I have been suffering with anxiety/panic for at least 10-15 years. Besides the average symptons of anxiety/panic, I have severe sinus problems. I've had to surgeries to relieve a blockage. I don't suffer with the intense headaches any longer although I do get pressure on my forehead and above my eyes. My problem is congestion!! When I wake up in the mornings, it's pure hell. I seem to acquire so much mucus while I'm sleeping. Upon awakening I feel like I'm smothering. I get the pressure not only in my forehead but in my chest also. Weakness, anxiety that often leads into a full blown panic attack. When barometric pressure drops(especially when it's going to rain), I feel so much pressure in my head and chest. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind when this happens. So far, the only thing that gives me a bit of relief is Afrin pump spray. It helps with the swelling and allows my sinus' to drain.
I've tried to use Paxil but because of its drying effects it just causes more anxiety and panic for me. Xanax is the only thing getting me through these episodes. A low dosage but I'm afraid I will become dependent and the low dosage is barely taking the edge off. I don't want to increase it. I feel if I get my sinus condition under control then I will be able to get my anxiety/panic disorder in check without medication.
Does anyone have this problem? And if so, a few words of advice would be greatly appreciated.
I was getting really bad pressure headaches along with my diagnoses of sinusitis. Sometimes I would get "dizzy" episodes as well, and the dizziness with the massive headache and face pressure would give me anxiety symptoms (increased heartrate, chest pressure). My doctor wanted to check this out, so she hooked me up to a Halter monitor for a day to check my heat beats. I thought I was crazy, but when she got the results back she confirmed that when I documented my sinus "episodes", my heart beats shot up to 110 beats per minute. She was going to suggest anxiety meds but felt it might br premature. Now that I am getting relief (my ENT has been doing steriod shots into my sinuses), I am feeling better after suffering for 6 months.
I can see how the addition of the sinus problems you are having would contribute to your pre-existing anxiety condition. The symptoms can be so awful and intense. I hope you get some relief soon.
Thank you so much for your reply. I knew that my sinus' were associated with my anxiety. I don't feel like a "nut" anymore. Glad to know you are feeling better. I think I may go see my ENT to discuss further treatment.
I did have a little anxiety after my sinus surgery, but I think that was related to the Medrol dose pack (systemic steroids). But I will say that the headache and pressure 24/7 for 3 years has made me feel pretty desperate sometimes. I can certainly imagine that the feeling of not being able to breathe would cause panic attacks, so you are not strange for feeling that way. I would guess that some asthma patients probably have similar reports. If you are at your wits end you might consider inquiring with a doctor for some kind of strong pain reliever like Vicodin. It has a strong anti-inflammatory built in, and you will get a good night's sleep.
Another thing I used to do is take 12-Hour sudafed before going to bed. Since it is a stimulant, it can be hard to sleep sometimes, but when you do, you will wake up with a much clearer head because you actually got to breathe during the night. Sometimes nasal strips and Menthol have also helped me sleep better.
I developed chronic sinusitis shortly after I started having problems with anxiety. I didn't use meds for anxiety cause they just didn't agree with me. My anxiety is pretty managed now but when I'm having bad sinus days I am more anxious than usual. My old therapist used to say that was pretty normal....your body is under some stress when you're sick anyway.
I use to sneeze uncontrollably, running nose, anxiety and irritability big time. I had to take allegra which gave me severe back pain. Found out later that the allegra (gel form) had milk in it, and that is what I was allergic too. Also, goose down, I was sleeping with a comforter filled with duck feathers. Allergic to that too. Got a rast test to determine what I was allergic too. Got rid of the comforter and I then eliminated all dairy from my diet for 2 long years. No longer. There are products that you can buy to irrigate the nose with salt water and baking soda. NO DRUGS! I use 1/2 tsp of common iodized salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda (my allergist recommended the baking soda) for each 1/2 cup of warm tap water. My allergist gave ($20) me this nasal irrigator which is a syringe type device with a soft silicon tip which you lightly press against your nose and the whole process is painless and takes less than 2 minutes.
I have been using it for 3 weeks now and have had no allergic reactions to dairy, chicken, or coffee. I can eat anything and my life is back to well normal. No running nose, sneezing, anxiety, irritability, flush face. I feel great! I feel like I have 30% more energy everyday.
[This message has been edited by kitaki (edited 06-11-2003).]
Thank you so much for your advice. I have resorted to taking Prozac and an increase in Xanax. I've only been taking the Prozac for 2 weeks and haven't felt the full benefits yet. My sinus' are so-so. I realize that my anxiety has a lot to do with nasal secretions. I'm getting a hold on it now, but with us who have anxiety, I developed another annoying sympton. Just waiting for the Prozac to kick in and see what happens. It's nice to hear that you have beaten your sinus/allergy problem. I hope I beat mine.
[This message has been edited by ahope4u (edited 06-11-2003).]
The sinus problems can cause your breathing to be irregular and/or shallow. This in turn will increase your pulse, make you feel lightheaded/dizzy, cause your heart to pound, etc., etc. When breathing irregularly you don't EXPEL enough carbon dioxide, although it feels like you're not getting enough air. If you can clear up the sinus symptoms it may help the anxiety. Also, when this happens, count to five when inhaling, then to SIX OR SEVEN when exhaling! It sounds simple, but it helps. This will ensure that you exhale some of the carbon dioxide that's built up. After going to many doctors (general physicians and even allergists) for years and getting no worthwhile answers, I finally found this in an audio file on the Internet a few weeks ago. I hope this is of some help to you. Please let me know.
[This message has been edited by KorkyDog (edited 08-01-2003).]