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Old 12-28-2003, 06:35 PM   #1
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anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

Hi All,

I've never posted here before but wondered if there is anyone else out there in my shoes? I'm a high energy, confident 30 something year-old guy that has (had) a busy life. I've never suffered depression or extreme anxiety before - just normal "off" days occasionally like anyone else. In late August I was hit, out of the blue, with an inner ear virus called "labyrinthitis". The condition has caused me relentless anxiety for 4 months from the subtle vertigo that screws with the sympathetic nervous system. The result of all the anxiety has been (lately) acute bouts of depression and panic attacks, usually in the mornings.

Christmas Day was the last straw - a full blown panic attack occurred, the likes of which I had never experienced before...even my hands went numb from it! The next day I felt like a hollow shell with the soul sucked out of it - terrible stuff. In the mornings when I wake up, I'm totally wired and nervous. So I've finally bitten the bullet and started taking Zoloft to break the anxiety cycle and get my life back again. I've tried soooo hard to handle this without drugs but I hope I'm a stronger person for admitting that I need this kind of help. I just can't believe how this one off event (the virus) has turned my life upside down for so long now. I feel like a real mess at the moment. I just long to feel like my old happy-go-lucky self again.

Can anyone else out there relate to this? Have you had a traumatic event occur (virus, death, etc) where, all of a sudden, you were thrown into a heightened state of angst and then bouts of short-lived depression? I was told that 3 - 6 months on Zoloft should sort it out....can't wait to see the backside of this.

Thanks.......Scott

 
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Old 12-28-2003, 09:22 PM   #2
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Re: anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

Hi Scott,

I have seen you on the inner ear disorders board. It makes total sense that when one loses control of one's life (through illness)and it isn't like it used to be and doesn't seem to get back to how it used to be....anxiety, depression and other physical manifestations happen too.

I've had BPPV in my right ear since 1966 (11 years old), so I've lived with that most of my life. It wasn't a constant until a few years ago when it happened in my left ear also. But, that wasn't what created my anxiety attacks. There was a personal situation that caused me great depression -- I just happened to have full-blown vestibular symptoms as well.

I lived with anxiety and depression, BPPV, neck and body aches, blah, blah....all my life. I had lung surgery due to collapsed lung in '75 and met the best ENT while in the hospital. I have asthma, ulcerative colitis, had hysterectomy due to endometriosis and fibroids at age 38...but none of that caused my anxiety attacks.

All of that takes adjustment, and yes there are days when I'm just sick of taking meds and accommodating for everything. But, I'm coping well with the chronic disorders and hope I can continue without anything else popping up!!

In the 80's when I was diagnosed with asthma, my whole body started to become reactive to EVERYTHING! The worst was my hands turning RED, BRIGHT RED!!! Everyone could see them, I couldn't hide it......Everything else I have, people can't see.

The anxiety I've always had, but the panic attacks started due to family rejection problems and it was soon afterward I sought therapy for my hands and to get told I was OK.....well, I was told I wasn't OK -- that was the start of my relief process.

It's very typical for those of us with any vestibular problem to have some kind of anxiety....your thoughts are what keeps it going and a vicious cycle is continuing.

The numb hands are classic of panic/anxiety attack...like having a stroke. I only had a few and it totally freaked me out. Having biofeedback may help, as will seeking therapy to deal with the anxiety through cognitive behavioural therapy. It certainly helped me and although my hands on occasion still turn red, I know why.

But, it won't help your vestibular disorder. You have to know what to expect with that, get information and learn to differentiate your thoughts in relation to your disorder and how it affects your anxiety. There are two separate issues which have melded into one. It's hard to see that.

Zoloft will help your coping....but if you don't learn to recognise your thought patterns, the tools you need won't be gotten. Use time to focus on what you can change.....the labyrinthitis will probably have to run its course and you know there are vestibular exercises to help with brain compensation.

What you're going through is normal, and there are steps you can take to help you through the process.

Mild dizziness can sometimes worse because to me it's like being drunk all the time. Perception is like being in a dream or a sensory depravation tank....feels sureal.
I have found sudafed helps, but that's because I have eustachian symptoms as well as sinus stuffiness. I seem to treat each symptom when I need to....but I don't take anti-vertigo prescription meds. When I'm nauseated, I take gravol, but on the days it felt like I was walking on a 10 inch spongy mat on a swinging bridge, that's when I took a half gravol. It did help. Those were days I was basically non-functioning and just stayed quiet to avoid more nausea.

I've been on Effexor XR (75 mg) for over a year to help with the depression...it's worked well.

I hope the Zoloft helps and that you feel much better soon. Sometimes a little light at the end of a very long dark tunnel can be so inspiring...the getting there can take a while.

Best to you,
quincy
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Last edited by quincy; 12-28-2003 at 09:29 PM.

 
Old 12-28-2003, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

Hi Scott,

.....yes I can relate to a great deal of what you're going through, you're not alone, but my symptoms are not quite as severe as yours.
In July of this year, I developed an inner ear infection, incl. tinnitus, booming/thundering noises in the ear, fluttering sounds, etc. I was prescribed amoxillin by a doctor at work, and a week later, I was totally better. All fine and dandy....so I thought!!

At the beginning of September (5 weeks later), the inner ear infection/virus came back .....the tinnitus was worse, far worse, the ringing in my ears was constant every minute of every hour of every day and it was very loud many times. "Subtle" vertigo also set in and plagued me off and on; I got anxiety attacks also and for no reason my heart was always pounding and pounding even when I woke up in the morning and also at bedtime! Maybe "racing" would be another way to describe it. Depression set in big time late September, just what I needed! I went to my family doc this time, he saw no infection, but sent me to a ENT (ear-nose-throat doctor) and he saw a healed scar/infection which I had last July and that's all he did for me!

I went back to my family doc, he sent me for blood tests on my thyroid and EKG tests too. All turned out okay with these tests. I got frustrated and I finally went back to my family doc last week and he prescribed another/different antibiotic for me called Pondocillin (Pivampicillin). Might also mention that the tinnitus was driving me to despair, but the anxiety had lessened though. The family doc said if these antibiotics don't help (10 days to take them), I am to come back and he will prescribe a very low dose of anti-depressants which will help make my tinnitus bearable.
There was no visible sign of any returning infection; these antibiotics are to treat bacterial infection. I should also mention that my ears get sore (inside) every so often.

As of today, the tinnitus has gotten somewhat better; I am half way finished my round of antibiotics, with 5 more days to take them. The depression and anxiety have lessened also, so maybe these drugs are doing some good. In that case, I guess I would have had a low-grade virus all along?
It has been an ordeal every day to put up with, so I know how you feel, believe me.
Hopefully it will clear up completely; I hate taking drugs and I don't like going to doctors!! (Who really does?)
I should also add one other devastating thing I had to put up with and that is almost every morning when I would wake up, I would be overcome with a heavy, heavy feeling of dread and hopelessness on top of the depression. This has improved to a degree, too....(Knock on wood!!)

Scott, I just thought I would share my story with you and I wish you the very best of luck in your battle with this, too!!
As I said, you aren't alone...I know that sounds like cold comfort, but I mean it in a good, friendly way.

I did read your posts on the Inner Ear board, by the way.
Very interesting to read. ......Oh, coincidentally, I live in Toronto, always have.....you're an ex Torontonian, I see!

Keep us informed Scott of your progress. We're listening and reading!!
Must go now....wow such a long post, I've written here!

WarBonds

 
Old 12-29-2003, 01:15 AM   #4
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Re: anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

WarBonds, have to reply to your post here. Your story sounds very much like what I went thru a few years ago. This will involve the ear thing, the depression I've had most of my life & don't connect it to the ear probs. Ok, here is my story about my ear probs. Started out with the roof of my mouth hurting, way in back where there is soft tissue, the right side & also that ear. Family doc gave me anti-b's. Finished them & the pain was back. After about 3 diff. anti-b's he suggested I see an ENT. ENT says, lets get a cat scan. Showed nothing wrong. Did that test where they put a tube up thru your nose & into your throat, also showed nothing. I went thru 19 different anti-b's in just over a year & also ended up with a bad tonsil infection along the way. Everytime I went back to the ENT my ear was hurting inside & my jaw, the roof of my mouth etc. I did have one molar in the back on the bottom on that side, I would always clench my teeth due to stress & it seemed that it irritated that molar when I clenched. mentioned it to the ENT one day & he said to get it looked at & possibly taken out. Had tooth removed & the ear cleared up. Also, did not have any pressure point to clench on after tooth was gone. The oral surgeon said it was probably TMJ causing all the probs. That my clenching & putting pressure on that side of my jaw was most likely the cause of all my problems, sore ear, sore throat, glands, eye & headaches. So, in a round about way, my stress/anxiety was the cause of all of it. I never would have thought that could cause all that ear pain & all the other probs. Oh, I also had ringing in my ears during that period too & it was enough to drive me crazy.

 
Old 12-29-2003, 10:17 PM   #5
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Re: anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

Lori,

As far as the anxiety/stress issue, I can relate to that. I tend to be a hyper/anxious person, but not all the time, mind you. In the past, I was able to deal with it.
But these symptoms mentioned in my post above came on during and after my ear infection last summer.
The ear probs brought new symptoms and exacerbated the old "bad" ones....today was a BAD tinnitus day, I feel dredged out....but the saga continues to look for a solution...

WarBonds

ps....You had 19 rounds of anti-b's in one year?? Yikes!
I'm glad you did finally solve your problem, though.

 
Old 12-30-2003, 01:49 AM   #6
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Re: anxiety/panic disorder from a virus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarBonds
Lori,

As far as the anxiety/stress issue, I can relate to that. I tend to be a hyper/anxious person, but not all the time, mind you. In the past, I was able to deal with it.
But these symptoms mentioned in my post above came on during and after my ear infection last summer.
The ear probs brought new symptoms and exacerbated the old "bad" ones....today was a BAD tinnitus day, I feel dredged out....but the saga continues to look for a solution...

WarBonds

ps....You had 19 rounds of anti-b's in one year?? Yikes!
I'm glad you did finally solve your problem, though.
YES, 19 anti-b's in about a years time. I'm surprised anti-b's even still work for me after all that. They also tried many sinus meds, just glad they found out what it was, as I truthfully, couldn't take much more of it. Talk about thinking you are crazy!!! Hope you find the cause of yours, I can definitely relate to what you are going thru.

 
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