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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Dear doctor, I had a number of physical symptoms for over a

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Dear doctor,
I had a number of physical symptoms for over a month. My doctor has sent me for a lot of tests and can't find anything wrong. She is now saying that I have an anxiety disorder. I have had no history of anxiety, but I do agree that I am now developed anxiety over these symptoms. The queston is whether the symptoms themselves are just another manifestation of the anxiety. I have lightheadedness, an overall malaise and severe fatigue. It's difficult to function at all. It's debiliating 24 hours a day, with some improvement in the evening. Is it common for anxious patients to feel COSTANTLY physically debilitated (sick) from their disorder? I would expect to feel more common anxiety symptoms -heart racing, stomach problems intermittenly and not feel sick all the time.

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

Although fatigue, lightheadedness and overall malaise can be symptoms of anxiety, it is not usually all the person feels.

You are correct, anxiety usually manifests itself with racing heart, nervousness or feeling edgy, sweating, the need to get out of where ever you are, trouble concentrating, and sleep difficulties. And these are only some of the possible symptoms. In my experience, most people with anxiety present with more symptoms than you have and are not sure what they have. They may mentioned feeling physically bad, but mostly they talk about how they feel rather than feeling sick physically.

There are many forms of anxiety. But your symptoms, though part of anxiety, do not seem to fit the normal presentation of anxiety symptoms. If anything, it sounds more like depression than anxiety, if you are looking at a possible mental health cause. But even then, you would not describe feeling sick as much as you would say you feel down or sad.

Has your doctor ruled out Epstein Barr or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Although I am not a physician, your symptoms remind me of those disorders.

Did your therapist do an evaluation? This would either tell you if you fit the criteria for anxiety or depression or it would rule it out. Your therapist should have been able to tell you if you do have either anxiety or depression.

You also may want to switch doctors and get a second opinion. Doctors can be wrong, like anyone else can, and it helps to have a new perspective on your situation.

I hope this helps,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I do have other symptoms which I definitely feel are anxiety - tightness in my chest and repetitive negative thoughts from time to time ( more like panic). The interesting thing is that on most days, all the physical symptoms are better in the evening ( a trait of anxiety, I thought). One last question about symptoms. Do you ever hear that anxiety produces a sensation across the face like a mask? I have a tightness all day that almost feels like I have on a cosmetic facial mask.

Thank you for the additional information, it helps.

Yes, it does sound like anxiety now, with the additional symptoms you mentioned. You can have tightness across your face as a symptom. It probably is from the tension you are feeling from anxiety. People often feel a tightness in their scalp and/or face with anxiety. It helps to learn relaxation techniques so you can address this problem easily when it occurs.


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