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Question
Posted by: Clouded | 2012/06/25

is it anxiety?Am i going mad?

Hi doctor
I really need help or a little advice. About 7years ago i was diagnosed with panick attacks, after numerous visits to the ER, cardiologists, health experts and GP''s. I had overwelming dizziness, couldnt breath, and my heart felt like it was about to pop out of my chest. It alll started when a doctor incorrectly told me i was having early warning signs of a stroke when ifnact it was just a migraine. I managed to bring it all under control after a few years with only a panick attacj occuring every couple of months. However now, I am experiencing the same symptoms, being seven yeasr later and im starting to belive something is medically wrong with me again! Ive been to 3 different doctors, but they cannot find anything wrong, but this time i did not see an expert. i have this overwhelimg fear that im just going to drop dead or die in my sleep:( its effecting my work whereby i will be sitting at my desk and all of a sudden just start feeling dizzy and cannot breath. The other day i took a walk and out of no where my heart started pounding and i kept trying to reasure myslf i would be ok and it finally subsided. I just feel like I am goin mad! I feel like im going to just lose control when it happens and i just want to run away and get out of where ever i am as quick as possible! Please help me or give me some sort of advice. I cannot afford a psychiatrists fees at this point, but please just let me know this is normal and it is panick attacks and it can go away at some point, i feel like i have become a hyperchndriac, i constantly serf the net for symptoms and if someones tells me of someone dying from some illness, i start to fear that i have it and that i have those symptoms! what is wrong with me??

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Firstly, no, you are definitely not going mad, though I understand that it may feel as though you are. People who are going mad rarely recognize it nor ask this question.
You were previously diagnosed with Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder, a well-recognized form of Anxiety Disorder, which usually responds well to proper treatment.
Other doctors really ought to diagnose this very typical condition more easily, and not only after doing masses of cardiac and other elaborate and expensive testing.
And it doesn't sound, from your message, as though the diagnosis was properly or effectively treated. As Liza sumamrises well, medications ( mainly some also used to treat depression ) and CBT style counselling, can be highly effective in this condition. But do see a properly qualified specialist psychiatrist for assessment and a discussion of these treatment options.
As, during a panic atack, your body and brain are flooded with emergency chemicals which typically make you feel as though you are going mad or about to drop dead, but these unpleasant events don't actually happen, treatment can soon bring valuable relief.
If you can't afford to see a private psychiatrist ( though consider the cost of not being properly treated ) and if your medical aid wont cover this, as it should, explore what's available at your nearest medical school or major state / provincial hospital. They should be able to make this diagnosis and provide basic treatment just as well.

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.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Clouded | 2012/06/28

Annatjie, I just cannot live like this anymore. i went to the GP today. he has prescribed AD, I am considering whether or not to take them, I have heard such negative thigs about AD that it gives me anxiety just thinking about it. Im glad I am not alone too, its terrible having this condition:(

Reply to Clouded
Posted by: Annatjie | 2012/06/27

Though I was the only one getting these attacks. Medical exhausted and still feeling the same. All my sympathy. Only glad I am not the only one out there with this weird condition, which is also a scary condition.

Reply to Annatjie
Posted by: Liza | 2012/06/26

It''s definitely some form of anxiety disorder. Luckily most anxiety disorders can be improved immensely with CBT-style therapy (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as well as certain anti-depressants. Tranquillizers like Ativan could also be used occasionally, but it is addictive if used too often. If you cannot afford a psychiatrist, a GP can prescribe the medication, but psychiatrists have much more experience with the kind of medications that help for anxiety and would be in a much better position to help. Also know that AD''s take about 2 weeks to start showing positive effects, but if the situation hasn''t improved within 3 weeks, you''d probably need to change to a different AD.

Just remember that you''re not alone and definitely not going mad. It could also help to phone the Depression and Anxiety group helpline to find out whether there are any anxiety support groups in your area. The number is at the top of the webpage.

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/06/26

Firstly, no, you are definitely not going mad, though I understand that it may feel as though you are. People who are going mad rarely recognize it nor ask this question.
You were previously diagnosed with Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder, a well-recognized form of Anxiety Disorder, which usually responds well to proper treatment.
Other doctors really ought to diagnose this very typical condition more easily, and not only after doing masses of cardiac and other elaborate and expensive testing.
And it doesn't sound, from your message, as though the diagnosis was properly or effectively treated. As Liza sumamrises well, medications ( mainly some also used to treat depression ) and CBT style counselling, can be highly effective in this condition. But do see a properly qualified specialist psychiatrist for assessment and a discussion of these treatment options.
As, during a panic atack, your body and brain are flooded with emergency chemicals which typically make you feel as though you are going mad or about to drop dead, but these unpleasant events don't actually happen, treatment can soon bring valuable relief.
If you can't afford to see a private psychiatrist ( though consider the cost of not being properly treated ) and if your medical aid wont cover this, as it should, explore what's available at your nearest medical school or major state / provincial hospital. They should be able to make this diagnosis and provide basic treatment just as well.

Reply to cybershrink

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