past and intensify them.  Or could create new ones.  This includes moods, mental, and physical.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My dr. gave me Xanax for the anxiety it works, helps you sleep also.

Monte
Blank
100019_tn?1335923317
I've never had panic attacks before.  When I read your post I did remember that just before the anxiety I did get light headed and dizzy.  Weird, huh.  I never connected the two.  Paxil you take daily.  Man, I was hoping for something I didn't have to take daily.

What about the Xanax?  Do you take it daily or just when the panic attack comes on?

And do we have any idea what causes them or brings them on?  It's just crazy that it would start out of the blue for no reason at all.  I can't figure out anything in particular that brings it on.

Thanks for answering.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
My doctor put me on Paxill a month before I started treating (because it takes a few weeks to work).  At the time I thought it was really stupid but I took them. Then I decided I didn't need them and stopped. Well I cracked up big time. Crying, anxious, depressed I mean REALLY just freaking out in only a few days of not taking them so I went right back on. Now I am fine.

I think what the pills do is keep you LEVEL no drastic highs or lows or anxiety building up or anything.

It often is the difference between being able to remain on treatment or not and I am glad I have been taking them.

I've had NO anxiety or nervousness or depression or anything.

PLEASE ask your doctor to prescribe something for you.  You can always go off it if you don't feel it's helping long term.

Maybe some Xxanax or something for the interim since the AD takes a few weeks would help.

You've got such a great history going you should be one of the LAST people to be feeling any of this - keep up the good work!
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
I am going to take the Paxil everyday.  Starting with 10 mg, and if that doesn't work I will go up on dosage.  A couple of years ago my doctor gave me Paxil for pre-menopausal sysmptoms (I'm not sure how that worked), but a side effect was no more panic attacks.  A year later, I weaned myself off the Paxil over a couple of weeks and was able to successfully stop using it.  

For some reason in certain people, the adrenal system goes into a fight or flight mode.  Normally, the flight or fight mechanisms is used to get one away from danger.  It is a powerful response and readies the body to either run or take on the danger.  Well, in our civilized society the danger doesn't have to be there to have an attack.  There are lots of theories why, but it doesn't help when you are one of them that has a haywire flight or fight response.  

For me I aways get a dizzy feeling first, then an otherworldly sensensation like I am not really here.  Then come the sweats, feeling like your going to pass out or have a heart attack.  It's truly horrible!  So when I found out that this might be a side effect for me on treatment, I went to the NP to get a rescue drug for this one!  Hope this helps.
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
just curious, did your hypoglycemia start clearing up once you got on treatment?, or anytime thereafter? I've heard a few different things on this...on the treatment lit I believe it says one of the side effects IS hypoglycemia (what a double drag that is) but then I've talked to some people who "were" hypoglycemic beforehand and their low blood sugar issues actually cleared up (course I want the latter for myself.)

Hey, didn't know you played golf?, (but it makes sense) betcha  there was a time I could of beaten ya on a short game...
Blank
96938_tn?1189803458
Good post to Mrs. O.  I learn something new here every day.
Blank
92903_tn?1309908311
I'd say it was pretty much cleared pre-tx. If it's changed on tx, then probably for the better. But quite frankly, the tx stuff might well mask it anyway.

I haven't played golf for a long time. Actually, not since I sold my course to that Japanese consortium. And the country club scene, I don't know, somehow it just seems so 'new money' these days, don't you agree?

-- Preston III
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I started on 10 for a while then he upped it to 20mg after I had gotten used to it.  It works WONDERS for me it really does. I mean honestly I'd love to stay on it forever...I never took anything like it before in my life but now I really "get" why people do.

It has levelled me out phenomenally.  It really helped.
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
i'm glad someone got something from my post...since I'm not on treatment now, I sometimes feel like I don't have much to add to the board, but I do know from panic attacks, unfortunately...

As for the hypoglycemia, I too have taken those glucose tests, etc. and I was always told I was fine too, and many a doc told me that my hypoglycemia was all in my head (or they inferred as much.) But of course a few hepatologists confirmed that many liver impaired people suffer from this because of glycogen(?) storage in the liver and sudden drops...this type of hypoglycemia does not show up on these glucose tolerance tests...only diabetic hypoglycemia does...the kind I have you can only diagnose by looking at the symptoms...if you go into a type of panic without eating after a few hours, and then feel all balanced and serene once you do eat...odds are you have it to a certain extent...although everyone will have drops in blood sugar - to a certain extent, I just have it worse than most people...

As far as the tecniques I have learned, when ever this does happen to you, engaging the rational side of your mind will help many people...along with some slow, full breathing...

Tell yourself that it's only your subconscious acting on random thoughts in your head..you know, all the silly thoughts that occur to you in these times, worst one is youre gonna die, youre gonna fall down and pass out and embarrass yourself in front of everyone...youre going to have a heart attack, youre going to choke, all these scary random thoughts....what's happening is your subconscious doesn't realize these are just silly random thoughts and interprets the fear as it's being true, so it puts in you in fight or flight mode and it's off to the races...

When this happens try to do something really practical, list groceries you need to get...try to do lists...think of the most basic, prosaic tasks and do them in your head, try to spell words, do times tables, etc. This can help take you out of the imaginative side of your head and it can help, then once you start feeling even just a little bit better, rate your panic attack, say, "you know I was at 5 or 6, but now I think I'm at a 3, that type of thing, soon you'll get to one and you'll be more functional, hopefully, till it goes away completely...

As far as the tranqs, for myself, I know I need to take these on an AS NEEDED basis, no matter what any doc has told me, and believe me many have told me to take them twice, three times a day, YIKES! boy, I'd get a lot of stuff done then, ha ha! Like drive my car into the LA River...but that's just my own opinion for what it's worth after years of having dealt with these types of issues...and pre-tx, I rarely have to take them now, though I know I will probably have to much more on tx...hope this helps...
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
I was thinking I might want to go to 20 mg.  Since I have already had 10 mg, it didn't do much for me, that is why I weaned myself off. Thanks for letting me know how much you take.

You have to have the constitution of a 'sherman tank'.  Being able to go 24 weeks and pushing through 60 is very admirable.  I am not sure I could do that.  You really go girl!
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
Thanks Foreseegood for the panic attack information.  I really liked the idea that we are an intelligent and sensitive lot :)  Sure seems like a lot of people have them.  Mine didn't come from hypoglycemia, I was repeatedly tested for that, and always came out fine.  So I basically lived with them since my teens.  Terrifying, but I didn't want to be addicted to valium, which they gave at the time.  So I 'grinned and bared' the attacks.  However, I don't want to deal with them on treatment!
Blank
100019_tn?1335923317
Wow!! Great information from everyone.  I appreciate ya'll taking the time to relate your experiences and suggestions.  I like the meditation/hypnosis ideas and Goofydad's taking of valium just for the attacks.  Of course, if the doc thinks I need to do something daily to stave off the attacks then I'll listen to him.

I just hate to take a daily ad for something that only happens once or twice a week and is a very recent occurence.  I wonder if it could stop as soon as it started?

NYgirl - thanks for your kind words.  I've been following your story with interest recently.  It just seems so unfair for a company/person to treat you that way.  Doesn't it seem like it's always the losers that are in power?

Forseegood - thank you so much for the detailed info.  I found it a fascinating read.  We on TX certainly have to put up with a lot, don't we?

I will say that besides those annoying panics I feel quite lucky with the sides.  I deal with the bumps, but nothing as serious as I've heard others dealing with.  And I feel very blessed not to have experienced the anemia many others have.

I pray everyone has an easy shot night tonight.
Blank
85135_tn?1227293372
5mg is the smallest dose for Lexapro. I’m on 40mg per day. It will take a couple of weeks to kick in. It will not have a highly visible effect. What will happen is you’ll think back and say “I don’t feel bad any more”. That’s a nice thing to happen.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Anise

I didn't really find any BAD difference between 10 and 20mgs (except I was tired at first getting used to it).  I don't think just 10 would have worked for me either...being American I am a More the Merrier type gal and I think 20 was MUCH better ;-)

Talk nicey nice to the doctor...and let him know a friend of yours is on 20 and doing great and you feel...blah blah.  Don't EVER tell him I said it on the internet or the white jackets come out. Man I HATE how my doc looked at me when I said that my first week LOL. Now I Just say "well I researched this and..."  :)  He thinks i'm really really smart now hahahaha.


Mrs O

Thank you for YOUR kind words.  I hate this place (work) I truly do. Would hate it is even if I WASNT doing treatment. I just want to be treated nicely and with RESPECT and that is not possible here....it seems for the people who work the hardest get treated like CRUD but the girls that flounce around and "chat" and flirt up the bosses well.......you know THEY make out fine.

I tell you - even if I had the energy I couldn't do that. Just not me. Don't get me wrong I just don't think women with their boobs hanging out at work winking at the guys is something I could do. So I sit here poor and treated like garbage and save my boobs for somewhere else ;-)  Just kidding you know....  ???
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
She prescribed me 5 ml per day. I think is to low? May be because I am just start a treatment?
Blank
85135_tn?1227293372
illona
Remember that nobody here is a Dr. I’m just a poor slob with a chemical imbalance. Oh yeah, and HCV. I went through about 6 months of trying different AD’s to find one without sx. Finally found Celexa did a good job. Lexapro is a new and improved<i>?</i> Celexa so my doc switched me over and it’s doing a good job.
Your Dr may be starting you out with a low dose to check for sx or maybe 5mg is all you need. Don’t be like Nygirl and myself, that more is better. I hope that a low dose is all you <i>need</i>.

Nygirl.
You don’t need to wink at me and I won’t treat you like garbage. Hint.Hint.

Dana (male)










































Blank
73878_tn?1214056807
Great information there!  It was all so iformative.  I too had experience with horrible anxiety attacks unbenounced to me what was really going on! Nothing really going on in my life except a %#*&+! husband of 23 years. I could be sitting in a restaurant eating or anyhing like that, look over at the Ex (that was it! Just occured to me!) and tell him " I don't feel well......boom!!!! pass out!  Wake up, vomit, ambulance would be called, and they could never find anything wrong at the hospital w/me.  This happended time & time again.  My reg doc finally fiqured it out therefore I was able to control w/Zanax and then stopped the med because I was then able to control it to a certain degree. Now they are completly gone and so is the ex!  But I'll tell ya, when one is coming on that you have no control over, it is the most horrilbe thing there is!  Think you are gonna die!

Again Forseegood, great read!
Thanks,
Fisheress
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
i was doin just the 5 mg 1st 3 weeks of trx;now i take 10mg 1 day and 5 mg the next-alternate dosing;seems like enuff, usually....lower the dose the bettr i like it-cuz ad's make me lazy....Anyways,play w/ dosage,type;do what yu need...The Main,the only thing that counts rite now is keeping yurself comfortable enuff to continue trx meds..
GOODLUCK
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
undrstand the fight or flight. Anxiety building in your chest. hard to breathe.feels like your head's gonna go POP! have that all of the time but over this past week real bad to where i can't sleep. I'm just taking handfuls of xanx. then another handful,and another,and another. but i guess thats not the answer but i'm just dughhhhhhh. others will surely know. they all know so much here. heck, the medicinal mary jane for the glacoma doesn't even help:) I truely hope you get the answers you're looking for and i FOR SURE hope you feel better. in my thoughts.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
the way I linked my irritability to low blood sugar, not technically hypoglycemia, was by documenting the time myself each time they drew the blood in the 3-4 hr glucose test and my emotions/physical being  at the time of the draw.  When I compared the numbers, I was the most irritable, weak, dizzy, at  the lowest  readings. I was not dx with hypoglycemia either, but I finally learned that my body was very sensitive to blood sugar drops.  I used to faint in church, waiting for communion, because we had to fast for it three hrs! And when I tried Atkin's, yrs ago, I wanted to sue the moron for coming up with that 'diet'.  I wonder if that is why he fell and was killed? Too weak.

of course, just because you are not on tx, which is the focus of many threads, it does not mean you can  not help someone with your experiences. I am glad you stick around.   Do you still delphi?
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
Hi, what you might of been experiencing is "reactive hypoglycemia"
http://www.indiana.edu/~health/hypogly.html

and this can resolve, sometimes, just on it's own...particulary since youre hep c free now, cause liver impairment can result in this condition...before, only a few docs would aknowledge this condition (I had so many tell me this was it in my head because of the glucose tolerance testing being negative, that's why, sorry to say, I'm not as "taken" with the whole medical profession as a lot of people, I've just had too many docs give me bad calls throughout the years, now, fortunately, some in the medical profession have caught up on some conditions, and I have a great doctor now)

my hepatologist told me that this is "more frequently observed" in his patients so he looked into it and could see that there was something to it...it can also be called "functional hypoglycemia" and there are a few good websites on how to treat this with proper diet, etc....of course everyone's blood sugar will drop if they go along time without eating, and it's recommended that everyone eat smaller meals more frequently...but especially with people like me...I've had a few hep flare ups, and I noticed the time between meals became even shorter...that was a real drag...

I just think it's worth noting that if a person is experiencing panic attacks, they should see about eating more frequently...taking a little food with them when they are away from home, some peanut butter on a multi-grain cracker, etc..and see if they don't feel better just with the food...this could be a tip off....of course, low blood sugar is not the only reason for panic attacks as well....

I still go to Janis, and sometimes some sites that deal with nutrition and hep c, etc. but as some of my pals have so widely observed, I already know a whole poo poo load about this disease, it's time to just hop on the train...though sometimes all these numbers on lab tests and treatment make my head swim, you and some others here are so much more well versed on these types of issues, I will be happy to benefit from your expertise in this area when my time comes....thanks to you and others like you....
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
Hi!! anyway, this stuff is soooo complicated with prob many different issues effecting people...that's why I've written so much about it...but as I said in my post...some hypoglycemics (these "types" of hypoglycemics) can register pretty normal readings, the only way to tell for sure is if you go into some panic and eat, if youre symptoms subside right away...

some different kind of hypoglycemics - post crandial, etc. can actually not get any symptoms at all and still have dangerously low blood sugar readings...like I said, most doctors ONLY acknowledge blood sugar readings, though my hepatologist knows better...

A really good integrative specialist is the one who pinpointed my case when i was around 25, after going to an array of expensive Beverly Hills specialists who only gave me valium (they did not feel it was hypoglycemia so nothing was said about diet or eating patterns - not acceptable as I was in college at the time and couldn't afford to be zonked out on valium all the time) this guy went by my symptoms and eating pattern questionairre....he told me how to change my diet and to eat small meals every 3 hours, (if I don't do this I'm in big trouble, sometimes I forget to eat and bam, it hits!) VIOLA all my panic attacks that had been plagueing my life for 2 years were gone!

Until recently I"ve begun to get them again (though they are much more managable now) once I went into menopause (for the last few years) and of course my hep symptoms started to kick in...so it's all tied-in in my case...why people get Panic Attacks can be due to hormone imbalances and/or chemical imbalances, a host of things...I know many people who get them and there aren't any of these things playing into it...

I'm just glad that you are doing really well...where are you at in your treatment? it's hard to keep track of everybody...have a great weekend!
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
I read your email with interest.  I have been testing many times for hypoglecemia, and my numbers are way too normal.  I have been to M.D.'s , naturopaths, D.O.,s, Chinese doctors, chiropractors...... What I did find out was my panic attacks had more to do with my hormones.  During the times around my periods I would get  severe panic attacks.  During menopause it happened frequently, but after that it settled way down.  Until now.....  The NP gave me some Ativan and paxil.  Today, I feel normal and great, it is a beautiful day outside and life is good.
Blank
108191_tn?1199603505
You certainly know a lot about this subject.  I agree people are so different, it is like a sleuth game trying to ferret out causes to symptoms.  You know, I am going to try your advice about eating and see if that helps any.  

I am doing really good right now.  Almost feels as though I am not on treatment (nothing to do, of course, to the helper drugs).  

It is hard to keep up where everyone is at, I agree.  I just did my 3rd shot thursday.  So I am still new to all of this.  Thanks for asking.
Blank
86075_tn?1238118691
Hi Anise, so good to hear that you are doing relatively well on the meds...anyway, I know it might sound a little "woo woo" to some people that I think you can have a condition even without it being necessarily "verified" from a blood or other diagnostic test...but we are all different... and I have heard from so many people that they ended up finally getting validated in having a condition when they had gone to so many docs in the past and had been "invalidated" ...being told that what they had was probably "psycho-somatic" or whatever...I have read this even from some people on this board as to their having hep c...not every doctor is a genious and/or they aren't all that open minded about things and they can tend to be a little rigid and stuck on certain protocols...

I have this one girlfriend that had all the symptoms of low-thyroid, yet, when she'd go to docs and be tested, she would test out normal and they couldnt do anything for her (boy, do I know this feeling)...she had gone to one doc after another because she was on the verge of losing her rather lucrative job because she felt so ill...she finally went to this one specialist who had written a book about thyroid and women's health issues...the minute he saw her he told of a few patients who didn't register on any tests but they were low thyroid anyway and he gave her the meds for it...low and behold, she responded and her life changed...he said he had other patients where the same thing happened...this doc was just more of a risk taker and realized that just like the medical profession cannot "cure" all conditions, the diagnostic testing procedures aren't all foolproof either....not yet anyway...
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Hepatitis C Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Hepatitis Answerers
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
can-do-man
IN
317787_tn?1373214989
Blank
Dee1956
DC
1815939_tn?1377995399
Blank
pooh55811
683231_tn?1408489117
Blank
flyinlynn
Auburn, WA
163305_tn?1333672171
Blank
orphanedhawk
Rural Mural, CA
446474_tn?1404424777
Blank
HectorSF
CA