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Anxiety


Rockalocka
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Did anyone else have anxiety like this?

Chest pain and tension mostly on left side

Headaches

Sick to stomach frequently

Fear of having a heart attack (keep in mind, according to my doctor, I'm a perfectly healthy 15 year old).

Fear of dying

Mild breathing issues.

 

this has been going on for months. So we are almost positive it's not heart issues.

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Anxiety can most definitely cause physical symptoms like you describe, but it's always best to get checked out by a doctor just to be safe. I dealt with similar symptoms when my anxiety was at its worst.

 

I have had to take medication for anxiety before which helped, but the best thing for me was to learn how to control it.

 

I hope you feel better soon!

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Similar symptoms to that, yes. I've got Generalized Anxiety Disorder and hypoglycemia. My main symptoms are:

 

Chest pain - tightness in center of chest

Pounding heart - I can feel it beating loudly, even if my pulse isn't unreasonable

Hyperventilating

Fear - of having an asthma attack (more family history of that than heart trouble). Also fear that this will never go away, that I'll be incapacitated for the rest of my life.

Trouble focusing

 

Intermittent symptoms:

 

Nausea

Vertigo

Generalized muscle weakness, sometimes to the point that I can't stand up

 

 

Basically what's going on is that I overreact to adrenaline rushes. When I'm stressed or my blood sugar drops (it's rather annoying that I can't tell the symptoms apart, because one can be fixed by eating food and the other can't), my body releases adrenaline to compensate. My brain then translates the physical symptoms of an adrenaline rush as a response to physical danger and I start to fear for my safety, which triggers more adrenaline, etc. I occasionally get full blow panic attacks, but most of the time I just feel kinda crappy and become very unproductive and paranoid.

 

Treatment involves being careful with nutrition (for the hypoglycemia), learning not to overreact to the changes in my body, and correcting a hormonal imbalance (which is less likely to be a problem for you, since you're male). The second I've done with a combination of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Theory) and meditation, both of which help me see the cycle starting before it gets bad. Once you're in the middle of it, there's not much you can do other than avoid making it worse and waiting for it to wear off (it helps to think of it as post-adrenaline jitters instead of a purely mental disorder; telling yourself to get over it an stop being crazy doesn't do a thing). For me, a lot of my triggers are stressful circumstances that I do not feel in control over, so the CBT also helps me realize that I do have some power to change bad things going on my life.

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Well, I got my blood tested and they did this thing to monitor my heart and everything came back fine. But my body just automatically starts saying "Heart attack!" so I usually have a panic attack from there. Sometimes instead of pain, I'll get an "empty" sensation on the left side about where the shoulder is. Tingling also comes into play. I get really worried sometimes.

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yea i have it some i think i get a fear i must control my breathing but it goes away after a while.

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Well, I got my blood tested and they did this thing to monitor my heart and everything came back fine. But my body just automatically starts saying "Heart attack!" so I usually have a panic attack from there. Sometimes instead of pain, I'll get an "empty" sensation on the left side about where the shoulder is. Tingling also comes into play. I get really worried sometimes.

 

Worry is perfectly normal when your body starts sending warning signals to your brain. I think of it like a "Check Engine" light on a car. Most of the time, when it goes off, there's something seriously wrong with the car that you should fix before the car dies. But some cars get finicky wiring, or a broken sensor, and the light goes off when there's nothing wrong with the engine. Now, there's still something wrong (like a broken sensor), but not wrong to the extent that the light is supposed to mean.

 

So you've done the responsible thing of trying to determine why the "light" is going off in your body and have learned that you are not having a heart attack. The trick now is sorta... fixing the broken sensor, if I push the analogy. Teach yourself to reinterpret the signs from your body. For me, if I think "oh, I'm just panicing, ignore that feeling" it doesn't help. I've found I am actually more calm if I notice the panic and listen to my body more. I will feel things like tension in my shoulders that's been there a while and hurts, mild nausea because it's time to eat, mild dehydration, little aches and pains that I'd been tuning out. And then I tell myself "I'm not having an asthma attack, I'm just in a lot of pain" and then I can try to fix it by eating, drinking more water, doing some stretches, having better posture, taking advil, whatever I need to do to fix the actual problem. Sometimes, if I remember to pay attention, I can start noticing the little aches and pains and fix them when they're small before they blow up into bigger problem.

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Well, I got my blood tested and they did this thing to monitor my heart and everything came back fine. But my body just automatically starts saying "Heart attack!" so I usually have a panic attack from there...

Much of the physical response to anxiety you're describing typically centers on the heart and upper gastrointestinal tract due to the influence of the vagus nerve, which wanders around your chest in those general areas. That nerve is connected with balance / vertigo and when stimulated can actually generate panic. There are even situations where people have acid reflux or stomach gas that irritates this nerve directly or indirectly in such a way as to cause chronic panic attacks. Either one feels vertigo or one has heart palpitations -- both trigger panic responses because the body stupidly assumes there is a real danger of falling and/or your heart not functioning properly. Panic is at least initially an autonomic response to certain things in these cases. Then it becomes a conditioned response, something like how a person with asthma becomes hyper-vigilant of anything that might trigger an attack, after they've had a couple of near-death experiences with them.

 

Unfortunately it takes an extraordinarily perceptive, intuitive and patient diagnostician to figure out all the moving parts that can go into panic attacks and anxiety. There probably isn't a single silver-bullet solution for you. You probably need to deal with it from all possible angles, with an emphasis on calming your mind down.

 

The really effective anti-anxiety meds like Ativan tend to lose effectiveness over time, and can be a nightmare to get off of as well, depending on your physiology. As such they aren't a long term solution for someone your age, even though some (perhaps many) doctors are dumb enough to prescribe them to as a first-choice way to "manage" cases. You definitely want to avoid docs who just want to throw pills at your problems as anything other than a stopgap.

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