Medical Questions > Mental Health > Panic Attacks Forum

Panic Disorder or Impending Doom?

Sixteen days ago I had what doctors have told me was a panic attack. I was totally relaxed, sitting on the couch, when all of a sudden I thought I could smell smoke. The moment my fiancee assured me there was no smoke I instantly felt "not right." It's hard to adequately describe the symptoms, but my initial thought was that my coconut water had been laced with some sort of psychedelic drug. I have had a lot of stree in my life, but recently things have been great. I certainly didn't feel under any great deal of strain, and I have lots of stuff to do, so this is really odd and frustrating.

This first serious attack lasted about half an hour, but since then I have not felt normal, and the symptoms have gotten much worse. The main problem is that I have CONSTANT chest discomfort ranging from slightly uncomfortable to agonizing. This will not go away. Yesterday my fiancee took me to a spa resort to try and help, but I ended up having a terrible attack which has lasted about 26 hours now. Xanax helps somewhat. When the attacks are most severe, things get very dream-like, and it's quite scary. I fear that there is something physically wrong with me, and I'm scared that I might die because I have two young children, but I had an EKG that came back negative. I could live with the occasional panic attack, but this is relentless. I don't know what to do.

I'm 31, I don't drink, I've never smoked, and I work out at least three times a week, or at least I did: the most I have managed in the last two weeks is two or three quick, light workouts. If I go any further I feel like I'm gonna have a heart attack. This is extremely hard for me to handle because I've spent years developing a muscular, healthy body, and I can't handle wasting away. I'm gonna get a full check up and blood work. For some reason the two doctors I saw in ER didn't think this was a big deal, and suggested I get counselling (which I am.)

I don't think that the doctors I spoke to quite grasped the severity of my condition. They just trivialized it as "all in my mind" which is outrageous. I am in a huge ammount of pain, and I'm concerned that there is more to this than mere anxiety. I haven't heard anyone else say that their pain is this long lasting.

Any thoughts?
Did you find this post helpful?
|

replied April 12th, 2011
I totally empathize with your situation.

I had two different ER doctors, as well as my GP tell me that my uncontrollable muscular spasms were anxiety attacks, since their tests could not reveal any obvious causes.

I finally had to have a Psychiatrist formally tell the other doctors that I did NOT have an acute Anxiety disorder, before they would resume medical treatment, many months later.

If you are not sure that you have a psychiatric problem, then request that a REAL PSYCHIATRIST evaluate you, before you letting them give up on treating you medically.

MDs jump to conclusions somtimes...Stand your ground.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 16th, 2011
Thanks for the response. I've posted on about five of these sort of message boards, and you're the first person to actually reply.

Since this post my symptoms have fluctuated in intensity, but I've still not fully returned to how I felt before they first arrived.

I have now had two ER visits and recieved an EKG, X-rays, bloodwork, and even a cat scan. All of these came back fine, so the only other option now is to visit a cardiologist, and, if he says there's nothing wrong with my heart, then, as you say, I'll have to speak to a real psychiatrist, and take it from there.

To be honest, this is all so unexpected and confusing that I really have no idea what's going on anymore: it could be stress, it could be an arrhymithia, I don't know. But, at least it's not so scary now since it's been going on for a month. I've even managed a couple of workouts.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 18th, 2011
Also ask to see a Neurologist.

I had all of these things, and many lab tests, only to be told by the MDs that it HAD to be psychiatric, since they couldn't see any other reasons. You as the patient don't know if they are actually exhausting all medical possibilities, or just trying for the most obvious. Their is a tendency for MDs to believe the patient is exagerating symtyms, at least that was my experience.

Keep a log of EVERYTHING. When I sometimes faltered in relating the sequence of events leading up to the onset by memory, as I had to do for every MD I saw, I sensed some disbelief. I had notes, but they never had enough time for me to search for their answers on my notes, before they grew impatient...

As you said, see a real psychiatrist, and if you haven't had an unusual amount of stress in your life, be sure they know that. If you felt perfect normal mentally until this episode, then make it known. If you have to, do as I do and have them formally tell the MDs that your history does not warrant a psych dx. Then demand more medical help.

The only drugs that helped me at all were benzodiazapines, as I DID have anxiety at this point. Their attempt (MDs) at trying me on SSRI's were a SCARY disaster. Be careful of trying those. They only help people that actually NEED them.

You just may be getting passed on out of their way. It's easier just to give patients pill to pacify them, than it is to actually find a difficult dx. I had to fight to get medical help.

Best wishes for recovery. I'm glad I was some help.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 19th, 2011
Good advice. Thanks again.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied July 21st, 2011
I'd consult a licensed therapist or social worker (mft, lcsw) who specializes in panic disorders and anxiety disorders. The mind and body are interconnected. It is possible, especially with all the normal test results, that this is a form of anxiety disorder. There's no shame in that and it's actually common. I've experienced panic attacks where I wake up in the middle of the night smelling smoke and wondering if something in the house is on fire. I realize it's a panic attack and focus on breathing, relaxing, focus my thoughts, etc. I notice they happen usually after I'm worrying about something (money, career, etc). Someone who is experienced with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy might be worth a try and a source of symptom relief.
Good luck!
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 29th, 2013
I have been in a state of impending panic attack send an episode happened two weeks ago I have a therapist I'm on anti-anxiety medication that I've been on for several years but now I don't know how to face the panic attack that I had two weeks ago and the feeling of not feeling normal since thenI went to the ER my test were normal they gave me medication for dizziness and sent me home. I don't know what to do to get back to feeling good again like I did before the big panic attack happened.I've had panic attacks in the past that I've gotten pass I have general anxiety disorder and PTSD. I'm a stay at home mom with an 8 month old baby that I have to care for and my husband works 40 hours a week so I don't feel like I have a safety net because I'm always a loan
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied April 29th, 2013
I have been in a state of impending panic attack send an episode happened two weeks ago I have a therapist I'm on anti-anxiety medication that I've been on for several years but now I don't know how to face the panic attack that I had two weeks ago and the feeling of not feeling normal since thenI went to the ER my test were normal they gave me medication for dizziness and sent me home. I don't know what to do to get back to feeling good again like I did before the big panic attack happened.I've had panic attacks in the past that I've gotten pass I have general anxiety disorder and PTSD. I'm a stay at home mom with an 8 month old baby that I have to care for and my husband works 40 hours a week so I don't feel like I have a safety net because I'm always a loan
|
Did you find this post helpful?
Must Read
Learn how doctors clinically diagnose one of twelve kinds of anxiety disorders...and which doctors you should see for an anxiety diagnosis....
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone. But do you know the common signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders? Learn more now....
Anxiety is a normal, healthy emotion when experienced during specific moments. But do you know the signs that anxiety has gotten out of control? Read more here...