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Old 08-27-2007, 02:41 AM   #1
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anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Hi everyone,

I am having my first ENT appointment in a weeks time and I am concerned they will say its all in my head.

I first starting getting very bad dizzie spells 5 years ago, it was like a falling sensation and the ground looked like it was moving to the left ?
After having this on going for 6 months, I then started panicking when ever I felt the symptoms, I felt so terrified. My doctors then diagnosed me with panic disorder but I used to say its cos of the dizzie spells.
5 years later and several ear infections later and fluid notised behind my ear drum and a retracted ear drum , they now send me to the ENT.
I get most of my dizzies walking ., like down the street, or walking down a narrow shop isle, or turning round a corner, or looking up at the clock or shop shelves. Its like I cant take too much visual stimulation whilst out shopping, its horrible. Sometimes I actually feel sick when I get the floor moving, it moves so fast , like it shifts to the left as quick as a blink !

Also , what is the difference between anxiety dizzy and ear problems dizzy ?

Does anyone else get like this ?
and whats the best way to explain it all to ENT ?

any help much appreciated

xxx

Last edited by mnsk; 08-27-2007 at 02:46 AM.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 04:16 AM   #2
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Hi,

There's plenty in the science literature supporting anxiety as secondary to balance disorders. Don't let them make you think for a minute it's all in your head or that you are anxious first and dizzy second. From a previous post:

A recent study by Staab and Ruckenstein (2007) where they studied 345 men and women found the following:

Chronic dizziness had several common causes, including anxiety disorders, migraine, traumatic brain injuries, and dysautonomia ... BUT ... the high prevalence of secondary anxiety may give a false impression of psychogenicity. 60% of subjects had anxiety with their dizziness and 2/3 of those fell into the category of "Otogenic Chronic Subjective Dizzines (OCSD)".

What do they mean by OCSD?

OCSD: Patients with otogenic CSD have no history of anxiety predating dizziness. They developed CSD and anxiety following a temporary medical conditions that affected their balance systems (eg, vestibular neuronitis, transient ischemic attack, or deconditioning of balance reflexes after prolonged illness).

Also: At least 30% of patients with migraine (they weren't certain how many more might have had vestibular migraine which is not well defined yet) had coexisting anxiety disorders.

Treatment: previous work by this group has found that SSRIs work well for people with CSD but on the other hand it may be that the SSRI was treating MAV in these people (as it has in me). We must remember too that Staab is a psychiatrist so may have a bias towards SSRI treatment.

You're not some out of control anxiety case - that's rubbish.

Scott

 
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Thanks for that scotsman, it makes very interesting reading.

My next question would be,

If you have the dizzies so bad that you then go on to develop anxiety and panic, would you then still panic or feel panicky without any dizzies ?

Like today we went out and there were so many people about that I felt a instant panicky feeling. Could it be the dizzy spells have primed me to be a panicky person in general ?

Is this possible ?

 
Old 08-27-2007, 09:23 AM   #4
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

mnsk - sorry to butt in, but my experience with this is that once I start feeling better (no dizziness, no nausea, etc.), my anxiety is much much better. I definitely have some balance issues and dizziness, which immediately goes hand in hand with anxiety and over-stimulation from visuals, lights, and sounds.

For some reason I had no dizziness this past weekend - no sensitivity to sound or light, and thus had absolutely no anxiety. I was at a busy soccer tournament that was outdoors, with people screaming constantly, whistles blowing, hot hot sun, etc... If I was feeling my usual self (dizzy, horrid, ill, malaise, off balance, etc.) this scenario would have me curled up in a ball somewhere hiding, but since I was completely "well" (health-wise), my anxiety was just simply gone.

I suspect that you still feel ill, and that is why your anxiety is still acting up. I pretty much have to feel in 90%-100% to feel no or less anxiety. Anything less than that, I am feeling panicky. It's our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong and to do something about it.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 09:23 AM   #5
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

mnsk,

I started to have anxiety about 5 years ago. Around the same time, by the way, that I started having sleeping problems.

The anxiety was a nuisance but my middle ear problems made it much worse. It was basically the same type of anxiety but much more intense. At my worst, I couldn't even stand to be in public places.

Did you have any anxiety before you had the middle ear problems? Since I had anxiety already, I think that was just another thing that pointed to low serotonin as a root cause for me.

Any doctor that tells you it's all in your head should be sent packing.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 09:27 AM   #6
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

One other thing that I'd like to add is that my anxiety also sometimes made my symptoms worse. I did not understand this until I realized that muscle spasms were causing my middle ear problems. Stress definitely can exacerbate muscle spasms.

My anxiety works like Missy's most of the time, though. The symptoms and anxiety go hand in hand.

 
Old 08-27-2007, 10:29 AM   #7
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

I didnt have any anxiety or panic before the dizzy spells, I used to drive a car, go anywhere and do anything. Then the dizzy spells came and after some time I learnt that they could happen absolutely anywhere.
This has made me scared to live my life to the full, then slowly over time I started believing the doctors that I had panic attacks.
Then I started dreading panic attacks, so then got lots of anxiety about panicking !!!

But I always remember when it all first began, I was driving around a roundabout (uk) and everything started spinning in my visual field, I didnt know what was happening, at the same time I had ear ache, so I got it checked out and the doctor said it was fine.
So I carried on with my life with a pain in my left ear and the dizzies got really bad. Although the ear pain got better , the dizzieness never went ?

Until recently I have had 2 ear infections then the fluid behind the ear, doctor said the ear drum was sucked inwards and that I should see ENT.

So now I would say yes I do have panic disorder , but what caused it ?

I have always said my dizzy spells caused it but the gps never listened.

Missy , I am just the same , If I have no dizzies , my confidence grows and the anxiety is less.
next monday is my appointment, if there is nothing wrong with my ears then I dont know what I will do next ? I am still getting pain on and off .

thanks everyone for replying xxx

 
Old 08-27-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

I know, I know - it is SOOO frustrating when the docs say that anxiety is causing the dizziness, as opposed to the other way around. The dizziness is causing the anxiety!!

I too have always suffered with anxiety. Well, not always but ever since I was around 23 (I am 40 now). But over the years I got in under control and was able to stiffle the panicky thoughts when they would erupt. And they mostly erupted when I was feeling poorly (ill-health wise). Ever since I got this weird ear thing (March), my anxiety totally engulfed me like it did years and years ago and I too was afraid to drive, go shopping, etc. The imbalance and dizziness and overall feeling of poor health just gives the anxiety a complete hold on me - argggggg - hate it!!

So, if we can figure out the dizziness problem and CORRECT it, the anxiety is sure to go away with it. So that should put your mind at ease a little mnsk. You aren't stuck with this thing forever!

Sorry about your ear pain. My ears constantly pop and feel full but it's getting a little less and less.

 
Old 08-28-2007, 01:21 AM   #9
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Hi Missy, Have you had a diagnoses for your dizzy spells ?
Do you get the dizzies in the house too ?
I tend to not panic when it happens in the house cos I know I can lay down.
It wasnt until recently when I spoke to a lady who had suffered with panic attacks for 18 years in her life (shes 65 now) ,
we compared symptoms and I said "I loose my balance", she frowned at me and said , "no I never got like that ", so then I asked my sister who lives far away from me, she had panic for a few years in her early 20's, she said sometimes she felt slightly lightheaded when she was in the middle of a panic .
Compared to me, it appears I have totally different symptoms,
when i get the dizzies , its like I am falling, I have to hold onto walls ect,
the floor moves and its horrible. So that got me thinking how can this be anxiety dizzy ?

sometimes I also get a ear fullness sensation whilst Im having a dizzy spell, but I dont get dizzy in bed any more.

I am 39 years old, but feel 89.

 
Old 08-28-2007, 07:16 AM   #10
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Hi mnsk,

>>>If you have the dizzies so bad that you then go on to develop anxiety and panic, would you then still panic or feel panicky without any dizzies?

While I do think what the others have said above is partly true - that if we remove the dizziness, the panic stops - in practise it doesn't seem to work that way. The problem is as long as you feel anxious or have a panic disorder, the odds of the dizziness vanishing are next to nil. It's a circular argument really. One comes with the other. But let's say you could eliminate the dizziness. You would have to still deal with the anxiety as a separate entity. It is another animal in its own right that unfortunately becomes entrenched in the nervous system. To root it out takes time. Nerves don't become desensitised overnight. It takes weeks or months of either drugs or a big effort on the part of the anxious person to shut it down (using CBT for example). A good place to start if you want to go the non-drug route is the Claire Weekes self-help book.

It's important to NOT avoid things because of fear that you will be dizzy (within reason - obviously getting onto a rollercoster at a theme park would be OTT). You have to go there and face it (shopping centres etc) otherwise you end up feeding the anxiety and reinforcing the anxious thoughts and behaviour. Just know that you are not your anxiety. It feels nasty when it hits but it's not you. If you can realise this you won't panic and will feel in control no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Make sure you grab that book I mentioned above. It will totally change the way you think about anxiety.

Best ... Scott

 
Old 08-28-2007, 11:37 AM   #11
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

msnk - I have been diagnosed for my dizzy spells but I am still up in the air about the diagnosis' quite frankly. The first dx was Labyrinthitis. Then, the more recent one is Migraine Associated Dizziness.

Yes, I get dizzy anywhere if I am not feeling well. When I am having an "episode" (which can last days and sometimes weeks), I have a constant imbalance, dizziness and thus anxiety. I have been doing great for the past week, with an absence of all symptoms. But I can tell something is creeping up ever so slightly. I am feeling a little "off" today, so I don't know if I am about to experience another episode of what. I suspect yes, unfortunately. I just hope it doesn't last for too long.

I don't know if I have a combination of stuff that is triggering these events in me. Hormonal? Could be a trigger. Stress - yep, I'm sure. My ears are certainly effected because I still hear popping and have ear fullness since March - something I NEVER had before. Could be that I am stuck in a migrainous state (I woke my migraine monster somehow) and need to work dillegently to put my migraines out of commission again.

All I know is that when I am feeling poorly, my anxiety acts up. When I am feeling normal, the anxiety is gone. But that is me, and I have already had to deal with anxiety in the past so maybe I just know how to handle it better now. If the dizziness is really bad and the anxiety right along with it, I usually have to resort to Ativan if I have alot of running around to do.

You really do sound like you have neurological/vestibular issues going on with the comments you made about feeling like falling, holding on to walls, floor moving, etc. I have that too and I know it's not caused by anxiety - but rather whatever I have is acting up again (migraine, hormones, whatever).

I know how you feel about feeling like 89. I have had this weird thing since March and it depresses the heck out of me. I just keep remember what most of the veterans on this board say - which is that eventually we will get better. It may take a couple of years even - but it will get better and finally disappear.

 
Old 08-28-2007, 12:33 PM   #12
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

oh missy, Its horrible not knowing exactly what the problem is , its funny you mention Migrane because 3 months ago I had a very strange episode,
I looked at a lampost and it wobbled up and down bending right over in a flash, well I couldnt belive my eyes and started crying and my husband took me to the gp who said id had a aura migrane or something like that , basically a migrane without a headache ???

Scot I have been told about that book before ,
its meant to be really good , the sort of book you can read over and over again for support. I will take a look at amazon.thanks.

 
Old 08-28-2007, 01:23 PM   #13
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

Awww mnsk, I know how you feel. I have done ALOT of crying this past few months. More than any other time in my life. It is so frustrating not being able to get an exact diagnosis, and then an exact remedy. I have always been used to just taking an antibiotic for say, a sinus infection, and BAM I feel better and I can get on with my life. But noooooo, this thing just hangs and hangs, disappears, and then reappears.

I am so blessed that my husband is understanding through all of this. He will check with me before he schedules anything by asking, "Are you feeling well enough for me to..." He knows that this freak thing just comes and goes as it pleases so he never knows if I am feeling well or not. It's so hard to plan things this way!

Oh well - we'll get through it. Someday we will look back at these times and take a big sigh and be grateful that it's all in our past.

Last edited by missy7777; 08-28-2007 at 01:23 PM.

 
Old 08-28-2007, 02:30 PM   #14
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

missy, Hopefully it will be over as quick as it came.
Your husband sounds like my husband , (understanding).But I still would love a diagnosis because I feel like people think im such a fraud, somedays I can do things and other days (most days) i cant.

oh well , not long until my appointment with the audiologist, I wonder what tests he will do ?

 
Old 08-28-2007, 07:06 PM   #15
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Re: anxiety/panic/dizzies and balance

I know - people give me that "look" like "oh no, not again!" when I am having a bad day and am really fragile.

However, I've often been told that my eyes give away my state. I guess my eyes look deathly when I am having an "episode". So at least people can see that I'm not faking it! I'm sure I am pale too since it makes me nauseous. I've lost 15 pounds since March so that should be a giveaway that I truly haven't been well!

 
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