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  • Panic disorder or something else?

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    Old 08-30-2014, 04:55 PM   #1
    NashvilleChick
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    Panic disorder or something else?

    To make a very long story short, I experienced my very first panic attack in October of 2011. I had it all: blurred vision, racing heart (nearly 170 bpm), shortness of breath, chest heaviness, and that horrible feeling of impending doom. I felt like death was very near. I had never experienced anything like this in my life, and I thought something horrible was happening. I thought I was having a heart attack in my mid 20's. I never once suspected a panic attack. That's just what it came to be. I had re-occurring panic attacks over the next few weeks and I'm not still sure if I was truly having another panic attack or if the fear of having a panic attack was throwing me into another panic attack. It's a vicious cycle.

    Shortly afterwards, I had an EKG, an echocardiogram, and a holter monitor that ruled out any cardiac causes for these sudden panic attacks. The holter monitor (worn for 24 hours) only captured very rare irregular heartbeats and my pulse was never higher than 90 while I was awake. I had thyroid labs and an ultrasound that only revealed a goiter. Diabetes was ruled out. (Low blood sugar can cause panic attacks.) The panic attacks lessened and I moved on with my life. I was given a beta blocker (medication) to calm my heart and Zoloft for my "panic disorder" that suddenly came out of nowhere. I accepted this because I didn't know any better; however, I was not happy with this diagnosis.

    Fast forward to three years later, I still suffer from these debilitating panic attacks. I only have "big ones" every 2-3 months, but I'm constantly on edge and every little thing makes me nervous. I'm obsessed with checking my pulse and I don't sleep well because I fear nocturnal panic attacks. Luckily, I have never missed any work because of this horrible disorder outside of the three days after my first one. I'm also able to control my condition enough that none of my close friends know. One really, really good friend knows and that's only because she suffers from them as well. I need my "go to" person.

    The physical results from these panic attacks get to me the most. I suffer from very light hand tremors. I have also experienced significant hair loss during this time. I went from having very thick hair like a horse's tail to very thin hair that is brittle and dead. It has gotten to the point where I hate my hair and I just want to shave it off. This is coming from a person that always had long hair down to her waist for most of her life. I cry easily. I don't like being alone. All because of this one day that changed my life. I do not have panic attacks in any specific situation. They are very random and usually happen when I'm doing something I enjoy.

    Recently, I became determined to find an internal cause for these attacks because it's difficult to accept that one day I woke up and my body decided to freak out on me. Some doctors (and even my own mother) suggest that I just have a panic disorder that I need to overcome, but who wants to accept this? There HAS to be a chemical imbalance in my body somewhere. I'm older and more wiser now, and I do a lot of research, so I suspected an adrenal gland disorder. I met with my doctor this week who agreed that we could explore this avenue, but all labs came back within normal limits. I was desperately hoping that my adrenal glands were out of whack. This could explain it all. How can my cortisol level be normal when it's constantly causing me feel flighty? It simply cannot be. Adrenaline is constantly pumping through my veins.

    I'm very disappointed and very discouraged. I just want my life to go back to the way it was. The one thing I know from having so many work ups in the past three years, I'm healthy. Nothing has ever come back abnormal. Just what could it be, though? Can anxiety appear this suddenly and this intensely? I need advice from anyone. I need answers. I feel defeated and I feel like I can't do anything else but give up. The panic attacks have knocked me down and they keep kicking me. I don't know how to win against them anymore. If this is my life now, I suppose I can handle it. It could be far worse, but if I CAN control it and change it, why shouldn't I?

    Thank you immensely for taking the time to read this.

    Last edited by NashvilleChick; 08-30-2014 at 05:36 PM.

     
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    Old 09-18-2014, 10:11 AM   #2
    warpony2310
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    Re: Panic disorder or something else?

    Sound like my panic attacks that just started , heart beat fast , short of breath ,can't talk , I am on buspar.,,,,,...


    Nothing wrong with saying you have anxiety or panic or stress,....It can happen any time in life ( I am 54 ) First time for me,... good luck,....

     
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