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Avatar universal

Anxiety/panic disorder

have chronic hcv (15 + yrs) stage 0, grade 1 (2 bx in 10 yrs)
another bx due this year dr wants to see if damage progessing & then discuss tx
labs are normal, except for very high viral loads
he is wary of putting me on tx because of an anxiety disorder that I take med for.  
does anyone on tx have a pre existing anxiety disorder?  did tx aggrevate the anxiety disorder?
7 Responses
Avatar universal
By the way, anxiety disorder is a common side effect of HCV.  I developed both anxiety disorder, and mild depression from the virus, before I ever was aware that I had the virus.  I also developed vertigo, which I never had prior to having HCV.  I think that it is interesting to read Naomi Judd;s accounts of having HCV, and her anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, etc. that  developed along with her HCV disease.  In her book she discusses the two problems as separate issues, that both developed over a period of time.  I do not believe that she realized that  her HCV was most likely the catalyst for the anxiety disorders.  The brain is affected in various ways by HCV, and the results can include brain fog, mood disorders, anxiety attacks, depression, etc.

Possibly the tx could help in clearing you of the virus, thus over the long haul diminish your symptoms, but in the short term tx could also increase them.  For me, the anxiety was much less a problem on tx, and I felt pretty decent psychologically, only to experience major post-tx issues.  For many others its the opposite, and the problems are magnified during tx.  Just have your doctor be prepared to intervene with appropriate medications, or counseling if problems crop up during tx.  

Just as a thought, go back in time and try to pinpoint when your HCV began, and consider when your worst anxiety problems manifested themselves.  In my case, the HCV dramatically changed my mental functioning and perceptions. Strange anxiety and panic attacks, a new fear of heights, and distrust and anger in relationships were the major issues for me after developing elevated enzymes, and what was later discovered to be HCV.  I am now SVR for over four years, and beginning to slowly recover from the personality and brain related problems.  I feel like I may be slowly returning to a long ago, pre-HCV state of psychological functioning.  Again, it was even worse right after ending tx, from all the interferon related changes in my system, but is slowly moving toward more of a 'normal' state.  

I can't say the same about some of the physical symptoms set, but hopefully they will decrease over time as well.  They are somewhat better than pre-tx.

Good luck to you.

Avatar universal
i had anxiety  before i was diagnosed.. and the tx bothers it sometimes and other times it dont.thats my opinion on myself.. But i take xanax and it does wonders.. wellother then that hope all has a happy Thanksgiving day.
Avatar universal
hello.im new here.i just was dx with HCV genotype 2.i had liver biopsy dont last fri,awaiting for results before i begin 6 months of treatment.pegasus injections and the pills.i have severe anxiety and already have to take xaxax. i have a rapid heat beat and irregular heart beat problem,prett much treated with medication for the heart.what do you mans by " brain fog ". i feel this might be something that comes and goes with me and really interferes with my lifestyle.can you explain to me how you feel when this happens to you ? thankyou and happy Thanksgiving all.......i wish someone could warn me what to expect with treatment..............
Avatar universal
BRAIN FOG- forgetting where things are and going to another room and forgetting what u were gonna do..LOL.. it pisses me off when i get it.. but not all theh time it comes and goes.. LOL.. have a BLESSED HOLIDAY..tx depends on each person iam 1a and stage 2 and grade 2.. my tx has been very doable.. and iam fatigue the most.. once in awhile a small headache
Avatar universal
thank you for thoughts on this, it never even occurred to me until now that maybe the anxiety issues could have been triggered by the chronic hcv, this was never suggested to me by either my pcp or gastro.  The anxiety was disorder  was dx about 6 - 8 years ago, many year after contracting hcv.
very interesting.

since my gastro is wary of tx me, and a second opionion gastro told me definately not, a healthcare worker suggested I should consult with a hepatologist because they are more specialized.  I would be willing to do this but feel like I'm not that sick (stage 0, grade 1) and many other cases are much more serious than mine, except I also have problems with fibromyalgia (a name put to it by the 2nd rhematologist I saw about 8 yrs ago.)  My current gastro says no connection with the hcv but I've read and heard different elsewhere.  The pain in my muscles and joints is so bad sometimes I can barely move.  

Also going WAY back (20 yrs) I was in so much pain (couldn't climb stairs, steer my car, button my clothes, get out of bed, etc.) that I went to the emerg rm.  I'm thinking the worst of course, they xrayed  me and referred me to the first rheumatologist who dx me acute hbv.  He told me he sees one or two cases like mine  a year and he couldn't guarantee the "unspecified arthritis" wouldn't come back. At that time I was taking (per dr orders) as many aspirn as I could tolerate just to be able to function.

I thought I was in the clear until I was told about about the hcv dx , now guessing I was "double dosed" because I was so sick 20 yrs ago.  My blood work shows that I have chronic hcv and also had hbv (but got over it)   It's the hcv I never got over.
Avatar universal
guess this anxiety thing is pretty catchy (lol) I've also have been taking xanax for years, seems to work though and has just about eliminated all panic attacks.  pretty scary though, palpatations, minor convultions, passing out, sweating, and being unable to move a muscle.  literaly, I froze up and couldn't move my arm until a nurse yelled at me to "relax" and sure enough my arm unfroze. good luck to you on your tx pls let me know how you are doing, i'll pray for you both (please pray for me too!)  hope you all had a great thanksgiving :)
Avatar universal
Doctors say lots of uninformed things when it comes to HCV.  Many have told me HCV causes no symptoms.  Others are very aware of the myriad of co-related problems that are connected to HCV.  I LOVE when Gastro's say things like 'no connection to HCV for Fibromyalgia' !!  How the heck would THEY know?  They seem to be on the caboose of the train as far as what is happening in the real HCV scientific world.  Many rheumatologists look for HCV IMMEDIATELY when symptoms of reactive arthritis manifest without known cause in a patient.  Dermatologists test for HCV when any number of severe skin reactions and disorders show up.  Lately they have discussed testing for HCV in newly determined diabetics.  Also Cryoglobulinemia is caused almost universally by HCV!  Depression is highly linked to HCV, and most up to date doctors know this.

Then there are the archaic crew of traditional doctors who think they know everything because they read a few articles on HCV ten or fifteen years ago.  They don't have even half a clue as to what the latest research has shown, or how many other systems in the body are affected by HCV.  The HCV research literature is getting overloaded by new findings regarding illnesses caused by, or connected to HCV.

My earliest HCV symptoms were severe Fibromyalgia, neck &hip problems, out of the blue, in my mid twenties.  Also had mysterious dermatological problems, without any specific diagnosis.  Anxiety and depression manifested during the initial years of the infection (and I did not even know that I had a virus at the time!).  If you look back on the forum, and if you look at other sites, and read recent HCV research, you will find many, many accounts of the sorts of symptoms associated with HCV infection.  Some people have few or no symptoms at all.  And that is the confounding issue.  Because others can be stricken with very severe problems shortly after becoming infected.  The FM related, and arthritic issues are very high frequency among symptomatic HCV infected persons.

I now become disgusted, and also furious, when I hear 'idiot' doctors make grand statements like 'HCV causes no physical symptoms', etc.  Some of these docs are so pompous that they believe that whatever they say must be true, because they are doctors, and have a divine insight into the truth.  Many are somewhat insulated specialists, and egotists, who just don't know how much they don't know.  

Many of the doctors I now visit are very bright, and open minded...they are  scientists...and realize how little is really known in this area, and other fields of medical research.  Even though they don't always give 'pat' answers, and declare what is true and not true, I like their style lots better.  They are honest, and are looking for answers too.  They don't have the arrogance to look at and listen to hundreds of patients, and declare their experiences 'not real'.  They may not have an answer, but they see the connections too.  Researchers will come up with the whys and hows as they explore the behavior of this virus over time.  A friend of mine, who is a renowned writer and government researcher (and has HCV, and a liver transplant), is notorious for confronting the 'knucklehead' doctors at conferences, and telling some of them that they are idiots, to their face.  He shows them the proof for issues like extra-hepatic symptoms, and puts them on the spot for being really 'out of touch'.  I like his style as well!

Keep exploring your problems, but find a cutting edge hepatologist, or virologist who understands the reasons for your problems, and who can help you with making good decisions...and good referrals for your problems!

Good Luck!

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