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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Do i have anxiety or panic attacks?

 cloo12 - Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:58 pm

So sometimes for a period of time since probably around august i can feel my chest tighten along with the feeling that there is a lump in my throat. It sort of freaks me out, and happens more often now then before... it makes me feel like i could pass out, but i never have passed out before so i wouldn't know, and i'm scared to death of passing out too. My parents think that i'm just nuts haha because i pick out every ache and pain lately assuming that it's super serious... i get figity sometimes, and i feel like my ribs are tight, nausious every now and then... it pretty much sucks too get these episodes or whatever i should call them. I'm used to handling stress, but not necessarily this much. I'm a senior in high school worrying about things like: my ACT scores, college, marching band, Choir preformances, Trig grades, my boyfriend leaving, work, my senior project. It's just a nonstop cycle, and even thinking about this stuff makes my feel ugh... i especailly feel this while i'm on stage preforming with my choir, in between songs, possibly just when i get time to think about it. I can't afford to feel like this right now because during the christmas season everything picks up and starts going faster.. 30 performances between now and december, working more, i present my project, ACT's again, band concerts. AHH! it's awful, i figured if it was something serious i would have simpler symptoms too.. but i eat all of the time, sleep fine (bad dreams some) period comes right though it's more painful no fever, or cold symptoms, i don't throw up. What's going on with me ?

 Dr. E. Seigle - Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:12 pm

Hi Cloo12,

It does sound like you may well be having panic attacks, otherwise known as panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. Usually, people with panic disorder have symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, dizziness, a feeling of impending doom, chest pain or tightness,a sense of choking, thinking they are having a heart attack, tingling, and dizziness. Other symptoms are posssible. The symptoms can come out of the blue, or in crowded places, in cars or during sleep at night. Sometimes stress seems to cause the problem, but not always. Panic disorder is common and is very responsible to treatment. Both psychotherapy, medication, and sometimes both, is important in the treatment of the disorder. I would recommend that you see a psychiatrist to be sure of the diagnosis and to exclude any others. Then, a treatment plan that is best for you can be recommended. Good luck!

-Eliot Seigle MD
 stavrospgr - Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:10 am

Dear Doctor,
my name is Stavros Petridis and I live in Thessaloniki, Greece. I am 38 and having studied Chemistry I work as an Export Sales person in a Greek company. My job is quite stressfull. Especially a couple of years ago it was really-really bad for me, having to work overtime and having to deal with unexpected obstacles at my job, which I had to over-ride really really fast. I have always been a person of fast reactions to the stimulus from my enviroment, trying to be helpful to myself and my people.
During the previous 15 days, I have received alike symptoms as mentioned by the user in this thread. The incident happened around 01:30 just after going to bed. The symptoms were: a kind of a faint chest pain, slight difficulty in breathing, a feeling like I was fainting, fast heart beat and slightly high pressure 155/95mmHg.
After a really "panic" since I believed I was having a stroke or something, I got up and measured my BP and Blood Sugar index all seemed not excessive. It took me quite some time to finally relax and get some sleep. The only symptom that is different from the panic symptoms I read about is a feeling of stiffness in my thighs and knees, which remained after this attack. That was one incident for which I went to see a pathologist, who made a neurological test on me, an ECG, BP measurement and stethoscope test. He did not find anything wrong, except the fact that I am a stressed person. Within 7 days, I had a similar attack, I called the pathologist and he told me to see a neurologist. She again found nothing but extreme stress, so she perscribed some Xanax for me, with a dosage of 0.5mg per day just before sleep. During the last 4-5 days (X-mas!) I did drink 2-3 drinks per day, so the problem did not appear. I did not use the pills because of the drinking.
Today, I had a small incident during day-time while reading a paper, only lasted 1-2 minutes or so, but scared me a bit. Additionally I have a bit of a stiffness in my knees and thighs right now, which is not normal.
My questions to you are:
1) do you agree of the panic attack diagnosis?
2) will anything physical happen to me if I do not take the pills ? (e.g. a heart attack or so)
3) did u ever hear the stiff legs symptom? I persistantly asked my doctors if there was a chance of sclerosis and both said no and did not ask for a CT
4) my neurologist offered to me the option of a) starting with Xanax in this mild dosage, which could minimize the symptom and then turn to other long-term treatments if neccessary (6-8 months pills without mentioning the name of the drug) or b) to go to the long term treatment directly. I chose the first, but like I said I have not taken Xanax yet. Please give me your opinion on the treatment.
Please excuse me for the long e-mail and my bad english, I would really appreciate the opinion of an expert on my condition.
With warm season greetings from Greece,
Stavros Petridis
 heavenscess - Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:54 am

I am not sure if I am having the same problem or not . But when people are over One of three things will happen. 1) I will have a erg to leave 2) My right arm and right side of my face may go numb which is always followed by a massive headache 3) I will start having troubles breathing and have to excuse myself for some time to catch my breath. See the main problem is that I don't want to leave . I want to be able to hang out with friends . I just finally started not leaving and just excusing myself for awhile. Tonight was real bad . We had some people come stay with us and some other friends over. I was fine when it was the guy i live with the kids and I . Then they showed up here . Just with them here i had to excuse myself. I could hear them fight which made things worse for me . If it wasn`t for the guy i live with I would have left and went and slept in my car . He got me to stay . I stayed back in the bedroom to try and keep it all away from me. But i started not being able to breath . So i turned to the only thing i have found that will calm me sounds wierd but i got on a video game and stayed in the bedroom . The 2 fighting left . Felt like bricks wasn`t taken off my chest . That was short lived . Two other friends came over and i had agreed to play cards . The whole time my chest was tight and i had troubles breathing . I am glad i didn`t get a headache or going numb which has happened in the past . But i can`t keep living like this . I mean I tried to talk to a doctor once but like for instance . I went to the doctor to get a PAPs done . I said i was gonna say something to her. When she asked if there was anything else all i wanted to do is leave and i did without saying a word . Because i was all nervous i think i just couldn`t i pretty much ran out . I know something is wrong But i don't know what it is and i don't know how to get help . I really think its i am scared of people . I am alright witht he kids and the guy but anyone else its iffy . Even the guy doesn`t know the extent of it . It be great to get some help on here i feel safe and not nervous in anyway . Maybe I need to see someone to talk to but it would be hard considering . I think i would get to the parking lot and end up leaving . I don't really wanna just its that bad . Thats the best i can explain whats going on with me .

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