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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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Ever since I had surgery in January, my anxiety and panic attacks

Customer Question

Ever since I had surgery in January, my anxiety and panic attacks have been out of control. I have heard this can be common. What are your thoughts on this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


 

DrFee :

I haave 20+ years of experience working with people with anxiety. Yes, a period of major stress, especially medical issues like surgery, can trigger an onstet of anxiety attacks.


 


 

DrFee :

One major problem with panic attacks for some people is that having them can become a trigger for more --because of the experience being so uncomfortable, scary, an awlful. The fear of having another attack actually increases the likelyhood that one will have another attack.


 


 


 

DrFee :

Hi --


 

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

Hi

DrFee :

The brain is wired to inform the body when "danger" is present.


 


 

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

I was trying to add more info to my question but you had already answered

DrFee :

You can add to it.


 

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

I have daily anxiety and panic attacks now with agoraphobia

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

it wont let me

DrFee :

You have to just put it into the chat


 


 

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

well...two weeks ago I went to the ER after waking up with my heart beating at about 150 and i was trembling

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

they said it was probably a panic attack

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

but my Dr put me on Atenolol to calm my heart and BP down

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

now I cant sleep, cant eat, and am a nervous wreck

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

All my tests came back normal...

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

are you there?

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

hello?

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

Please tell me that wasnt all you had to say

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- :

I am hoping that was not my $29 "detailed" answer. Is there a problem with the system?

Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

I am sorry, it appears that the chat was not working properly. I copied and pasted it below:

9:28 AM

I have 20+ years of experience working with people with anxiety. Yes, a period of major stress, especially medical issues like surgery, can trigger an onset of anxiety attacks.

9:29 AM

One major problem with panic attacks for some people is that having them can become a trigger for more --because of the experience being so uncomfortable, scary, an awful. The fear of having another attack actually increases the likelihood that one will have another attack.

9:30 AMJACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- has entered this chat!DrFee says:9:30 AM

Hi --

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:30 AM

Hi

DrFee says:9:30 AM

The brain is wired to inform the body when "danger" is present.

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:30 AM

I was trying to add more info to my question but you had already answered

DrFee says:9:31 AM

You can add to it.

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:31 AM

I have daily anxiety and panic attacks now with agoraphobia

9:31 AM

it wont let me

DrFee says:9:31 AM

You have to just put it into the chat

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:32 AM

well...two weeks ago I went to the ER after waking up with my heart beating at about 150 and i was trembling

9:32 AM

they said it was probably a panic attack

9:33 AM

but my Dr put me on Atenolol to calm my heart and BP down

9:33 AM

now I cant sleep, cant eat, and am a nervous wreck

9:33 AMJACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- has stepped out of this chat.JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:33 AM

All my tests came back normal...

9:33 AMJACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- has entered this chat!JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:34 AM

are you there?

DrFee says:9:34 AM

Yes, I was waiting for you to finish

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:37 AM

hello?

DrFee says:9:37 AM

The brain responds to the perception of danger and prepares the body to either fight it, run away from it, or have a freeze response. If you were walking in the path of an oncoming bus, it would be very useful to have your heart pounding very fast --so you can run. Part of the problem is, the brain does not know the difference between a bus and other kinds of triggers, which are related to "perceived" danger. So, it reacts the same way each time. If you were getting out of the way of an oncoming bus, you wouldn't think about your heart until later (after you

9:37 AM

You need to be a little patient, I have a lot I can tell you

9:38 AM

You would not think about your body if you were running away from a bus until later --after you realized you were almost hit by a bus. However, with anxiety where there is no obvious trigger like a bus, then your complete attention can be on all of the symptoms.

9:39 AM

One panic attack can "breed" more because of the nature of them --scary, uncomfortable, horrible experience.

9:39 AM

The fear of having another panic attack actually increases the likelihood of having another.

9:40 AM

And --the triggers can be very, very subtle --so that the attack can appear to come completely out of the blue

9:40 AM

So --I will tell you all of the categories of triggers --but you will have to work to figure out which apply to you and the specifics of your particular triggers.

9:42 AM

Triggers come in two forms --External (things outside of ourselves) and Internal (things within ourselves). External triggers are always linked to internal triggers. Sometimes 3 triggers are linked together. This happens extremely rapidly, subtlety, etc. So --you'll need to become really good at figuring out what is going on with you in the moment.

JACUSTOMER-uvpotl1l- says:9:42 AM

Please tell me that wasn't all you had to say

DrFee says:9:42 AM

Can you see all that I wrote so far?

9:43 AM

I have more --just checking in

9:44 AM

Are you still here?

9:45 AM

I will continue --I'm a little concerned as to whether you've gotten my previous responses.

9:47 AM

External triggers include anything perceived by the senses --sights/sounds/smell/touch/taste and ---what we call "overstimulation" (too much going on --such as being in a crowded place with lots of noise, lights, people, etc) and "Understimulation" (boredom --waiting for an appt., traffic, standing in line,etc) For some, florescent lights are a trigger.

That was most of the chat -I even missed a little of it copying and pasting....-I will continue from here with Internal Triggers:

Internal Triggers include thoughts, feelings, images, bodily sensations, and some fears (often of losing control, going "crazy" --Being too hot, hungry or tired can fall under "bodily sensations"

Like I said, 3 triggers can be rapidly linked together. One of the most subtle examples I have pertains to contact lenses --I've had a few people get tired, think that they can't see as well, have a thought of "I can't see" or "I'm going blind," and panic.

If you can identify triggers, you can address them to lower anxiety.

Again, I am so sorry the chat malfunctioned. Please respond to what I've said so far, and I will be happy to follow up what I've said with more information.

DrFee and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the info, but nothing was mentioned about panic attacks after surgery. I heard that this can be common and i was wondering what your thoughts were on this. That was really my specific question
Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

Yes -- a specific and difficult stressors such as surgery (it's not the only stressor, but medical procedures are actually a fairly common stressor) can cause panic attacks as a result.

While current stress seems to be a prerequisite for panic disorder, there are other important factors, such as the fear that follows for some following the initial panic attack. This often differentiates a person who develops panic disorder from someone who does not. If one can have a panic attack without developing an overwhelming fear of having another one, then they have a much better chance of not developing panic disorder than someone who has a great deal of fear about having a second (and subsequent) attacks --despite whatever that initial stressor might be.

Please feel free to follow up until you are completely satisfied with my response. I have a lot of knowledge about anxiety!