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- Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:28 pm
I'm 21 years old and have been suffering from anxiety for about a year. This seems to run in my family (whether it's a genetic thing or learned response, I'm not sure.)
For about a year, I've been suffering from some kind of anxiety problem. The problem first started last summer with homosexual hypochondria (fearing I was gay). Over a few months, that problem resolved, but it seems like it's one thing after another.
Starting in October, I was worried about my health. I got a UTI, no biggie, but for some reason I started believing I had different types of diseases/cancers. In one week I was utterly convinced I had cervical cancer, multiple sclerosis, and leukemia. During this time period I had about 5 panic attacks, I was afraid to leave the house, and couldn't sleep at night because I was convinced I was dying. This episode lasted a few months, and I gradually began to feel normal again.
In early March, another episode started... In the past month I've believed I've had a heart attack, (I actually went to the ER for this one, did a bunch of tests, and my heart is fine) stroke, MS, bone cancer, and now ovarian cancer.
What can I do about this? I can honestly say (and I'm not emo!) this is ruining my life. My boyfriend of 5 years and I got engaged and I was the happiest person in the world, then a trip to the ER with him seemed to trigger this. This is causing some serious strain on all aspects of my social life... my fiance is supportive but tired of this... my friends reassure me all of the time, and my parents are worried sick. Some days I feel like I cannot even go to work or leave the house.
I do have real physical symptoms that trigger my worrying, but I cannot afford to let this mental problem dictate everything I do (i.e. needless tests and whatnot.)
Please help me.
| Dr. E. Seigle
- Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:42 pm
It sounds like you may have an anxiety condition known as hypochondriasis, which essentially is persistent and excessive worry about having an illness. It sounds like this may be triggering panic attacks. My suggestion is that you have a thorough psychiatric evaluation with a psychiatrist to make sure that this is the correct diagnosis, understand the contributing factors, eliminate the possibility of other disorders, and come up with a treatment plan. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication, or both. [flash=][/flash]
It's terrific that you had the courage to discuss this. It is definitely treatable. Good luck!
-Eliot Seigle MD