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Question
Posted by: Reposted cos ignored | 2012-09-16

Catasrtrophizing

Hi there

(I am reposting this as you answered other questions after mine but skipped my question)

My Gp thinks I may be catastrohizing. I have what I feel to be anxiety attacks : panicky feeling, nausea (more often than not followed by vommitting), fatigue, feelings of doom or dread, headaches, lethargy and body pains.

For the smallest thing I seem to think that the worst is going to happen. A couple of months ago I was so nauseous and vommitting at work and feeling faint. It took me a while but for several weeks I kept thinking I was going to feel the same way every day after that. I would wake up nauseous (I was also on anti depressants that made me extremely nauseous and drowsy). Now I still get the nausea 1-2 times a week. I am seeing a therapist tomorrow for either CBT or hypnotherapy.

I have some psychological issues due to a traumatic experience in my past that I never dealt with properly at the time, now 14 years later I am trying to deal with it but my anxiety levels are lately (last 4 months mainly) at an alltime high. The smallest thing will set me off - I worry if I am going to feel extremely hungry and if I have enough to eat (once I worked at a function and was so busy I didnt get to eat all day by evening I was shaking, nauseous and felt very faint and then couldnt eat) so now every time I feel anxiolus I start feeling very hungry and then needing to eat (even though I know I should have already eaten enough to last several hours) - I get hungry within an hour or two of eating!
Please advise on the best methods of overcoming catastrophizing either via CBT or hypnotherapy or whatever other methods there are - I hate feeling negative all the time and i want to feel happy and healthy again.
Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I never ever ignore a question. But last week on some days, one in particular, there were serious problems within the SA internet, sometimes I couldn't get into the site at all, sometimes answers didn't get posted, and sometimes questions got lost. Thanks for re-posting !
So, sorry you were inconvenienced, and here goes.
What you desctibe sounds very like panic attacks, and should respond to proper treatment of panic disorder, with the right medications (which neednt make you nauseous or drowsy, especially after the first couple fo weeks, once your body gets used to them, ), and if possible also CBT style counselling. I'd prefer you to be assessed and diagnosed, and treatment options discussed with you. A GP can continue the prescriptions, but its best to start with the most expert opinion available.
But the other episodes you describe sound like hypoglycemia, when your blood sugar levels drop unusually low, when you haven't eaten properly or too long ; the sensations caused may be broadly similar, but are relieved fairly quickly by taking sweet tea or some similar quickly absorbed sugaryy drink. Also, try eating more of a low GI diet, which keeps you feeling full for longer, and is better at maintaining more steady blood sugar levels.
Once the hypoglycemic symptoms start, you can get anxieous about that, which could make the combination even more like a panic attack.
I would rather use the term catastrophizing for someone who turns all sorts of minor worries into major catastrophies, in an exaggerated fashion, without the physical basis which panic disorder, anxiety disorder or hypoglycaemia can provide.
Hypnosis would be useless, but CBT could help you learn a range of better ways of handling anxiety when you experience it, from whatever cause, to realistically assess such situations, and to remain usefully calm. It can also help if you have developed bad habits of discovering the most negative aspects of all events, and the potential for doom in all sorts of situations where that isn't helpful.
Either way, maybe the first best step would be to see a proper specialist psychiatrist for a fresh assessment, a discussion of diagnosis and treatment options, and the formation of a sound treatment plan so you can return to feeling happy, positive and healthy again

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Concerned Mom | 2012-09-17

Hi

I have just come through a very difficult stage in my life, where I was also catastrophizing everything. On the recommendation of my Psychiatrist, I underwent some sessions with my Psychologist who is trained in CBT (cognative Behaviour Theraphy) and together we have turned my life around. I now know how to recognize what is bringing on the anxiety/panic, and work atrecognising and eliminatingthose triggers, and also learned how not to catastrophize things, and focus on that which i can manage in small chunks. It takes time and practice, but I would recommend that you seriously consider seeing someone who is trained in CBT as it really works, if you follow the guidelines as given by the therapist.

Good luck

Reply to Concerned Mom
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-09-16

I never ever ignore a question. But last week on some days, one in particular, there were serious problems within the SA internet, sometimes I couldn't get into the site at all, sometimes answers didn't get posted, and sometimes questions got lost. Thanks for re-posting !
So, sorry you were inconvenienced, and here goes.
What you desctibe sounds very like panic attacks, and should respond to proper treatment of panic disorder, with the right medications (which neednt make you nauseous or drowsy, especially after the first couple fo weeks, once your body gets used to them, ), and if possible also CBT style counselling. I'd prefer you to be assessed and diagnosed, and treatment options discussed with you. A GP can continue the prescriptions, but its best to start with the most expert opinion available.
But the other episodes you describe sound like hypoglycemia, when your blood sugar levels drop unusually low, when you haven't eaten properly or too long ; the sensations caused may be broadly similar, but are relieved fairly quickly by taking sweet tea or some similar quickly absorbed sugaryy drink. Also, try eating more of a low GI diet, which keeps you feeling full for longer, and is better at maintaining more steady blood sugar levels.
Once the hypoglycemic symptoms start, you can get anxieous about that, which could make the combination even more like a panic attack.
I would rather use the term catastrophizing for someone who turns all sorts of minor worries into major catastrophies, in an exaggerated fashion, without the physical basis which panic disorder, anxiety disorder or hypoglycaemia can provide.
Hypnosis would be useless, but CBT could help you learn a range of better ways of handling anxiety when you experience it, from whatever cause, to realistically assess such situations, and to remain usefully calm. It can also help if you have developed bad habits of discovering the most negative aspects of all events, and the potential for doom in all sorts of situations where that isn't helpful.
Either way, maybe the first best step would be to see a proper specialist psychiatrist for a fresh assessment, a discussion of diagnosis and treatment options, and the formation of a sound treatment plan so you can return to feeling happy, positive and healthy again

Reply to cybershrink

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