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774736 tn?1311334985

Heart Anxiety

I've been to the ER several times since I was first diagnosed with anxiety and have not been able to stop worrying about my heart.  I am a young guy with no family history of heart problems yet I still manage to conjure up some ridiculous reason to go to the Emergency Room everytime I have the slightest pain or discomfort in my chest region.  I've had doctors tell me I'm fine and that it's all attributed to anxiety and this is after extensive testing such as Chest X-ray, EKG, Blood tests etc...  I also seem to be conscious about my heart rate and breathing rate; that stuff is all ready under control involuntarily and I still cant seem to train myself to  ignore it.  How do I stop?  
11 Responses
480448 tn?1426952138
Oh Lordy!  Two up and coming doctors with health anxiety!  I can just see it now...after hours, you guys will be sneaking yourselves into the CT scanner, drawing your own blood...trying to figure out a way to xray yourself while safely in the other room!  ;0)

Seriously though, as a nurse myself, I have come accross many colleagues through the years with different levels of health anxiety, and some of them made their jobs virtually impossible.  You are going to be around a huge range of illnesses, different types of patients, not to mention learning about a lot of scary stuff as well.

Now is the perfect time to really dive into therapy and start addressing these issues so that you can have some coping skills under your belt should some uncomfortable moments arise at work.  Many times, once a person learns more about what they fear, they are able to take the wind out of anxiety's sails...but other times, the more someone learns, the more frightened they become.  You're obviously both very smart individuals....so take the opportunity early on to start getting a handle on the anxious thinking.  Not only does it obviously affect your life, but you don't want it to affect your career as well.

Best of luck to both of you!
1620360 tn?1318908230
Do you have a lot of idle time on your hands? Perhaps you have too much time to think, and that thinking is what's getting you into trouble. How do you spend our days?

One important step in recovering from your health anxieties is to learn how to trust your doctors. These are medical professionals who have gone to years of medical school and have seen hundreds of patients before you. They have the most advanced technology at their fingertips and yet somehow, your fears are overpowering logic and scientific proof that you are healthy and that there is nothing wrong with your heart.

480448 tn?1426952138
Anxiety about the heart is one of the most common worries amongst anxious people.

rls is right...you need to somehow learn how to trust that the doctors know what they're
doing.  As a medical professional myself, trust me when I say that big bad problems with the heart seldom go undetected, and are actually quite obvious and easy to diagnose.  If you were having some sort of major cardiac event, it would have been discovered by now.

What you need to do is focus on addressing your anxiety with a professional.  Therapy is a great place to start, and talking to a psychiatrist about possibly trying a medication is also something you could do.  You have to learn how to break the cycle of anxious thinking and worrying.  It takes some time and work, but it can be done.

Hang in there!
1717715 tn?1318300895
hey man, I've got the sammmmeee problem. heart anxiety, had 2 echos done, dozens of EKGs, holter monitors, ches x ray- all of it. its hard just trusting your doctors. i get PACs once in a while and sometimes my heart rates too fast (im on beta blockers for that) and sometimes its too slow, sometimes it skips, and sometimes theres pain and discomfort in that area. i know how you feel. just trusting your doctos is so difficult, but rls27 is right- theyve done their work, gone to school, there irrefutable scientific evidence there that you are OKAY. the major problems wouldve been caught in a heart beat (pun intended) and are now ruled out. stop thinking about it so much. i know easier said than done, but you may want to treat whats causing this- your anxiety.
774736 tn?1311334985
Yeah I do way too much online research, plus I'm a pre med student so I tend to over analyze things.  The physical symptoms are what really drive me crazy and start the whole negative process.  I know I need to trust the doctors and quit trying to diagnose myself, it's just hard to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong when these physical symptoms are so convincing.  I'm talking with my pcp tomorrow so I should be able to talk with her about either starting therapy and or medication; I just don't want the brain fog that associated with the medication.  Thank you guys I appreciate your honesty and informative answers.
1717715 tn?1318300895
jesus man, your taking the words right out of my mouth.. As a pre-med student myself, believe me, it makes hypochondriasis much worse. I was just prescribed lexapro by my pcp but have been too paranoid to take it, and yeah, i dont want any of the side affects or to become a walking zombie. i also want to talk to a therapist first..

it is crazy how "anxiety" can cause all these symptoms.. I think im still in denial that it's indeed anxiety. i dont know about you but, i get "panic attacks" out of no where, where my body feels like complete ****, i get so nervous, the feeling of impending doom, and shaky and weak.

what are your symptoms like? what made you first aware of your heart beats and rhythm?

Avatar universal
Oh boy, this is my panic. I've had my third anxiety attack EVER last Tuesday, and have since been to the ER three times. The first 2 attacks were crazy and scary, but passed within 10 - 15 mins. Last Tuesday, I thought I was having a heart attack, or a stroke. This one lasted me from late afternoon well into midnight. I haven't physically or emotionally felt myself since. I've had multiple attacks since Tuesday and keep getting them. What the hell brings on something like this to that extreme? I had my first Dr. visit today, and have to go have blood drawn tomorrow. This is the scariest thing that's ever happened to my in my life, and I've been through a lot.
774736 tn?1311334985
My symptoms typically start very suddenly, I start hyperventilating without even being aware of it, which can actually cause the majority of my symptoms.  Heart rate increases along with my breathing, sometimes I start getting chest pains usually a sharp stabbing feeling.  Tingling sensations then start throughout my body especially in my face and scalp.  I have increased sweating and overall stomach and chest discomfort.  As far as being aware of my heart rate/beat, that can start anywhere, usually when I'm laying down I can feel my pulse throughout my entire body.  Stressful situations obviously cause these symptoms as well but to the extent that I'm practically speed dialing consulting nurses(They know me on a first name basis lol).  My symptoms are the worst in public places, ball games, walmart, shopping malls, bars, movie theaters etc...@nursegirl6572 ROFL funny stuff first paragraph, thanks for your humor and good advice.      
774736 tn?1311334985
My first panic attack felt like I was having a heart attack so I first started becoming aware of my heart rate/beat then.  It all started after smoking weed.  I was smoking weed with a few friends and after we all got done smoking it hit me.  I started sweating, heart rate went through the roof, tingling feeling in my face and extremities, short shallow breaths, etc...My Dad picked me up and took me to the ER and the doctor knew exactly what it was before he even started testing everything.  Ever since I've been hypersensitive to everything in and around my body, for awhile I was even agoraphobic.  Anyways I've been ok for the last year but I want to anxiety free I'm tired of worrying about false alarms I can't afford anymore medical bills lol plus I want to be able to go out in public like I used to without freaking out and embarrasing myself.
1717715 tn?1318300895
wow. I'm not even going to bother telling you what has happened to me because practically, the same thing- word for word maybe minus the hyperventilation. Before I even had these attacks, I was smoking weed in high school and I stopped because for a few times I was getting panic attacks while I was high. Few years later (now) I start getting them. spent 5 days in the hospital because I was also fighting some sort of stomach virus which in reality was probably related to the anxiety. Next few weeks were ridiculous, so weak, afraid of everything, agoraphobic, social phobia, it was like I had to learn how to do everything over again- go to the movies, any where out in public, classroom, driving a car somewhere, it was HORRIBLE. And I never thought I'd ever be like that. I'm not the type to be afraid of much (except spiders), but to think going to the movies would give me a panic attack? Ridiculous… And lol yeah @nursegirl6572, but you're absolutely on the money. I already work/volunteer at hospitals and clinics and although you do see some SCARY eye opening jaw dropping things happen to a lot of different people, the more you know about something, the less scary it is. We fear what we do not understand, sometimes, even in my hypochondriac fits of online researching, when I'm fully informed about something- it gives me some relief.

It just *****. I just want to be able to live a normal life as I once lived it, but for some odd reason my brain/body will not let me. It's like… it has a mind of its own…

But I do hear people having success while taking medication along with cognitive behavioral therapy. I am currently looking for a therapist. Anyone have a suggestion where I could find a good one I would really appreciate it!
Avatar universal
hi people im new to this and i have the same issues you guys are talking about. and i also work in a hospital as well. i work with heart patients. i think ive been to the er around 10 times just this year for my health anxiety. i even fear taking the meds also especialy knowing the long term effects of them ive decided not to use them. i was told about amino acid therepy just starting today though but alot of people say it works so we will see
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