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  1. #1

    Need some advice desperately

    Hi all,

    Been a while since I've posted in this forum but as we all know, panic disorder and health anxiety can rear their ugly heads at the most random of times.

    I just need some advice. What is actually the best way to tackle and beat health anxiety in your experience?

    I've suffered with a diagnosed generalised anxiety disorder for years but recently it's developed into a more aggressive panic disorder in which I'm having very physical panic attacks frequently. I've re-enlisted a psychologist through my GP and I've made an appointment to see a psychiatrist to work out the best medical approach going forward.

    I have an intense fear of heart-related issues as my father died prematurely of complications associated with his heart. The grief has manifested itself in such a way which basically has me fearful of anything to do with heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.

    I have a panic attack almost every time I have my BP monitored (the few times I've been reasonably calm have delivered normal readings) and my doctor is confident it's white coat syndrome.

    I had a routine appointment with my psychologist last week but had a panic attack in the clinical setting, which was frustrating and just plain shit to be honest.

    I have a panic attack whenever my boss asks me to speak with him, or somebody leaves me in suspense. My body, at present, feels incapable of distinguishing any heightened emotions (even if happy) from anxiety and it feels like my baseline anxiety is just through the roof. I'm so jumpy for no good reason.

    I'm sick of this and I'm just exhausted from the constant mental and physical stress of it. I know my fears are rooted in health anxiety but I was wondering if there are any specific forms of treatment that are particularly effective. My psychologist has suggested acceptance and commitment therapy as one option.

    Medication-wise, I currently take propranolol which is fantastic for what it's worth, but it only really works to prevent my heart racing and hands sweating in a panic attack. My doctor has suggested seroquel as another option and potentially an SSRI (which I've taken before).

    Any thoughts/help? Anything at all is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    3,587

    Re: Need some advice desperately

    Sorry to hear about your Dad, grief can always be a massive trigger for anxiety and stress.

    First of all, I would suggest coming off the propranolol....hear me out.....

    All propranolol is doing is blocking your hearts reaction to adrenaline. All the triggers are still there, and it isn't actually solving anything. I feel your psychologist is on the right track with acceptance therapy, which runs along the same lines as CBT.

    Right now I feel that your biggest problem (aside from the grief, which only time can lessen) is attempting to suppress anxiety, and you simply cannot do this. There is no pill or technique that's going to make it go away quickly, and this is why the therapeutic route of acceptance is always best in the long run.

    The question here is, so what if your heart races? That's what it's supposed to do when it perceives threat or danger. The issue here is that your mind is perceiving those threats inappropriately, and that's what you want to deal with, not the resulting symptom (heart racing, sweating, jitters etc etc etc).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    241

    Re: Need some advice desperately

    Hi Nick

    So sorry you are going through this

    I literally could have written this post myself with regards to the health anxiety centred around your heart

    I lost my mam to a Aortic Stenosis back in 2008 she was just 62 years old I can remember standing in her house the following day and feeling like I was having chest pains I have literally been in pain one way or another everyday since

    Since that happened I have been diagnosed with under active thyroid,ibs acid reflux and fibromyalgia

    I have had a particularly bad time recently with panic attacks when Iím out walking and a feeling of fear and dread I just canít shake off

    Iím signed off from work and right now every day is a battle I donít take medication for it because I have a Autistic son so I am a carer but I do have a phone appt with a therapist on Thursday this week I have never tried it before at this point I will try anything

    Sorry I have no quick fix advice for you just wanted you to know youíre not alone

    All the best and post here anytime even if it is to repeat yourself it does help

    All the best x

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    128

    Re: Need some advice desperately

    Sorry about your loss Nick.

    What were your old strategies? If panic comes back and bites one in the arse its sometimes difficult to remember the old things that worked because we are so overwhelmed with all the new feelings and sensations. So many panic attacks must be very challenging. Unfortunately there is no straight up advice. I meditate, I pray, I do sport and I eat super healthy. But what works for me, may not work for you.

    Check out this book Mindfulness by Prof Mark Wiliams. I found it on audlble and it helped me a lot.

    Good luck, you can get your life back. Baby steps.

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