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Avatar universal

Anxiety and Depression or worse?


I'm kind of freaking out about weather I'm having a series of panic attacks or if I have something more serious.

Quick medical history:

Age 19: back injury to middle back
- Muscle spasms, mostly when lifting weights or bending the wrong way - middle back. Stand for too long on some days, back is usually sore.

Age 22- became lactose intolerant, C-Diff

2 1/2 years ago - inflammation of the inner ear, hearing loss. Hearing returned to 95 percent with Prednisone. Had a serious bout of depression and anxiety lasting approximately one month. I thought it was due to the Prednisone.

Current symptoms, some of which have been going on for 2 weeks (and under):

Started weekend of February 20th - feelings of light headed, some slight "floaty" feeling. I should note that time of year is the 2 year anniversary of a very sudden and traumatic divorce for me.

Scalp tingles sometimes, band of tension around head sometimes. Enhanced when concentrating at work. Less when I lay down.

Extreme anxiety, tension, short breath

Sleeping trouble, waking up suddenly in the morning very suddenly. Some insomnia too.

Large change in mood - not wanting to go out or be around too many people

Feeling of lightheadedness, fogginess - starts usually late morning

Some days sensitive to light - brighter foggier vision

Sometimes slight headaches, various parts of my head - top, front behind eyes,

Sometimes face feels flushed

Ears sometimes feel full, pressure above ears

Appetite has decreased a little

Right arm and hand, 2nd from right finger, most used arm at work (pen and mouse) feels more strained and weak, sometimes part of it a little numb. This part is worrying me the most right now, and has been going on for a few days. Every so often I get pins and needles on my left arm too. I can still squeeze and use my hand - it just feels more difficult than before all this started.

Finding it harder to concentrate, having to leave work early.

Very Frightened.

I'm seeing an ENT on Tuesday as a start, and my girlfriend suggests seeing a neurologist. There's no history of any neurological problems in my family as far as I know, but there is anxiety and depression (and dementia) on my fathers' side of the family. My sister has anxiety, she's been on antidepressants. My mom's mother did have Parkinson's late in life, now that I think about it.

I also see a therapist bi-weekly (been doing that since the divorce 2 years ago), and just saw someone yesterday who specializes in anxiety and meditation.

To sum up- I'm scared - should I be on antidepressants, is this something much worse?
24 Responses
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yea i have most of  the symdoms to its makeing me crazy you think you have like illness and things yea your mind feels like your not in this world me to sick and tired of the way i feel
Avatar universal
So any serious thoughts here? Why would my arm be sore?
Avatar universal
Cheap Paxil
Avatar universal
My arm and wrist get sore from repetitive stress. You use millions of tiny muscles while on a keyboard, and if you are unlucky, they start rebelling after a while. Some people never experience this, some end up with it so bad that they need surgery.

I have had it for 15 years, off and on. I had to get physio for the tendons in the upper part of my forearms about 5 years ago, but after 15 sessions, presto, instant cure and I have never had a problem there again. I still get lots of numbness and pins and needles tingling when I type too much. Those are warning signs to slow down but they have never turned into a problem.

If you are concerned, see a physiotherapist. Most likely they will tell you there is no issue and may even give you a hand guard so the sore tissues get a rest. No damage will happen to a young person like you for a long time after you get the warnings, so relax until you see the physio person. Maybe buy a wrist guard at a pharmacy and use it on the keyboard for a few weeks and see if everything goes away.

Write back.
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone. I suspect the arm soreness if from fatigue, which is giving me a pretty bad headache around my eyes right now. I've been really tired the past couple days, but haven't been able to sleep well at all. Probably due to panicking about what I'm feeling, which is probably making what I"m feeling even worse.

I've never been on meds before - the idea kind of scares me.
Avatar universal
I have an anxiety disorder and sometimes my arm and wrist get really tight and sore--it's literally from anxiety.  

If you are nervous about being on meds (and I don't blame you) you might want to see a Naturopathic Doctor.  The NeuroReplete protocol works well for a lot of people.  It's not drugs at all--it's pills of amino acids that you take which are the building blocks your body needs to make serotonin and other chemicals that anti-depressants work with.  

You might also want to try GABA and/or L-Theanine.  They have helped me a little bit when I take them together.  There are really no negative side effects to these except they may make you a bit tired if you take a LOT.  

If you do go on medications, just do your research before you actually swallow anything.  If you're well informed, you can work better with your doctor/therapist and achieve better results.  
Avatar universal
Meds are nothing to be afraid of, however don't take them unless your doc thinks you need to. Meds don't turn you into a zombie, and aren't a sign of weakness. They just help shield a person from some of the pressures that can crop up in anyone's life. I had a very anxious and depressed situation going on in my head, but solved that by taking Celexa for 7 months. I felt great the whole time on it, and then I went off.

Based on the amount of worrying you have done over the arm and your medical history (which seems pretty routine to me), I think you just need to find ways to relax, if possible. It looks like you have no physical medical problems, but anxiety can make mountains from mole-hills, so relaxing isn't always easy.

Your therapist should have lots of non-medical suggestions to help you relax. Life is short, and unpredictable, so is meant to be experienced and enjoyed. I hope you are able to get to the point where that happens.
Avatar universal
Please see a good physician and eliminate all physical explanations before you go to a psychiatrist.  The current listing of emotional dysfunctions includes every human on Earth, and remember, I would assume that those of us on this board have been diagnosed with anxiety and believe me, you know it when you have it.  Your symptoms sound pretty unlike plain old anxiety to me, but how would any of us know?  As for antidepressants, they don't cure anything, they just help with symptoms, and create a whole lot of new symptoms because of their side effects.  They can also be very difficult to come off of, depending on what you take and the luck of the draw.  They also wouldn't be the first choice for someone just suffering anxiety as you describe, that would probably be some sort of relaxant, not an antidepressant.  But always eliminate the physical first -- there are hundreds of possible causes for many of the so-called mental ailments people have, including migraines, blood sugar imbalances, hormone imbalances, thyroid problems, etc.  To me, having suffered with panic attacks for many years, and now suffering anxiety thanks to a medication foul up, I would say antidepressants are a last, not a first, resort.  Unlike the person who had the wonderfully easy experience with celexa, many have terrible problems with these drugs, and as for the guy who suggested cheap Paxil, going off that drug is one of the hardest things there is to do in life.  I never recovered.  On the other hand, if it does turn out to be a mental problem, work on it first with your therapist.  If you're still in therapy after two years and aren't any better, get another therapist first -- it sounds like a habit if the breakup was your only problem.  So it could well be a mental problem, just be sure as you can what you're dealing with first and remember, psychiatrists will always find a mental problem -- that's how they earn their living and virtually everyone fits some definition in the tests they use.  And most are complete quacks, so see a good one who listens to you if you go that route.  Just saying, find out what you have first, act second.  Try therapy before meds.  Try natural before pharmaceutical.  Try pharmaceutical only if, as in my case, nothing else works.
Avatar universal
Most of what you say I can agree with, especially the part about meds being a last resort as I had noted above. However this part you said below is a bit overdone;
"As for antidepressants, they don't cure anything, they just help with symptoms, and create a whole lot of new symptoms because of their side effects."

If they cured nothing, they would not be prescribed.
I had a very bad time with anxiety and depression but Celexa was able to peel back the blackness and the fears. This relief let me live my normal life while I was on it for 7 months. I went off it and have felt fine since. The longest lasting side effect was yawning, which lasted for a few months, but was hardly comparable to the anguish depression brought on.

It was easy to come off, as there is no addiction, but some people get lots of extremely bothersome withdrawal effects. Again, if you have experienced relief and can escape depression, that is priceless and is worth any amount of withdrawal pain since that is not long lasting.
It is almost impossible to come out of a deep depression on your own, so meds do have a purpose, whether short term in order to "jump-start" my happiness, or for some people a long term aid to help them keep mobile while the depression rages on and tries to pull them under.

I read on CNN that they do not work at all for something like 15% of people, so there is no guarantee. The full article is on my site as a journal, if you care to read it.

I didn't think dgunz needed meds, but it is not something that this board can determine. I just posted to provide information, but will leave this thread since dgunz has lots of info and seems relaxed about the arm problem.
Good luck all, and try to stay anxiety and depression free.
Avatar universal
I didn't say meds aren't helpful, I  said they don't cure anything.  That is true, they don't.  They just mask symptoms, for some better than for others.  A cure is when something goes away and never comes back; meds don't do that.  In fact, depression and acute anxiety are very difficult to cure, they are most often recurrent, like cancer, which is also very seldom cured but more often the symptoms are controlled.  The reason for this isn't that meds are bad, it's that nobody understands yet what's causing these problems and therefore there is no known cure, at least scientifically.  People do, however, often cure themselves, with help, and it seems you did so, and for that you have my congratulations.  Celexa, for example, like all ssris, helps the brain reuse serotonin, but there is no scientific evidence that anyone lacks sufficient serotonin.  For myself, imipramine helped me where therapy never did, and when it stopped, Paxil helped, but both came with a tone of side effects, and I have never recovered from Paxil withdrawal.  If you go to chat rooms specifically devoted to withdrawal you will find many, many people who have had severe problems with Celexa, too.  It doesn't mean everyone does, it means many do.  We don't know how many, but if you read this board or any other you'll see people suffering with all kinds of problems with drugs.  That's why I recommended they be used only as a last resort.

I'm afraid your CNN info is contrary to any double blind study I've ever seen, but of course there aren't very many of them.  In the trials of Celexa and Paxil, they only worked a little better than placebo, a large proportion of the small number of people tested dropped out of the studies because of side effects, and a large proportion suffered pretty uncomfortable side effects.  As for effectiveness, on the NIMH website I found about the only double blind studies I could find that found at best a 30% effectiveness rate for antidepressants, which could be raised to 50% with a combination of meds, but then the dropout rate increased significantly and these studies only study moderately dysfunctional people -- anyone with a serious problem or more than one problem is eliminated from all drug studies done by pharmaceutical companies.  (Cognitive therapy also scored only about a 30% success rate).

I don't take these studies as gospel.  The only studies I know of that were double blinded on withdrawal found that Zoloft had a 60% occurrence, and Paxil a 67% occurrence,  but unfortunately the objectivity of this study is in question because it was paid for by Eli Lilly, which makes Prozac and was trying to prove it's safer.  Another major factor in effectiveness is that everyone is different; Prozac and Zoloft didn't work at all for me, it was like drinking water, but Paxil had an effect fairly quickly, as well as a lot of side effects.  Both increased over time, meaning the side effects and the effectiveness, but as I said, my withdrawal was very severe, though that was mostly due to an incompetent psychiatrist who apparently hadn't read the websites of the drug manufacturers warning of withdrawal and how to treat it.  But you see, that was just my experience, and the Celexa experience was just yours, they don't mean the same will happen to any particular individual.  The point is, these drugs are very powerful, and are very often prescribed for people who don't need them, and they can be very harmful, as Paxil has been for me.  Pharmaceuticals in general kill hundreds of thousands of people a year; simple aspirin, when it was more widely used, killed thousands a year.  Tylenol is liver toxic.  This isn't a problem limited to drugs used for mental illness, it's a problem with drugs in general, they are very serious medicine, very strong, and very unproven compared with the thousands and thousands of years people have been on the planet without them.  We're just learning about them, and we are the guinea pigs for future generations.  

As for addiction, well, technically you're right, because you don't constantly need to increase the dose to get the high you're looking for.  But in every other way they are to many people with sad stories all over the internet of terrible withdrawal and inability to get off them, and in lawsuits lost by the manufacturers of these drugs who knew they caused these problems but didn't tell anyone until they were sued.  That's why I recommend caution; for me, I had exhausted what I knew as possibilities at the time, and paid a price, and for you, you didn't pay a price and were helped with no pain.  Good for you.  I'm glad.  Wish that it were true for everyone, but it just isn't.
Avatar universal
So I've been to my PCP, Therapist,  and and ENT the past 2 days - all agree that what I'm experiencing is not neurological or anything more serious, and almost definitely a chemical imbalance. The ENT has my MRI from 2 years ago, and says if there was anything serious, he would have seen it on the MRI. I would also have more "obvious symptoms."

In therapy, I think I've spent a lot more time on examining my life (marriage, current relationships, work, etc), and not necessarily my anxiety. I think a psychiatrist will probably be able to help me - hopefully.

The scariest part has been the panic attacks that seem to tire my whole body. Last night I had a couple and both arms are really sore today. Symptoms there were there yesterday aren't really there today (yesterday my leg was sore and my jaw hurt).

Looking back over the past 10 years of my life, I feel like there have been times where I thought I was sick, but possibly experiencing similar symptoms to this.

I've been told by friends to avoid Paxil, so I probably will. I'm anticipating a prescription of the lowest dose possible. I have yet to talk to a psychiatrist, but should at some point
Avatar universal
I should also mention that my sister seemed to do well on antidepressants, so hopefully the same will hold true for me.
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