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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5246
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I desperately need help. I have had health problems

Resolved Question:

Hello, I desperately need help. I have had health problems for years and struggled with anxiety all my life mostly with undiagnosed emetophobia. I just now have gotten where I can even talk about it. I have had really bad experiences with doctors and had to practically beg numerous doctors to get help with my gallbladder that was diseased. But the last few years I have had a number of symptoms that could not be explained and as that time went on my anxiety has gotten so bad that I began having panic attacks while driving and I didn’t leave my house for 2 months. I just now have been able to leave the house to go to the store. The problem is that my mother and father (and I) believe that the unexplained symptoms I have been having may be due to hypothyroidism which can cause anxiety and panic attacks, we began to believe this when my tongue started swelling and I have a scalloped tongue and am lactating with out any reason. I really need to be tested but I am scared because it is sometimes really hard to be diagnosed, and I have developed a fear of doctors because of that. I have missed 3 doctors appointments due to panic attacks and refusing to go. I start to feel sick and I freak out. I don’t know what to do and I can’t do this my family.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It definitely sounds like you need to see a medical professional to rule out any physical problem that might be contributing to your panic and anxiety. But it is also understandable that you are experiencing panic and anxiety when you try to see the doctor. Although you already are dealing with anxiety, most people experience an increase in anxiety when faced with going to the doctors.

There are two needs here- one, getting you to the doctors for your appointment which may require some quick solutions just to take the edge off your anxiety enough so you can go, and two, a long term solution to help you deal with your anxiety.

The first step is to have ways to control your anxiety long enough to see the doctor. One of the best ways to do this is to practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation. It is almost impossible to stay fully anxious if you are focusing on your breathing and on relaxing. You may still have some symptoms, but they will be less than usual. Here are two resources to help:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-breathing-exercises-for-relaxation

http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

If you practice both of these exercises, it will help you gain more control over your anxiety.

The second issue, long term treatment, is dealt with through therapy, medication and self help. The good news is that anxiety is easy to treat with therapy. In therapy, you learn to pay attention to what you are thinking to make yourself anxious. The therapist then can help you change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to your thoughts. You also can learn about how to let yourself float through your anxiety thereby gaining more control over how you feel. When anxiety comes on, you allow it to flow over you without tensing or panicking in response. This makes the anxiety reduce or go away faster. To find a therapist, talk to your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.

Medications are helpful to ease the symptoms but they vary in their effectiveness. Each person has their own body chemistry and what works for one may not work for another so trying a few medications before you find one that you like is normal. Medications can help to reduce your symptoms quickly so you can work on overcoming your fears.

You can also help yourself at home. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about anxiety. Here are some to get you started:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.


I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5246
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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