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    Old 09-13-2001, 12:06 PM   #1
    Wowwweee
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    I hope this finds everyone doing well.

    I read many of these posts on here with interest because of my experiences with high anxiety and panic.

    I am curious to know how many people on these boards experience panic or limitations over the sensation of dizziness, wooziness, or a feeling of imbalanace?

    I have been experiencing wooziness since 1990. Around the same time I started to experience full-blown panic attacks.

    Sometimes dizziness is not related to panic attacks at all, but a symptom of something wrong with the inner ear (your balance system).

    And because of this sensation, dizziness-wooziness-feeling off balance can MAKE you scared or want to stay close to home. But the problem isn't panic, it's the dizziness. I feel like I am talking in circles here, ha ha.

    After so much time being afraid to do much because of being scared of these symptoms (as well as some other issues that are going on for me), I put myself in counseling, thinking that I am turning more and more agoraphobic and fearful every year that I deal with these woozy symptoms. However, during my sessions in therapy, it came to light that I'm not so much afraid to leave my house because of agoraphobia, but rather due to the fear of falling, fainting, or tipping over because I am constantly woozy.

    Because of this, I am revisiting my woozy symptoms as something other than anxiety provoked, and with the approval of my primary MD, have met with a new ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat MD) who stated that I probably am having some kind of physical issue going on with my balance system. I will be having an MRI (with contrast) to get a picture of what's going on with my inner ear system next week - and then we will go from there.

    I'm not saying that everyone's dizziness is something physical - I realize that anxiety can provoke all kinds of sensations. However, I am suggesting that if your dizziness, wooziness, off balance feeling is causing you to panic or is the reason why you don't want to leave the house/drive/go to work/socialize, then a second look at that symptom might be worth it to you.

    When your balance system is out of whack, it can cause you to feel faint, light headed, dizzy, floaty, spacey, foggy, disjointed, poor concentration, depression, feel like you're drunk or not walking right, feel inbalanced....and cause anxiety. I don't even like going into stores. I avoid a lot because of my wooziness.

    However, on a good (woozy free) day - I do have them in spurts - I am good to do most anything. And life is good.

    There are many reasons why a balance system can malfunction - from a viral infection to an inner ear condition. It just may be worth it to get a re-check!

    I know how bad it is to have fear all the time and be limited by anxiety attacks - so any idea I have that may help me or someone, I want to pass on. Your thoughts are appreciated!

    Take care.

     
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    Old 09-13-2001, 01:54 PM   #2
    khorne
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    When my dizziness started almost 3 yrs ago my dr first gave me meclazine (sp?) to see if it was my ears. That didn't work so then they did an MRI, thank God that was neg. Then I went through a series of inner ear tests (for 3 hrs)& they told me it was an ear problem. So for 1.5 yrs I did a series of exercises & physical therapy that was prescribed which did no good what so ever.As you can imagine I was very frusterated & kept going to drs. Then one day @ an appt. w/ a neurologist, he told me he thought it was stress & anxiety b/c I had all the tests possible done on me. He actually took the time to talk to me & ask me questions to help me figure out what was wrong. Sorry to make this so long, I probably got off the subject a bit, but my point being that I feel like some drs just don't feel like dealing w/ us so they figure out ways to pass us off to other drs while we may spend yrs trying to figure out what the matter is. They just don't give a damn. It took me a long time to feel ok about going out & doing things again. Just yesterday I was @ my daughters soccer practice & felt very dizzy & thought here we go again! But today I made myself go out alone & I was fine - & very proud of myself I might add! People need to find drs that they trust & are really caring, it may take a while but it's worth it to know what's really wrong w/ you.

     
    Old 09-14-2001, 10:47 AM   #3
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    hi there i too suffer from dizziness resulting from anxiety i dont like to go to far from home and when i do i always take my mobile with me or let my boyfriend know where i am going. when i take my dog for walks i often get feelings of dizziness and also feelings of unreality and when i do i usually head straight for home where i feel safe. It is the most horrible feeling you can experience i dont know what brings it on it must be my train of thought. Sometimes i feel totally agoraphobic and have to force myself to leave my flat. i have been experiencing these feelings for years now.

     
    Old 09-14-2001, 11:56 AM   #4
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    I understand what you've both posted on here, and completely sympathize. I know just how it feels. I too don't enjoy much independence because I feel safer when I am doing something with someone in case my symptoms get worse. I also know the frustration of having doctors just chalk it up to anxiety.

    Sometimes it takes going to a few different doctors of the same speciality to be properly diagnosed - especially since the inner ear is so small and it's sometimes hard to define exactly what causes the dizziness/wooziness. I've had all the "dizzy" tests too, and they have all stated that I am healthy, and that they make me dizzy! Go figure. But again, because the inner ear is so small, and the balance system is so sensitive, it can be challenging to figure it out.

    This is why I am pursuing a diagnosis more thoroughly this time - even though it means having to have an MRI with contrast. Lying down flat is extremely scary (talk about anxiety provoking) for me because I spin - but in order to have an MRI, you have to lie down flat...for an HOUR! And having contrast injected into me is also very challenging to me because that also seems like a scary thing to do. However, the MRI is the only test that can show the workings of the inner ear in such detail because that area is so small.

    Sometimes even if the inner ear is damaged (as can happen in a viral infection of the inner ear), even if the inner ear can't regain normal function, there are medications that can help. I was on Amitriptyline for my dizziness, and that took away my wooziness completely - I was able to go out and have fun - even drive! - although it took a while to realize that I didn't have to fear tipping over anymore. However, when I stopped taking this medication, my symptoms came back, so it was only a mask.

    I stopped taking the medication because the side effect was a racing heartbeat, and I just didn't enjoy that sensation constantly.

    I am determined to live a more fuller life - the way I want to, so, my quest for resolution begins to find out what's going on behind this constant wooziness I carry. It's only natural to feel highly anxious when you feel like you can't do much when you're spinning or tipping. It throws everything off and can cause quite a panic, I know.

    I hope everyone's having a nice day.


     
    Old 09-17-2001, 01:56 PM   #5
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    When I had my MRI the dr. gave me a drug to relax me & a towel to put over my eyes so if I accidently opened them I wouldn't freak out as I am also clausterphobic. It helped a lot! I actually was able to get through it fine, much to my surprise! Of course, I had to have someone drive me home b/c of the drug (can't remember the name of it).But good luck w/ your tests, I hope everything works out for you!!!

     
    Old 09-18-2001, 11:05 AM   #6
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    Hi Khorne,

    Thank you for your well wishes. I came through the MRI just fine.

    I was very nervous, but my brother was able to come with me, and hold my hand through the entire procedure.

    I was able to lie flat for the hour, with minimal wooziness. For that I Thank God because I am always woozy, and the few days prior to having it, I wasn't.

    And, happily and thankfully, the MD told me that I didn't require an injection of the contrast afterall - all that worrying for nothing.

    This morning my new ENT called me to make sure that I kept m appointment, and they said that they should receive the results in 4-5 days. I thought it was nice that they followed up to see if I was able to go through it.

    I will keep you posted on my next visit (Oct 5th) with the ENT. Thank you again for your caring.

     
    Old 09-19-2001, 03:34 AM   #7
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    I was so glad when I read your post. IT made so much sense to me. I have been having what I consider panic attacks for some time now. I have been to the doctor, and they really don't know what to make of it, but I have never had my ears checked before. Iam not afraid of people, or large spaces, but when i go to a store, if i start to think about my beating heart, or whatever, then the panic sets in. I remember going to the mall one day by myself, and completely freaking out because i had to take the escalator. My heart felt like it was going to explode, and i started sweating really bad. I think it all stems from the fear of falling or something like that. It's like Iam afraid that Iam going to fall face first and embarass myself, or faint, or something. After reading your post, maybe it does have to do with an inner ear thing, and i really am off balance, and that makes my anxiety worse. Make sense? Anyways, thankyou for sharing that. It really made sense to me!!! Thanks

     
    Old 09-19-2001, 09:51 AM   #8
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    Hi jroeglin,

    Yes, it makes perfect sense what you are saying.

    Although I am not saying that all anxiety disorders are caused by a malfunctioning inner ear, many are because the feeling of being off-balanced or having disequilibrium can be a very scary sensation.

    Some of the same bodily sensations that mimic anxiety are the same as being off-balance due to an inner ear problem (see my other post on here). Those feelings are very unsettling and can be extremely scary - making people NOT want to do things because of it.

    If you're feeling off-balance, dizzy, or woozy, it's always a good idea to have your balance system checkd out before summing everything up to just plain anxiety - for me, on my woozy-free days, I am literally anxiety free as well. I LIKE to go out and DO things, and I enjoy being on my own. However, when I am having wooziness (like today, ACK), I don't like to do much, move much, and I prefer to be in the company of others so if I do get worse or fall down, someone is there to help me out.

    Don't get me wrong, I do have some issues that are truly anxiety related that are not caused by my wooziness, but the majority of my world getting smaller and smaller is more due to my disequilibrium than to my anxieties.

    And because the balance system is so sensitive, some people who have balance problems may feel lightheaded, some people may have trouble on elevators or stairs, some people may have trouble focusing, etc. Everyone is different. So, if you have trouble (for example) riding an escalator because of the uncomfortable and scary sensations in your head while doing that, eventually you will become nervous about having to take the escalator for just that reason - not because you're really afraid of escalators.

    So for some people who truly do suffer from an undiagnosd inner ear problem, once the cause or symptoms are treated, the anxieties surrounding that eventually go away.

    I am like two different people: when my wooziness is around (which is mostly), I am quiet, and don't like to do much of anything even though I want to very much. On my woozy-free days, I galavant to the store, enjoy going out with my friends, and chatter all day long.

    I realize that some people may wonder why I just don't "grin and bear it" on the days that I am woozy. It's tough - I go to work, but driving and focusing in meetings is difficult because I feel like I am either going to tip over, or that I am swaying or rocking back and forth. I do my best to greet the day with a smile, butsometimes it's really tough, like today, when I have to fidget to feel like I am keeping my balance. Feeling unsteady is not a feeling that one gets used to - it's erie and scary, and you just never know how you are going to feel from one moment to the next. If I am sleeping at night, and I roll a certain way in my sleep, my spinning sensation wakes me up. You just never get used to the symptom. although for me I try to not be as anxious about it as I have in the past. It truly stinks.

    I have had anxiety attacks in the past over unrelated issues, and my anxiety pattern does not include dizziness or hyperventilation - I have hyperventilated before, and these sensations of disequilibrium are nothing like that. I would rather have an anxiety attack because at least I know that will stop and that is something I can work on and work through. I have no control over my wooziness.

    If you do go see your doctor, show him this post, and ask that you get a referral to an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat). ENTs deal with dizziness more often than primary MDs, so that's the MD to see. However, I have seen two (I am on my third with this new one), and nothing has been diagnosed as of yet. ACK!

    Today typing is difficult for me because I am SO DAMN WOOZY. Take care ~



     
    Old 09-26-2001, 11:20 AM   #9
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    Interesting to read everyone's experiences with "dizzyness". One of the major symptoms of my anxiety was "dizzyness." I have been undergoing therapy on a weekly basis since April and finally made the decision to take a med. I am a working Mom and have a 2 yr old -- I just don't have the time or energy for these anxiety symptoms anymore (I'm sure any Mom will understand). So, I started taking 20 mgs. of Celexa 4 weeks ago and ALL my dizzyness and general anxiety is gone. I had almost NO side effects with the exception of 2 mornings where I felt extremely tired. I am so thankful to have this med, to help me get back on track and give my poor body a break. It was not the easiest decision to make and a part of me felt like I had "given in" but it was the best decision now that I know. I don't plan on being on meds forever but at least give my mind and body a break.

    All the best to everyone.

    Luv,

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    Old 09-30-2001, 01:48 PM   #10
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    Well I must admit I'm a little stunned here by what I've just read about the whole inner-ear topic. I never really gave the first thought to any kind of relationship between any of my symptoms and my ear before. Some dizziness and a general state of foggy-mindedness were among some of my initial symptoms, but the numbness and weird headaches that I experienced were the symptoms that I focused on because to me they were just far more concerning and scary.

    Only here's the thing, my symptoms for me began not too long after taking a trip to Hawaii about two years ago. I was knocked around pretty good by some waves while swimming there and got some sand and water deep in my ear. It wasn't like my ear was plugged all the time though. I could just tell every once in a while that there was something still there because when I was lying down in a certain position and I would gulp and would get that weird, muffled, you-have-something-in-your-ear sound. Anyway, at my first general physical just a couple months after my trip, but before my first real anxiety symptoms began, my doc says to me..."do you know you have sand in your ear?" Obviously I kind of did know I had something there, but he didn't really seemed to concerned about it saying instead that it should just work it's way out on it's own.

    Of course then just a few weeks later I had to fly again on a business trip and my ear became completely plugged in the process. I could turn my head sideways while standing and it felt like my ear would drain, but then I would lean back up straight again and my ear became plugged again. This lasted nearly two full days before my ear was finally seemingly back to normal. But looking back here I recall that some of my first anxiety-type symptoms actually began not too long after that experience.

    Anyway, my question for anyone out there is...do you think that some of my symptoms are in fact possibily related to something going on in my ear?

    I mean from time to time when I'm laying down even two years later here I've experienced that same "plugged" sensation in my ear, but I've not actually given it much thought before now. I've had my ear just quickly looked at by various doctors as just part of my regular exam since then (when I've gone because of the severity of some of my anxiety symptoms), but I never thought to have them check it really closely and they apparently didn't see anything noteworthy enough to mention to me.

    Anyway, if anyone out there has any feedback or comments on this topic please do message me back.



     
    Old 10-14-2001, 07:01 PM   #11
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    A possible solution........? I have had inner ear dizziness for years. I have also tried going to an ear nose and throat doctor and everything. I actually believe that the problems with my inner ear dizziness has been a large part of my panic/anxiety disorder. What I have found that helps with the inner ear dizziness is going to the chiropractor. Someone I work with suggested it at one time and after going repeatedly for at least 2 times a week for a month or two, and then occasionally when syptoms come back, it really helps. I found that my neck has a weird curve that causes me to get pressure behind and in my inner ear and that is what causes it. Especially if you tend to sleep on one side more than the other. The side I sleep on constantly is the side that I have the trouble with. Also, I have really bad allergies and am on Allegra and Nasonex nasal spray. They also have made a big difference. Try it, I think it just might help you a lot! Good Luck!


    [This message has been edited by zilnegah (edited 10-14-2001).]
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    Old 10-15-2001, 01:32 PM   #12
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    To THAT GUY:

    First, getting anything in your inner ear can make you feel funny (plugged, dizzy). So can allergies, a cold, a sinus infection....But you say you went to Hawaii. Did you fly? Flying can impact your balance system because it puts pressure on your ear drum and eustachian tubes. I am not a doctor by any means, but yes, you could be experiencing an inner ear problem due to flying and/or getting water in your ear (ever hear of Swimmer's Ear?). You may want to have your inner ears checked out. You may also want to check with your doctor about trying an over-the-counter antihistimine; even though that doesn't cure my woozy symptoms, it does make them more bearable.

    To zilnegah:

    The chiropractor suggestion is a great one! I have a good relationship with my chiro, and we have talked about this before but that type of treatment for my wooziness hasn't alleviated my symptoms.

    However, more recently, I will be looking into the following conditions as a reason for my woozy symptoms:

    -Mal De Debarquement (a feeling of motion when you are not moving).

    -Migraine Vertigo/Migraine Equivalent (a type of migraine headache where the majority of the symptom is dizziness rather than the headache. This also may be caused by a lack of oxygen to the inner ear, which can cause imbalance feelings).

    -Deafferentation (I am sure that I spelled it wrong). This is a condition where the electrical “synopsis” of the cranial nerves don’t emit signals properly, causing sensations of imbalance. This poor electrical wiring (so to speak) can carry over into other bodily areas too, so you may have a feeling like you can’t swallow properly (which I have from time to time).

    These conditions can be treated and eventually cured through Vestibular Rehabilitation (Physical Therapy) and medication. I have located a physical therapist in my area who is familiar with these conditions, and I have made an appointment to see him for a this week. Not many physical therapists in the Rochester, NY area are familiar with treating these conditions, so I had to do some calling around first. I’ve sent him my records from all the “dizzy testing” that I had, so he could review them prior to getting together with me. I also wrote him a five page letter outlining all of my symptoms, when I first got them, and all the tests I have had.

    Also, you might want to try a prescription medication called Amitriptyline. It used to be used as an anti-anxiety medication, but now it’s used predominantly for migraines. I was put on it at a very low dose (12 mg, every night at dinner time) two years ago. Within three days my symptoms completely disappeared, and within three month, the anti-anxiety part of the drug kicked in, so I was dealing with everything better. The only thing is that the medication has a side effect of speeding up the heart rate, and I didn’t like that, so I stopped taking it.

    This medication is one of four types that is used to treatment Migraine Vertigo. Since there is no true test for this condition, one of the tests is to take Amitriptyline. If the symptoms subside, then it probably is Migraine Vertigo. So, I may have to go back on it, or take something similar until I am done with the Vestibular Rehab.

    I've noticed that my symptoms can get worse if I am anxious, but sometimes my symptoms BRING ON the anxiety. I do not believe that these sensations (for me) are truly anxiety related, as even in deep sleep, if I roll a certain way, the dizziness wakes me up.

    So, I will continue to pursue a cure, or at least a permanent alleviation! Take care.



    [This message has been edited by Wowwweee (edited 10-15-2001).]

     
    Old 10-19-2001, 09:52 AM   #13
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    Hi,
    I read this page with great interest and what woweee has been saying is absolutely true.
    I too was diagnosed as having anxiety when I visited my doctor with dizziness, nausea and general fatigue. I was given tablets which made me much worse. This in effect made me more anxious as I thought I couldn't be treated and would feel dreadful fo ever. I became frightened to drive or leave the house and would experience panic attacks when attempting to do this. I got in a terrible state and thought I would lose my job which was along drive from home. I did gradually force myself back into my car and to work (very terrifying)and found that although I was still a bit dizzy a lot of my anxiety disappeared albeit very gradually. 2 months later I was still feeling spacey yet felt that I had got over the fear of going out etc.So what was going on ? Why did I still feel dizzy & sick ? Also, I notice that the dizziness/nausea was completely random - not associated with the car, going out or any other situation. I sought a second opinion and after describing my symptons to the doctor he immediately said I was suffering from recurrent labrynthitis. The tablets he gave me did reduce the symptons to a manageable level and within weeks I felt like my old self. I still get moderate bouts but none as bad as the first but now I know what it is the anxiety is greatly reduced. It is usually when I am run down and have a cold or flu symptons. I try to keep healthy and do a lot of exercise.
    Sorry for going on a bit but I would hate anybody to have to go through what I did as it was a terrifying experience.....some days I thought I was going mad!!!!
    I hope this helps someone who may be in the same situation as I once was. Incidently I am suffering a bout at the moment but am still able to work, I just relax as much a possible and wait for it to pass which can be anything from a week to a month.
    Hope this finds everybody well!
    Take Care!

     
    Old 10-22-2001, 01:24 PM   #14
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    Hey tuppence,

    You stated that "I sought a second opinion and after describing my symptons to the doctor he immediately said I was suffering from recurrent labrynthitis. The tablets he gave me did reduce the symptoms to a manageable level and within weeks I felt like my old self."

    Two questions, please: How did they diagnose the recurrent labrynthitis - was it just be verbal diescription or did you have any examination/tests?, and what medication (tablets) did he put you on to feel better?

    PS - I'm very happy to know that you were able to get a proper diagnosis and find alleviation!

     
    Old 10-24-2001, 11:34 AM   #15
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    Hi Wowwweee,
    I had my ears examined with a hand held strong light machine which indicated to the doctor that there was considerable inflammation in my ear. Also, my sinuses seemed swollen amd I had evidence of throat infection. The doctor said this was typical of labrynthitis...along with the symptons I described.

    He prescribed Stemetil (Prochlorperazine Maleate) 5mg 3 times a day. These did alleviate the symptons but made me a little drowsy.However I could still manage to work. It seemed to help with the nausea more than the dizziness as it is an anti emetic drug.
    Hope this finds you well
    Take Care

     
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