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How do your anxiety/panic attacks present?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas...

I'm in the middle of a bit of a health issue..

I have spent the past few months feeling lightheaded almost constantly. Then, about a month ago I started getting arm and chest burning.

I've had complete blood workups and can rule out diet and medication reations.

I have a CT scan tomorrow at 4pm to rule out masses/tumors in the brain.

I've also spoke with my cardiologist and ruled out my heart being the cause.

Initially I thought it was anxiety... and I'm still wondering if it is. I mean my body feels anxious but my mind doesn't. Does that make sense? The arm burning is interrupting my life. The lightheaded-ness as well.

Can anyone with anxiety disorder relate?

I am taking 10mg Lexapro and 100mg of Trazadone daily and have been for a while.

I know I might be reaching far here... but I want to address every thing. I need my health back.
post #2 of 22
Yep. Exactly. For years I had anxiety attacks just like you are describing. I would think I was fine, be doing some random thing like grocery shopping, and all of a sudden my chest and arm start burning. I've had to leave full shopping carts in stores and leave.

I am now on Geodon and when I feel an anxiety attack coming on (they don't happen often now) I take a Lorazapam.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Mama, I wish I could hug you.

Thank you so much for responding.

I am going to call my PCP now....
post #4 of 22
Mine aren't quite the same presentation, but my DF's anxiety sounds similar to yours. When he was younger he also had a ton of tests done to see what was wrong and everything looked fine-- it was his anxiety.

I hope you're able to find the help you need
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much...

I'm still waiting on the cat scan results. (I had it Tuesday, you'd think they'd call me by now.)

As soon as they call me with them, I'm going to address the need for anxiety meds. I can't take much more of this...
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just an update on this... the scan was clear as I predicted.

My doctor increased my doses of lexapro and trazadone.

I'm still having the symptoms, though... I'm hoping since it's only been two weeks since the dose increase that it just takes time to really take full effect....
post #7 of 22
I wish that you will feel much better soon. My anxiety has presented as a whole variety of physical symptoms. I have had SO many medical exams (including MRIs of my brain upon different occasions) for these symptoms. Recently, I was in the hospital overnight for tachycardia (elevated heart rate) and had a complete cardio workup. My resting heart rate would not get lower than 142! (And I excercise daily, am presumably in top physical condition...) I have also had lots of neuro symptoms, undiagnosed. I know how you must feel. I just started Lexapro 3 weeks ago and while I feel slightly less edgy, I'm not great. (These 10 mg may not be enough for me either.) What you describe can definitely be anxiety. I have had the infinite light-headedness, too. Take care of yourself and feel better soon!
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Man I could relate to your post in SO many ways, teachma... so many ways. In fact, in May I am having my tachycardia repaired via an ablation. (which my doctor thinks might be part of why the contant underlying anxiety)

I was on 10mg Lexapro, too, but was just raised to 20mg...

Thank you so much for responding.... I hope we can both find comfort soon.
post #9 of 22
Mine weren't quite like that, I'd start with my heart beginning to race, then my chest would get tight, breathing would get quicker, my ears would ring, and my head would spin, and I wanted to R.U.N.!!!!!!

I also take Lorazepam as needed for the attacks.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking I should go to an actualy psych rather than my family practice doctor about this. This morning was so uncomfortable...burning arms, tight chest. I think I need something more than 20mg of lexapro.
post #11 of 22
YES, please do go see a therapist. Family docs are not equipped to deal with things like this. You might also do better with a different ssri. Lots of people's anxiety gets WORSE on Lex. You might need something else.

You could also use something like Ativan, just when the attacks come. But you need to see a therapist for this, not just the family doc. They are pretty much clueless.
post #12 of 22
Originally Posted by MamaRBH View Post
I'm thinking I should go to an actualy psych rather than my family practice doctor about this. This morning was so uncomfortable...burning arms, tight chest. I think I need something more than 20mg of lexapro.
Please do, family practice docs are under qualified to treat mental health. Mine sent me into a manic episode by prescribing 20 mg of lexapro.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
It's unanimous, eh? I'll have to call for a referral today...
post #14 of 22
good for you. It can be a hard call to make, but it's an important one.
post #15 of 22
Do your episodes have a pattern or trigger? You could try keeping a diary of what you are doing and when your symptoms present. If you find your attacks are caused by a certain trigger(s) you can take a preemptive xanax when you know you will be in that situation instead of taking something (i.e. lexapro) on a constant basis.

I was put on Paxil for my anxiety/panic attacks and it made things a hell lot worse. Coming off Paxil was even harder. I know my panic attacks are caused by highway driving or driving over bridges so now I just take one before I know I will be in the situation that causes it.

good luck and we are always here to talk. Personally, my panic attacks make me feel like a freak sometimes when I around those that don't understand.
post #16 of 22
My anxiety doesn't manifest like your does, but I also suggest tracking what your triggers seem to be. A combination of avoiding triggers, therapy, EMDR (much of my anxiety is related to complex PTSD) and lexapro have really reduced my panic attacks.
post #17 of 22
My first experience with panic attacks also led me to think I had a brain tumor or something, with CT scans and everything. I was sure I was dying. I couldn't believe that I could have so many physical symptoms, and that there was nothing abnormal showing up on the tests. I was out-of-it/dizzy/couldn't see well/etc. for about a month until I finally got the diagnosis of "anxiety/panic attacks."

For me, just knowing that it was anxiety/panic attacks was enough to make me get better. Now when I start to feel that way, I'm able to calm myself down by reminding myself that what I'm feeling isn't "real." (Most of my triggers seem to be something relating to my health). The brain is an amazing thing. I wouldn't be at all surprised if what you're feeling could be due to anxiety alone.

post #18 of 22
I find that when my stress minefests itself in physical symptoms (stomachaches, chest pain), I tend not to realize how stressed I am mentally because I'm not experiencing it mentally. If you think you are stresed, these health problems can definitely be stress-related. Although they are different from mine, I have come to find that stress can manifest itself in infinite ways.
post #19 of 22
My anxiety attacks start with a general tightening in my chest, usually to one side. If I let it go then it goes across my whole chest. I don't ever feel nervous or have a racing heart but I do have a huge urge to start writing "if I die letters" to my dd and dh. That's how I can tell if things are bad for me.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm having a heart procedure on 5/2.... I'm going to wait to call a psych until after the procedure asI'm thinking my fear of that could be the cause for the anxiety. Wish me luck...
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