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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Today I had a strange episode while talking on the phone. I

Customer Question

Today I had a strange episode while talking on the phone. I didn't feel anxious or panicky. I have been diagnosed with panic/anxiety disorders. I have been checked out by two cardiologists, and they said my heart was fine. They did EKGs, Echo, Thallium Stress Test, blood tests, and x-ray. I have also been to the ER twice. Today I was just talking and my jaw started hurting, and then I had this strange sensation of tingling and burning up the back of my neck and head. I got off the phone and went to my family doctor. He didn't even do an EKG because he says it was a panic attack. He says that I don't have heart disease, so I am not going to have a heart attack. Do you agree with this? I am very afraid of having a heart attack.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Sometimes anxiety can sneak up on you and cause bodily symptoms that seem like they are physical in origin when really they are related to anxiety. You don't necessarily have to have a panic attack to experience these symptoms, either.

It is very good that you went to see your doctor to be sure. And you have been checked out thoroughly by more than one doctor previous to today. You have been careful and thorough about your health and that is good. If you still feel that this episode was not panic but was physical, you can always see another doctor for a second opinion. The problem with your doctor knowing that you have panic disorder is that they are going to assume that any ache or pain you have is related to the panic, especially since you have had previous testing done to show you are healthy. However, since you have been checked out so well, the assumption on the doctor's part is probably right. But if it settles your mind, see another doctor to be sure.

Have you had these same symptoms since? Most likely if you have not, then you are ok and it was panic. Panic can manifest itself almost exclusively through bodily sensations and since they are frightening sensations they can scare you, a lot. But even the most frightening of symptoms usually end up being just that, symptoms of panic disorder.

If it would help, next time you experience something strange, have a trusted friend or family member stay with you until you feel sure you are ok. That way, if you start to feel worse, they can help you get to the doctor.

I hope this has helped you,

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ms. Kate, What effect does anxiety have on blood pressure? How can I stop these thoughts of being afraid I am going to die? I look at my one and three year olds, and feel that I am not going to see them grow up.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Anxiety cannot cause you to have long term hypertension. Blood pressure causes are different and cannot be as a result of mental health issues. However, anxiety can cause your blood pressure to spike, but that does not necessarily put you in any danger.

There are things you can do to help control the effect of anxiety and blood pressure can have on you.

First, be sure you talk with your doctor about your concerns. The doctor can determine if you do have high blood pressure from other causes and if you need medications, he or she can prescribe them for you. Also, talk with your doctor about how blood pressure works, what is normal and not normal, and how anxiety can affect your blood pressure. Also, if you do have blood pressure, talk with your doctor about taking a baby aspirin and an Omega 3 supplement. Omega 3's especially have been shown to help enormously in preventing many common ailments and keeping your body and blood pressure normal.

Two, keep yourself healthy. This is very much in your control. Eat right, exercise and get enough rest. Common sense, I know, but it is important. How you treat yourself can help you control your chances of developing something like high blood pressure. Plus, research has shown that how a person lives their life and how they treat themselves affects how long they live.

Three, keep in mind that many people walk around every day with very high blood pressure and don't even know it. Even people under treatment for blood pressure problems experience spikes in blood pressure every day. It is a normal part of your day to experience ups and downs in blood pressure. Your body is equipped to handle these variations.

Four, educate yourself. Read books on anxiety and the effects of blood pressure. Also, learning a basic understanding of how blood pressure works will help you from imagining the worst. One word of caution however- there is a lot of research on line but be careful to check anything you read with your doctor to be sure it is accurate.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Are there other people like me who have these fears constantly going through their head? I am on xanax xr, respiradol, and paxil. This is going on the third week of meds. I never had these fears until January of this year. I am seeing a psychiatrist and therapist.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Yes, you are not alone in this. Anxiety and panic are some of the most common mental health issues. Studies have shown that at any given time, at least one out of every five patients in a health center or ER has some type of anxiety disorder. There are literally millions of people who deal with anxiety every day. And those are the ones that are known to professionals. There are many more that suffer and do not tell anyone.

Keep in mind that once you develop anxiety, it creates patterns in your sympathetic nervous system. This system arouses your body to prepare it for activity to preserve your life. It helps you respond to a threat or emergency. What happens in anxiety is that once you turn this pattern of worry on, your sympathetic nervous system learns that you are always under threat so it turns on easier and faster. Your body has nowhere else to put these reactions so you learn to be fearful and it's hard to turn it off again.

Therapy can help you turn this reaction off again. It just takes time and some effort. The medication can help you treat and cope with the symptoms, but therapy will help you relearn how to relax and think in more calming ways.


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Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Thank you very much for the additional accept and the bonus! I really appreciate it. However, I think you may have pressed the negative button by accident. Would it be ok for you to contact the moderator to change it?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
sorry!!!! I will try to get this corrected.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

That's ok! Thank you for looking into it.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ok. I have contacted them, hopefully they will get this corrected quickly. How often should I be seeing a therapist? I have an appointment in 3 weeks. This doesn't seem soon enough to me.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Thank you very much for contacting JA to fix the negative. I appreciate it.

It depends on where the therapist is that you are seeing. If they are working in community mental health, the wait can be up to 6 weeks. If they are with a group, it can vary greatly. If they are on their own, then usually within a week or two.

You should see them at least once a week, unless you are almost done with therapy then you and your therapist can decide how often you need to come in before ending therapy.


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