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Hanshin 01-27-2009 06:56 PM

ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Hello all,

I stumbled upon this site after a google search and thankfully I can get some help or some positive support. I had been suffering from vertigo for about 2 and a half weeks. Along with the vertigo I had some headaches that felt like pressure in my sinuses or more accurately my temples, to the point that I would feel my head was going to pop.

After waiting for so long for the symptoms to go away on their own, and of course scaring myself into a perfect panic with increased heart rate and blood pressure, I decided to go to the doctor. He gave me a quick check-up gave me two shots (I'm guessing one was an antibiotic) since he found I did have an ear infection, and most likely an inner ear problem. They also took some blood and urine and I should have the results by friday.

The reason I'm posting here is because I have suffered from anxiety since I was a kid, being 28 now, I was always able to control my anxiety with exercise but with school I have become lazy and have very little outlet for my stress. And now that this ear infection hit, my anxiety has been so uncontrollable that I am now on 4 meds for my infection and anxiety: generic xanax .25 mg, prednisone 20 mg (steroid for the inflammation), axmoicillin (antibiotic for the infection) and generic zoloft 25 mg.

Although its only been a day and a half, I've had mixed reactions. My vertigo is mostly gone, but I feel easily fatigued (which i felt before), my headaches presists, just not as bad, I get occasional feverish outbreaks, and I have no appetite but unfortunately I have diarrhea with a yellow fluid when I clean myself (pardon me for being so descriptive but I just want as much insight in case any of my symptoms are unique). Of course this has me panicked along with my reaction to the meds, the xanax makes me drowsy but I could not sleep though the night, I woke up in a total panic every two hours or so. The prednisone gives me stomach aches and might have been part of the cause for the D. I'm trying to keep positive and remain practical but I don't know what to do anymore.

Thank you for your feedback in advance and for taking the time to read my entire rant.


Well on day four of my treatment and I had to go into the doctor because my anxiety was so unbearable that I could not sleep at all last night. I would sleep for about 2 minutes and then I would wake up with sharp pains in my chest, usually when I would exhale. I've had to drop my winter intersession class because I just can't bear to leave the house, my infection, combined with not having eaten more than 3 meals in 4 days and having gone down from 179 lbs to 175 lbs in these 4 days (yesterday I only ate an apple and half a top ramen soup, but lots of gatorade and electrolytes, along with my meds). Doctor said the sharp pains are probably related to my anxiety and not exhaling all the CO2 in my lungs. Also seems my doctor has decided to give me the number to a therapist to help me with my anxiety (which I'm sure I'll need). Suffice to say cold air really bothers my condition. At least I ate a bowl of soup this morning as well as an apple. However, I got nauseous. The infection in my ears is also acting up especially today. Anyone else out there experienced similar symptoms while suffering from an ear infection? Any advice or words of comfort would help a lot. I hope I can actually sleep some today.

cathy1 01-29-2009 05:12 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
The ear infection isn't causing the anxiety but your reaction to it is. The prednizone could be causing you more anxiety as for some people it's a side effect. Good idea going back to the doctor to make sure nothing else is going on. Sometimes pain in the chest is caused by chostrochondritis - which can cause very sharp pains and seems to be more prevelant with people who have anxiety. Vertigo can make anyone with anxiety feel even more too. I'd bet once you get off the meds and are feeling better the anxiety will die down.

Hanshin 01-29-2009 05:56 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Thank you Cathy1 for the reply! I followed up on calling around for a therapist and spoke to some very helpful people who spoke to me about the use of Zoloft for my situation. Turns out that odds are my anxiety became worse with the Zoloft as a lot of the symptoms I have now can be traced back to the Zoloft: increased anxiety, loss of appetite, Diarrhea, insomnia, the chest pains. I didn't take my dose of Zoloft today and I'm already feeling tons better, I was even able to eat something without feeling nauseous. My catastrophic thinking has subsided and my anxiety is a bit more under my mental control. Only thing now is my bp is up a bit and my pulse is a bit faster, but then again, I do have a sinus infection. Hopefully soon they'll have my blood work done and I can find out what, if anything, else is wrong with me. :)

cathy1 01-29-2009 06:08 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
anti-depressants can make you feel off the wall. Great that you're feeling better. I know when I took Paxil for a week I felt either intense eurphoria - like I was a social butterfly and charming with all the confidence in the world to being a psycho in a rage in a split second. Finally for me, Zoloft worked - although I missed the incredible self confidence Paxil game me I was nuts on it too. We are all different and one antidepressant can work wonders for one person and a nightmare for another. Good luck :)

Hanshin 01-29-2009 06:22 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
To be honest, this was the scariest anxiety I have ever experienced. Dealing with vertigo from an inner ear infection as well as my own paranoia, and then enhanced paranoia... my poor girlfriend and mother were so scared. They had never seen me this bad. I felt so terrible and useless at that moment. I've decided that once I get over my infection, I'm going to start with some counseling/therapy to see if I can deal with my anxiety without meds (I always prefer to work naturally). And time to start eating healthy and exercising again. I'm hoping that detoxing from the Zoloft won't be too harsh, especially since I only took it for three days. I am beginning to feel like myself again. Thank goodness to this board because I know how much support and information can help people cope with their situation.

Hanshin 01-30-2009 09:28 AM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Day 5: Today I'm off both the xanax and the zoloft, xanax I only took twice and zoloft I've been off of for almost two days this afternoon. My anxiety is there, but at least I slept some last night. I woke up about 5 times or so, but eventually I was able to get control of myself and fall back to sleep. It's weird but lying in bed this morning I felt anxious, numb and depressed (possibly from the zoloft still in my system affecting my mood). Now that I sat up and I'm at the computer I feel a bit better. I'm hoping that the zoloft withdrawl effects won't be too strong or for too long a time, since I only took 25 mg once a day for 3 days. If anyone has some tips or experiences of coming off zoloft from such a short exposure, I would sure appreciate it.

Hanshin 01-31-2009 12:00 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Day 6: What a difference a day makes! I was having some anxiety yesterday morning, terrible feelings and broke down into tears (at least for a few seconds) which to me was a big improvement over the lack of being able to outwardly cry a few days ago. A friend of mine has asked me to go out with him, and per my girlfriends (stern) suggestion, I went. Am I glad I did. I had fun with my friends, actually laughed my first real laugh in the past week. I ate something finally! I think my stomach felt it was being attacked. Only weird episode was when I was falling asleep, as soon as my body would start drifting off, I would start shaking. I'm not too concerned as I'm thinking those are probably muscle twitches from my body since I've been so tense and lacking real rest for this last week that once my body started relaxing is just broke down. I slept for 3 continuous hours, then slept 4 more hours with sleep interruptions every hour or so. But when I finally woke up this morning, I just woke up. Didn't feel odd or vertigo, just awake. It worried me only in the sense that I haven't woken up like this, feeling so awake in a very long time. My girlfriend attributes it to being that I probably got my first real restful sleep that I've had in months (possibly years) last night. I feel energized and happy. :)

cathy1 01-31-2009 08:31 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Everyone is different coming off antidepressents, however, you being on them such a short time shouldn't take long - they do have a half life so a few days and they are out of your system without any long term affects.

Some people take weeks to feel the affects of antideps but for me I can feel them within hours of taking them, hence, they hit me hard quickly for good or for bad. Everyone's chemistry is so different. I took Zoloft years ago and they leveled me off smoothly. Then I took them last year and within 2 days I had zero appetitie - I mean I wanted NOTHING for food. So as great as I felt emotionally, I had to stop taking them. When a friend heard that who was going on antideps she was excited at the thought of losing weight while treating her depression and for her she ate like crazy on them.

Hanshin 01-31-2009 09:11 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Today hasn't been too bad. My anxiety is very much under control and reduced. I even had some energy that I decided to go and exercise for a few mins. I ended up feeling pretty good afterwards but I feel a bit fatigued at the moment, particularly in my arms. I can use them and they don't feel heavy or weak, just tired (probably since I hit the heavy bag for about 15 minutes). The loss of appetite was very scary for the days it lasted, and turns out that the prednisone I was on was probably contributing to that as well. I'm much more emotionally under control, just physically tired and a slight fever which I'm hoping is related to my infection, which is still not fully cleared up. Well, soon the blood test results will be in and I'll hopefully have a fuller picture as to what's going on.

Hanshin 02-01-2009 10:29 AM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Day 7: The ups and downs of this :(... Last night was not the best night I've had in a while. My panic got to me in a terrible way and I felt like half my body was out of sorts. My feelings went from being anxious about my arms feeling fatigued to my right arm and right leg feeling fatigued. It was so bad that I couldn't sleep for 2 hours after my head hit the pillow and I went into a sort of manic anxiety. I've slept for about 6 hours in 2 three hour shifts and now I woke up because i'm worried about my right arm again. I keep thinking something is wrong with it, as though blood flow is not going to it properly. I had my parents feel my two hands to abade my anxiety and they said they feel fine. I'm ok with being sick with my sinus infection, but I wish these unneccesary, probably psychosomatic symptoms would go away. Well, here's to hoping today goes off much better than it has started. :)

Hanshin 02-02-2009 03:10 PM

Re: ear infection and increased anxiety, help :(
Day 8: Well, looks like the worst is over. Yesterday evening I ate a healthy, but robust, meal and felt much better afterwards. I finally started feeling like my old self, not the numb, drug-inhibited person I was last week. When I woke up this morning, after a good night's sleep (8 hours) that was only interrupted once, I felt like my old self: still sleepy and capable of going back to sleep, but rested and relaxed. I know though, that not all of the effects of the week's medication has left me. In the morning, it takes me a little while before I feel "normal", usually drink some water and rehydrate and eat an apple to bring my blood sugar up a bit. The best part of the day, so far, has been that I was actually hungry! I didn't just enjoy what I ate, but I actually had an appetite for food and was craving it. I have to learn to enjoy these victories and good moments in case any other bad moments rear their ugly head. I still don't feel 100%, but I know I'm about 80% minimum, after all I'm still fighting this ear infection that messes with my senses. But, we shall see what the rest of the day brings. :)

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