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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Is it really anxiety/panic attack disorder???


 rddavis - Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:18 am

I am now 34 years old and have been suffering as long as I can remember with these horrible symptoms. The most troubling to me is the chest pain, it varies in the type, sometimes its crushing pressure and I feel like I have a rubber band tied around me that is turning me inside out other times its sharp and stabbing. It can be on one side or another or start from the center and radiate outward. I also have all kinds of symptoms that can mix and match themselves with the chest pain at any given time. Dizziness/lightheadedness, numbness in my hands/arm and feet, pain in my back, my shoulder(s), feeling nauseaus, sweating, being overly hot or cold, feeling a sensation of my body being filled with boiling water and then woosh someone pulls the plug and all the "water" goes away, headaches, pain in my arms, legs, epigastric area, a pain in my upper center back that feels like someone put a brick on my spine and left it there. It seems like I have a new symptom on a daily basis. I have been in the ER thousands of times, I have had EKGs, have now had 4 stress tests, all normal according to the docs, have had CT scans, echocardiograms, worn holter monitors, had vq scans, chest xrays, blood work, have been admitted and observed more times than most. And all with a finding of its probably stress...probably. I have had a full gastric work up, endoscopy, colonoscopy the works, after being diagnosed with GERD and the dr said he saw no evidence of it only a very small hiatal hernia which could no way cause the amount of pain I was discribing to him. I have been on zoloft, paxil, lexapro, xanax, ativan, and a bunch more I cannot remember the names of because the drs switch them like you switch your underwear. I have had physical therapy for "chostochondritus", been on anti inflammatories, pain meds, been on zantac, ranitidine, nexium, propulsid, prevacid, pretty much all of the stomach meds. And kept a journal and been in counseling and done the breathing exercises and taken hot bubble baths with candles. NOTHING HELPS! This is why I am asking you for your help, I am disabled by this pain and cannot live a normal life, I cannot find a source for my chest pain but can't help wonder are the doctors missing something. I have tried to accept the diagnoses of panic attacks/anxiety but the chest pain keeps coming back, there doesn't seem to be a pattern or a trigger, and nothing they try helps. I am at the end of my rope...do you have any thoughts or suggestions.
Thank you
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:32 pm

Hello, rddavis,

I apologize that this response is so late in coming. I hope that your issues have been resolved by now, but I'll provide some information in hope that you will find it useful, and that it might be helpful to others who read your post.

What you describe does sound like there is a component of an anxiety disorder in your condition, but that isn't likely to be the total answer. Your interesting description of the "boiling water" that can "woosh" away is one I've actually heard before, along with the bands of pain, pronounced nausea, numbness in your hands and feet, and headaches. It may help you to see a rheumatologist who is familiar with the treatment of Fibromyalgia and related disorders. While for a long time many doctors considered Fibromyalgia to be psychosomatic, that has been disproven. Fatigue is often part of the picture, as well as periods of extreme malaise. Treatment consists of antidepressants, sleep aids, and sometimes anti-seizure medication. Muscle relaxants can also be used. Regular massage and a mild, progressive exercise program (reduced when symptoms are acute) almost always helps. I'm glad you've kept a diary of your symptoms; it can be helpful to your rheumatologist, and to you in tracking progress and/or what seems to help the most. You've been evaluated for just about everything else, so this seems a reasonable next step to me. Psychological support can help a great deal, in conjunction with the medical treatment. It's a lot to deal with. It occurs more often in females than males, but can affect either gender. I hope this is helpful, and I wish you only good luck!

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