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Depression/Mental Health Forum
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Avatar universal

Severe ongoing anxiety

Hi, I have had panic attacks and anxiety off and on throughout my life.  Just started having them again 5 weeks ago.  My life is very stressful with family problems and I'm in a school that I hate.  My first symptoms of anxiety the most recent recurrence were twitching in my eye for about 1 week, dizziness and constant worrying.  I then developed heart palpitations for which I saw a cardiologist.  My 24 hour holter monitor test was normal - no arrhythmias but it did show my heart rate got up to 50 bpm sometimes.  My stress echocardiogram showed normal results.  So, my doctor is convinced I just have anxiety.  I'm still worried to death I'm dying from a heart arrythmia because I still keep having fast heart rate and palpitations.  I take 25 mg Xanax about twice a day.  I take 5 mg Buspar in the morning and again at night (I'm gradually going up to 15 mg 2x/day).  For the past 3 nights, I've woken up between 1 and 2 a.m. not being able to go back to sleep and trembling all over my body with my heart rate around 130.  This is confusing because I was starting to feel a bit better and my Xanax usually helps me sleep.  I can usually go back to sleep after taking a 1/2 of a 25 mg Xanax but it takes about 2 hours.  I then wake up around 5 a.m. with heart racing again, sometimes trembling (this morning trembling so bad I could barely pour a glass of water).  I took another Xanax but it took around 2 hours to get better.  My doctor gave me metoprolol (beta blockers) on Monday to help with the heart rate, but it's not helping.  Here are my questions:

1.  Can all these heart palps and racing REALLY be caused by just anxiety?  I'm terrified I'm dying of atrial fibrillation (I diagnose myself by looking on the internet and am obsessed with heart problems).  

2.  I was starting to feel better and then relapsed.  Is this normal?  I've only been taking Xanax for 5 weeks but it seems it doesn't work as well.  Is this possible to develop a tolerance so fast?

3.  Why do I wake up trembling?  Is this anxiety?

4.  Why might I have heart racing after getting up in the night or in the morning?  I don't really have it the rest of the day unless I'm really panicking.  When I get up in the night or morning, I'm not having a "full blown" panic attack.

My heart is ALL I think about.  It is ruining my life.  Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
7 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The answer to all these questions is the underlying unsolved problems in your life that are causing the anxiety and the symptoms. Yes, anxiety can cause everything you have described. Your attempts to smother the volcano inside with pills won't work very well, or for very long, and what you are experiencing is breakthroughs.  You need to see a therapist who will help you master your life in a different, and more intelligent way rather than rely on, and hope, you can continue to avoid these issues by using medications to cover the symptoms. You are obsessed with heart issues as a way of diverting your mind off the real issues.
Avatar universal
My holter showed it got up to 150 bpm, not 50.
Avatar universal
G'day mate, YEP anxiety CAN and WILL mess with your heart rhythm. i get funny ones all the time and have had holters x 2, echo scans x 2 - ECG x PLENTY and have been to the hospital emergency room soooo many times and all my blood test etc come up normal. Anxiety is to blame definitely.
A little hint too is STOP looking at conditions that you MAY have on the net. Seriously. This only fuels your anxiety and makes you feel symptoms you didn't previously feel.Also know that your not alone :) MILLIONS of people go through what we go through every minute of every hour of every day.
You will come out of this so strong. Don't search the net for answers as they are all in you. Get to know who you are, what you want.

Keep yor head up and when you get down MEDITATE at a park and get some fresh air, or ifyou can exercise. Swimming is great too.
Avatar universal
By the grace of God, I'm beginning more and more to think that it is true, this is all anxiety.  For instance, I went out to dinner tonight with my husband and daughter.  We had a wonderful time talking to a nice lady at the next table.  I felt great!  I was out and about, mixing with people and felt like my old self.  Then we got home and I started having my symptoms.  I have them most at home because that is where I have had all my panic attacks.  If I were dying, I would have symptoms everywhere I went ot just at home.  I think it's true, there is a volcano inside me and I need to explore this anger and disappointment to overcome my anxiety. Thanks for your help!
Avatar universal
Anxiety is terrible to suffer through, because it can really be a vicious cycle - the more anxious you feel the more you are worried about it - and thus the more anxious you feel.  

Has anyone told you about books by Dr. Claire Weekes? I read one called "Self-help for Your Nerves", (I think it has been republished as "Hope and Help for Your Nerves").  A friend gave it to me, saying it was her anxiety bible.  Since I read it, I can honestly say I do not have anxiety anymore. She wrote in a gentle, soothing tone and her approach is so simple - if you teach your body to relax and "float" through panic attacks, rather than resist them - you can stop them.  

I am sure you can find more information about her books online or at your local bookshop.  She wrote in the 1960's or 70's I believe, so they are very well known.  Everyone I know who has suffered from anxiety has ended up being given this book by a friend or therapist - we are all thankful for it!

If you have the opportunity, yoga is amazing for soothing anxiety.  You can find classes that practice "gentle yoga" or "hatha yoga", which will teach you breathing techniques that can deter anxiety.  

Good luck!
Avatar universal
You need to enroll yourself into talk theropy.  Medications should be thought as more of an aid, than a cure.  Like the MD said, there are probably underlying factors going on in your life that you are unaware of, that need to be dealt with.  Giving into your anxiety will only make it worst.  

In the mean time, if you feel really panicy, take a Xanax to relax you.  If the Xanax isn't working, try uping it to .5 or even 1mg.  The .25mg tablets is probably too small of a dose for you, and typically a small dose for everyone.  But keep in mind, Xanax IS habit forming, and will raise your tolerence level for it.  Therefore, stick to the lowest effective dose, and use them wisely.  

Ask your doctor about Paxil CR and Zoloft.  SSRI's may help you go through your day, without taking Xanax, hence are much easier to taper off of.  Good luck my friend.
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