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911Doctor
911Doctor, Doctor
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Emergency Physician
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Hi. I have started to have what I think are panic attacks again..

Resolved Question:

Hi. I have started to have what I think are panic attacks again.. I need someone to reassure that the symptoms I am having is most likely what it is. For starters, out of no where at a complete rest my heart just starts beating very rapidly and it gets harder for me to breath, like I notice myself taking short shallow breaths, followed by (after I notice) long deep breaths (the long deep breaths dont help) - Also, I get light headed sometimes during these episodes and sometimes the outside of my chest hurts.
I went to the hospital for the what I remember to be almost the exact same thing, chest hurting, some breathing issues, about a year ago and they didnt find anything at all... I spent three days in the hospital and they did CT scans on all of my internal organs, blood work, stress test and nothing bad was found.

I have been diagnosed with anxiety/HA but cannot be regularly be prescribed medicine due to me being a recovering alcoholic. There were two precusors to both of these 'panic attacks', the stay in the hospital was a panic attack due to a ct scan finding a small (2.5mm) non-calcified nodule on my left lung (which I am still afraid has turned into a huge tumor, hense the breathing problems)... the second issue (the current panic attack, if thats what it is) has been since my father has been admitted to the ICU for accute kidney failure and a heart attack.

Help?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  911Doctor replied 3 years ago.

911Doctor :

The symptoms you are experiencing are definitely symptoms of panic attack.

911Doctor :

The question is whether the symptoms ARE the result of a panic attack.

911Doctor :

Given your extensive workup done in the past

911Doctor :

And given that you have identified triggers to the panicky events

911Doctor :

I think it is very reasonable to think this IS the cause.

911Doctor :

the lung nodule is of no concern as long as your doctor is following this over time... a yearly chest Xray should be sufficient.

911Doctor :

also,

911Doctor :

most current treatment for anxiety does NOT involve prescribing addictive medicines

911Doctor :

most of the commonly prescribed anti-depressants

911Doctor :

work quite well for anxiety

911Doctor :

I would get in with your doctor soon to talk about treatment for your anxiety and panic

911Doctor :

I do not see you in the chat

911Doctor :

I am going to switch to Q and A for ease of use

911Doctor :

please let me know if you have any follow up questions

911Doctor :

and positive feedback is always appreciated.

911Doctor :

best

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi! My computer died and had to reboot... Im available for chat now if you would like. I forgot two things, the first is that, I take welbutrin the second, and this has never happened before - the muscles, twitching in my chest and abdomen, when they release the breathing issue goes (along with a occasional dry cough) goes away and I feel better...

Two things DO help. The first is sleep. When I can goto sleep and wake up in the morning I dont have any of these symptoms. The second is if I exercise or get my heart rate up a little more then just sitting - I dont notice the breathing issues or heart problems.

Whats weird is that the health anxiety focus is usually cancer - which I am terrified of, not my heart or breathing/pulmonary type stuff.

Expert:  911Doctor replied 3 years ago.
no way to switch back to chat unfortunately.

I don't know what to tell you except that if you read through the mayo clinic link I sent you will see your symmptoms listed as being common with panic attacks.

wellbutrin may or may not be helping you, but discussing a possible change in medication may be helpful IF these symptoms are the result of panic attacks.

but past this there is no MEDICAL was for me to reassure you about whether this is panic or something else. I do not have your medical records, I can not examine you, and I can not order tests.

Still, from your story and the way you describe your symptoms and given your medical workup last year the likelihood is that these ARE panic induced symptoms.

best
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