Depression/Mental Health Forum
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I posted a question here not too long ago.  I have been having many physical symptoms, that the doctors are calling anxiety.  It started with classic anxiety symptoms, ex hyperventilating and lightheadedness.  I rarely, if ever, get those symptoms now, but I started to get a tingling in my hands, and even all over my body at times.  Then a buzzing or vibrating feelings in my hands/feet/arms/legs.  These symptoms are constant, there is NEVER a time that they are not there. Then muscle weakness, which is pretty bad, and affects my shoulders, arms, legs, neck, and even my back sometimes.  Last night, I was out w/my friends for awahile, and was feeling okay, slightly weak, but not at all anxious or anything. Later, I was watching TV, and my calf muscles were hurting, so I put a heating pad on them.  Then, my neck muscles tensed up, then my shoulders, then my arms.  My arms were so bad, that I could hardly move them. I was in extreme pain, and even lifting my cell phone caused my muscles to burn. I was obviously scared, and called my family.  They said to go to the ER, so I did.  They took my blood pressure, HR, etc, and said anxiety was the cause.  I just dont see how all of this can be caused by anxiety.  It would make a lot more sense to me if the symptoms would come and go, or if they were worse when I was more anxious, but they arent, they are just gradually getting worse all of the time, regardless of my level of anxiety.  The reason that none of my Dr.s are taking me seriously, is because this all started after I had an anxiety reaction to fainting about 2 1/2 months ago. I am now seeing a psychologist (ive been to her twice now), and she thinks that my anxiety levels are not all that abnormal, and that my anxiety is not unjustified or irrational. My questions are:
1) Is it possible to have these kind of constant symptoms due to anxiety, even if I am not anxious constantly?
2) If this is anxiety, are there any good books about anxiety and health that you know of or would reccommend?  I have one about generalized anxiety/panic, but it does not help much, because my worries are not about symptoms experienced during a panic attack.  I know that the increased heart rate and dizziness associated w/anxiety is normal, and am not concerned about that. Distraction techniques do not work.  I am not anxious about anything but my health.

Thankyou for any help.  I will do anything to make this go away, but I really would like to try to do it without medications.  If there are any suggestions that anyone has, please reply.
16 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
The symptoms are totally consistent with an anxiety reaction.  Its hard to accept, but symtpoms occur INSTEAD of the feeling of anxiety, not necessarily or even usually concurrent.  They are a form of protection against feeling too anxious.  There is something bothering you about your life....that's what you have to get to with your therapist...focus on that treatment rather than medication, although small doses of an antidepressant that effects anxiety can be helpful as an adjunct.

There was a nice feature article about this in the new york times last week by dr. richard Friedland.  you might look that up.
Avatar universal
It might as well be that all above symptoms are anxiety or panic disorder. However,you should get a good primary care doctor that can rule out other causes of your symtoms like hyperthyroidism or pheochromocytoma (a very rare cause of above symptoms), going to ER often does not help since they are trained to rule out life threatening illness and don't deal well with chronic illness or anxiety disorders. Once all of the tests come back normal you can feel more comfortable dealing with your symptoms of anxiety knowing that there is no organic illness causing above symptoms.
Avatar universal
Your doctors did take you seriously. Your GP further ordered an EKG on you and referred you to a neurologist to rule out all possible physical causes. Your neurologist further investigated you with an MRI to eliminate other rare physical conditions. Your GP, neurologist, and ER doctor all said that you have anxiety, after examining you and risking themselves the possibility of being sued for missing a physical condition. And Dr Gould, a psychiatrist, also formed the same opinion of your condition in this public forum. Four professionals on this field gave you the same name for your condition, even though all of them knew that you did not believe you have anxiety. You have 4 different opinions and that is more than enough. I am sorry that you have MASKED anxiety that covers up your anxiety and reveals only the physical symptoms. You are therefore deceived to believe that it is an unexplained rare physical condition. As you can see examples in this forum, anxiety symptoms form a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, one has all anxiety symptoms. On the other end of the spectrum, one has all physical symptoms. You belong to the unfortunate latter. Don
Avatar universal
For in depth understanding of MASKED anxiety please refer to the link:

Avatar universal
I know what you are going through!  It was hard for me to accept that all my symtoms like shaking, trembing, tingling, heart palpatations were due to anxiety.  I'm always thinking about my health too, but know that I feel some better I think of it less often.  But I started back on my Celexa and started working out a bit more and changed a few things in my life and the symtoms are subsiding. I always thought I can do this without medication because I've been on Celexa before and went off of it but I feel so much better on it.  Don't think of it as a bad thing.  It will help you to feel better so then you won't have to deal with the physical symtoms and then you can deal with the things in your life that make you anxious.  At least that is how it is working for me! Good luck!
Avatar universal
my name is chris and i am 21 years old. i have had anxiety for a year now and i have had sympmtoms such as lightheadedness and tingling, numbness, forgetfullness, and many others. but my lightheadedness is the worse. i've had it off and on, mostly on for two months almost. how can i get rid of it completly? it affects the way i walk, i feel off balanced. is there anything i can do?
Avatar universal
All of this is very helpful to me.  Five months ago I had an episode in which I woke up in the middle of the night with physical sensations of anxiety and a strong feeling of an accelerated heartrate.  My heartrate is normally in the 60's and this pushed me up to the 80's and 90's which i know is still in the normal range, but not normal for me.  It was pretty scary so i went to the doctor and it turned out my thyroid medicine needed some major adjustment.  That seemed to solve the problem.  But a few days ago I had the same symptoms which lasted for a few days causing sleep deprivation, etc.  All of this with no conscious feeling of being anxious (altho I can think of a bunch of things i COULD be anxious about).  All of this was accompanied by the tight stomach, elevated heartrate, etc.  So now I'm thinking this is some kind of anxiety disorder since my thyroid tested normal and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with my heart.  It doesn't seem extreme enough to classify as a panic attack.  My major problem, apart from the discomfort of these feelings, is that it's causing sleep deprivation.  I figure i need to start some counseling but i also wonder if i should consider any medication.  i find that this is a vicious circle and the physical sensations of anxiety create additional feelings of anxiety and can wear you down.  Hearing about other people's experiences is helpful.
Avatar universal
Well I dont konw what to do guys. Last friday I got on Celaxa, and I got heart palpatations. I went to the ER and they did tests on me, my average was 86 so that is good they said. In the past I had anxiety attacks. I am not sure if they diagnosed me right. I can deal with anything but my heart beating fast. I dont know what to do guys. I feel so alone and I have been crying. I know crying wont help the heart relax but thats all I can do. I feel so alone, and depressed. Is there a way out!!
Avatar universal
Do we see a pattern throughout these messages?  We are all in the same boat.  It almost made me feel better to know that I am not alone.  Here is what is driving me crazy:  Worrying that these symptoms are caused by some hideous disease (shaky, shaky inside, fast heart beat).   What the heck am I so anxious about?
Avatar universal
This has been a real help to me also as I have had all sorts of symptoms over the last ten years. Each time I thought it was some awful disease and each time it was proved it wasnt. But, this still doesnt stop me from thinking that whatever new symptom I get, that this is the one thats the awful disease! Ive had a lump in the throat that felt so real I was convinced it was a tumour, I get a tightness across my middle that makes me feel I cant breathe,I get rapid heart beats and palpatations and now the latest is a feeling of complete weakness in my legs. They feel shaky and useless and its awful. I keep telling myself its anxiety but I cant convince myself enough so that it goes away. Ive suffered from cardio phobia for the last ten years(fear of heart attacks) and this was brought about by the first panic attack as I thought thats what it was.And so now everytime I get a small pain in the chest or I feel uncomfortable in that area, its enough to bring on a panic attack. I feel as though Im constantly fighting a battle to feel well and calm. I have good days and bad, I go from feeling really high to really low. People who know me cannot believe I suffer like this as I come across as really bubbly and happy but inside I feel a wreck! I just want to feel 'normal' and to stop worrying constantly about my health. I think the only way for me to do that is if I had a check up every month! I feel guilty every time I go to the doctors as I think they must think Im a loony. But these symptoms are so real to me and so debilitating.Its so good to know there are others out there going through the same sort of thing and Im going to try and keep remembering this,one day I will get over it!
Avatar universal
What I am finding is "you are never alone" always know even if it is hard to imagine while I am sitting here typing in my own little space of the world that at this very moment someone else is typing or feeling just as I am.  I too have been on the outside, a totally incontrol person living with stress going after the jobs and challenges that put the most pressure on me stress was comforting to me.  Until one day I guess my body just said" well its been fun but I need a break"  breaking point 2 visits to ER, blood, ekg's, tred mill,echo's hey they look great, but my head was saying are you kidding me I am dying here cant anyone hear me!!  and there is just no way to calm down wondering all the time if its true, wondering about family I was leaving behind.  Its so hard to hear everything looks fine when your body tells you thats not the case, and its even more difficult to hear stress is the cause my body is falling apart at 35. The body is an amazing thing and confusing thing.  Eversince that one day it all happened I just wanted to someone say this is whats wrong I too want to be "normal" if there is such a thing I guess I just want myself back!!!  So I thank everyone for their honesty and their stories for they help me see I truely am not alone and I wish you all the best. wendy
Avatar universal
I have constant shortness of breathe and the Drs. say it is anxiety.. I always feel like I cannot catch my breathe and it is very scary.. Does anyone else have this symptom on a day to day basis? Sometimes it goes away for several days and for no reason appears again and hangs on for days. HELP!!
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