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Physical Health Symptoms due to panic attacks or chronic anxiety

Posted by @bettyann in Digestive Health, Oct 29, 2011

I was just hoping someone might share their stories if you can relate to having physical symptoms (a lot of bowel/abdomen problems, IBS) that come and go...and seem SO spite of blood tests turning out OK. It's like so much of the time I am in a constant state of 'mild anxiety' so often feeling SO weird and out of place.
...and sometimes I feel like something is 'really wrong' or that I am a terrible hypochondirac.
I don't want to get into a lot of drugs.. I take only one Rx and that is .5 (point 5) mg of Lorazempam (Ativan) for sleeping problems.
Can anybody relate to this and would you be willing to share something with me that helped you? I would really appreciate it.

Tags: mental health, preventive medicine, womens health

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Posted by Anonymous-ed904572, Nov 7, 2011

I've had nervous stomach & like a "spacey"feeling from time to time. Sometimes I keep a journal about feelings - good or bad - whatever comes to mind.Just writing it out eases my nervousness. Or talking to someone who just listens & doesn't judge me helps get out my nervous energy. Walking (especially in the sunshine) and also deep breathing slowly through my nose helps. I also ask god to take care of me and I try to do one small kindness for another person. I hope some of these suggestions help. I hate to hear that you're suffering & you're in my prayers - send a prayer for me too! Thanks, Bettyann.


Posted by @bettyann, Nov 7, 2011

Hello friend, and thank you! I just got up from meditating/praying, opened up the computer and there was your kind note!! I don't believe in 'accidents' I doubly thank you. I circle you with a golden healing light. My worst times are early mornings when I first wake up and thoughts go amuck...but I KNOW that will eventually NOT be a problem. Thank you so much for answering..


Posted by @georg1973, Nov 16, 2011

I dont know if it helps but i created a fear fighter - app for dealing with panic symptoms; hope its useful, greetings, g

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Posted by @shaelaruns, Nov 8, 2011

I have had GI problems since I was in 6th grade (I'm 24 now) and over the years I developed a lot of anxiety because of it. I started avoiding situations and preferred to just stay home because I didn't want to have an episode in public. A little over a year ago I went through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and that helped me tremendously with the mental aspect of having GI problems. It's not traditional therapy where you sit on a couch and talk about how you feel ... it's actually doing the things that make you anxious and learning how to cope with the anxiety. And the more you expose yourself to the things that cause the anxiety the more you "acclimate", so to speak. I highly reccomend CBT to anyone who has anxiety. I still have GI issues but I'm SO much better at dealing with them.


Posted by @bettyann, Nov 8, 2011

Dear Shaela, THANK YOU for this comment! This really interests me and appeals to me, mostly likely because it seems to fit in with my own spiritual/metaphysical beliefs of 'facing' it, letting it be and then dealing with it...'staring down your dragons with love'...I will definately look into this. =)


Posted by @shaelaruns, Nov 8, 2011

I'm the same way as you ... would prefer not to take medication unless absolutely necessary. Check out the show Obsessed on A&E (if you don't have cable it's available on Netflix). It follows people going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ... although they have OCD rather than anxiety. A little more on my own personal experience - I got to a point where I refused to be driven by anyone, I cut a lot of foods out of my diet, and I had a lot of anxiety when it came to eating in public. One of my "exposures" was riding the bus while eating a snack that I would never dream of eating (my therapist made me eat Fritos). For another exposure my therapist picked me up and drove me to a restaurant for dinner but didn't tell me where we were going. At the restaurant I had to eat something I had formerly cut out of my diet because I thought it made me sick. Through the course of CBT I realized that the foods I cut out of my diet weren't making me sick and I actually feel better if I eat more of a variety. Essentially the exposures are designed to make you have an "panic attack". But your therapist is with you and realistically talks you through it. And once you're in the "panic attack" you need to stay in the situation until your anxiety comes down. If you escape when you're anxiety peaks you're reinforcing your safety behavors (i.e. when I feel like X, I can do X to relieve it - in my case, I felt anxiety eating in a restaurant so I would just pick up my food to go and eat at home instead). Every time you do that provoking activity the anxiety is less severe. CBT is hard work and it's a commitment ... but I can't even tell you how worth it is is!


Posted by @marvelousme5, Dec 15, 2011

This is excellent advice!! I have watched many television shows where therapists put people with anxiety into a situation where they experience anxiety and they realize they can deal with what they thought was so terrible. CBT is an excellent idea for people trying to overcome their anxiety. I also would recommend for a person to close their eyes, slow their breathing, and go to their happy place. They should imagine a wonderful place and being in a place were they are happy. This technique has really helped me when I was experiencing anxiety. My husband has helped talk me out of anxiety attacks and panic attacks too. He is the best!! This advice you gave to Bettyann is fantastic and excellent advice!! Excellent post!! Thanks for your story and again excellent advice!! Take care and have a wonderful Wednesday night!!




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Posted by @peacekeeper, Nov 14, 2011

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Posted by @grams, Nov 14, 2011

Dear Betty Ann, I feel as if we are old friends. I was hoping someone like you existed so I would not feel so all alone in my misery. Just knowing you are not alone is half the battle. Mine is a long story so I wont bore you except to say I understaand and would like to keep in touch. I'll reveal more in time. ...Grams

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Posted by @bettyann, Dec 7, 2011

Dear Grams... I am SO SORRY that I have not replied until now...I did NOT receive a notice until this morning!!--Dec 7th...So please forgive what must have seemed like no appreciation for your nice and kind post.. Are we allowed to somehow give personal Email addresses. I would not want everyone to have access to it... Anyway...THANK YOU again for your post.
Have a really good day. Betty Ann


Posted by @grams, Dec 8, 2011

I don't know about sharing email addresses but it seems like a good idea. Most recently I've been blogging on Mayo Clinic email health news Stress Blog. The doctor writes interesting advice. GramS

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Posted by @bettyann, Dec 8, 2011

THANK YOU for that!! =)


Posted by @anon89880224, Dec 7, 2011

Constant worry over your health is very common for those who suffer from anxiety.
I , myself have simply learned to accept this illness as a part of me.
I do still worry that something is "wrong" despite all the tests and doctor visits.
Our brain can mess us up when it takes control over our thoughts....
I have found therapy to be very helpful.
We need to UN-LEARN the negative thinking and negative worry.

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Posted by @bettyann, Dec 7, 2011

I completely agree with what you are saying, Amberjune...I hesitate it expressing all of my own personal beliefs about ANY kind of illness itself because I do not want to offend anyone else's beliefs... And you so hit in on the head about what you said about the dreaded "wrong": word... this can be SUCH a big hang up... I'm so glad you brought that up. I so very much appreciate your post. THANK YOU. Again...I didn't receive a notice that I even had any responses until this morning. So I apologize for that.


Posted by @anon89880224, Dec 11, 2011

Hi bettyanne.

We all just have to be straight up truthful with our little demons , and cope the best way we know how.
Whether it be anxiety, depression, cancer, heart problems, ect..... We have to deal with what is "given" to us.

It's reality..... Its life ..... 🙂

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Posted by @marvelousme5, Dec 15, 2011

Hello Bettyann!! I really enjoyed reading your post!! I have diverticulitis and have constant worry and anxiety over it. I sometimes worry "am I going to experience it again?" and as soon as I think this thought I end up with constipation and pain in my left side. Plus I have to avoid grease and caffeine and these are the hardest things to give up.
I have had tests that came back fine and it appeared that I had nothing wrong. Finally one day my husband was with me at the hospital and told the doctor that I had a family history of diverticulitis. I thought I had a UTI because I am always getting UTI's. I finally received the diagnosis of diverticulitis. As stated above I know when I am having a flare up with diverticulitis and I can go to the hospital and the tests may come back ok. The last time I went to the hospital my WBC count was 400 over what it should be and I was experiencing terrible pain. I wish the doctor would have admitted me to the hospital but I do not have health insurance so I can not be admitted unless it is an emergency. I wanted IV medications to feel better instantly. The next time I go to the hospital I am telling the doctor to give me IV Cipro and Flagyl because I am sick for two to three weeks with diverticulitis. I am prescribed a narcotic pain medication but it constipates me worse. I wish they could make a narcotic pain medication that would not cause constipation.
I know sometimes it would feel like I was having a UTI and my urinalysis would reveal that I did not have an infection. I would ask the doctor if it was possible that I had an infection and it was not showing up and he would say no but a few days later I would have an infection and this was before I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. I now know it is either diverticulitis, constipation, or a UTI, or a yeast infection because of the antibiotics I take for the diverticulitis.
Please never feel like you are a hypochondriac and never let any doctors, nurses, or any medical personnel make you feel like you are a hypochondriac. They are not in your body and do not understand what you are experiencing and how you are feeling.
My advise to you is to study up on your condition and ask your doctor many questions about your condition. I always look up conditions on here and on They explain things easily. I always explain to my doctor what medications work best for me. I know many things about my condition and this helps my doctor out too.
I know when I go to the doctor or hospital and my blood pressure is high I am in pain. If you blood pressure is usually normal and you go to the doctor and it is high and you are in pain it is high because you are in pain. Also any health condition a person has I believe causes them anxiety and sleep problems. I once had a full blown panic attack and it was not even when I was sick with diverticulitis. I ended up going to the hospital because I was wheezing and thought I might have asthma. It turned out to be a really bad panic attack.
I hope this information helps. Please let me know if it helps. We can exchange e-mail addresses if you would like. I hope you feel better soon and have a wonderful Wednesday night!! Take care.



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Posted by @bettyann, Dec 15, 2011

Hi Michelle,
Thank you so very much for taking the time to write such a thorough reply, I am happy to report that I have been doing something that has really been helping me. I have been taking L Theanine (100 mg) in the mornings (on empty stomach) and then one more in the afternoons.
I also went back to taking my St John's Wort...2 caps in the morning about an hour or two after the L Theanine.
Here is what I found interesting...I skipped both my B vits and the L Theanine yesterday afternoon (long story 🙂 ...when I awoke at 6AM I started in feeling panicky...thinking I needed a 'quick fix' I took an .5 mg Ativan...Yes, I went back to sleep in less than a half hour but did NOT FEEL GOOD when I woke up. I do NOT want to rely on the Ativan at all anymore.
I know the allopathic drs prescribe L Theanine for anxiety and even larger doses...
I am not coming down on anyone who wants Rx meds... everybody does what they need to do. But I FEEL BETTER psychologically about the L Theanine and I am sure that is partly why it is helping me so well. NOTHING in the world like the 'belief in' ... because it is what is really doing the trick! =) ...
Michelle, I am so sorry for all that you are going through... it does sound to me like Fear is your greatest challenge... I am wondering if the L Theanine as well as St John 's Wort might help you. DO NOT TAKE EITHER if you are on Rx meds for anxieity or depression, however.
I am also doing more meditating, walking, and doing more fun things. That all helps. PLUS, as Amberjune wrote...just accepting what is...helps...and KNOWING that 'this too shall pass' and then staying in the moment...really does help. And like she said, we really have to UN-learn our negative thinking patterns...
Love and best wishes to you.

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Posted by @tufu, Feb 11, 2012

Hi Bettyann. I am so sorry about your g.i. problems. I have had "nervous stomach" since I can remember, panic attacks since I was 25 (although not diagnosed properly for about 10 years) and was recently diagnosed with diverticulitis. I was given cipro and flagyl (both of which have some potentially serious side effects), and I had to take it because there was a severe infection over a large area. I went recaently to emergency where the diverticulitis was diagnosed and kept in the hospital for 2 days with massive i.v. doses of both antibiotics, and sent home with scripts for both for 13 days. When I had to eat clear liquids in the hospital, continued with very easilly digested foods and liquids at home and had to prep for the colonoscopy after the infection was cleared up, I discovered that this eating regimen agreed with me. After the colonoscopy (no polyps happily), a few days later I was told to increase the fiber in my diet dramatically. I started of course checking out the situation on the internet and settled on a diet of very light eating with quite a bit of fiber, but almost nonexistent for fat, very little sugar and salt, little caffeine, little red meat, small amounts of fish and chicken, and no processed foods. Besides losing weight, my digestion is considerably better and the pain has stayed away for more than a month. Also I have lowered the dose of clonzepam to .5 at night. Originally the doctor put me on ativan but changed that because she said clonzepam is better to help with sleeping,. While it is not perfect, I find it is better than the loranzepam which I had been given to take regularly to prevent panic attacks.

By the way, some of the things you said made me wonder if you have, perhaps, mild panic attacks. They come in all forms of severity. I wouldn't even want to mention the severity of mine when I was first diagnosed.

I would say that whatever the cause of the pain, which is difficult with abdominal problems, one night when I called the doctor late in a great deal of pain, blatulence, and bowel distension, and suspectred a panic attack, he recommended a hot water bottle (specifically, no heating pad or other forms of heat, and to take aspirin and lie down. In about 30 minutes the pain started to dissipate. I find that with panic attacks it is very helpful to do this, turn on a fan over my bed, and myself that I have had them many times before, and they didn't kill me, just scared me almost to death.

I don't know whether any of this would work for you or what your other health situation is, or even whether you are permitted aspirin (I am not now because I am on coumadin), I don't think it would hurt to ask your doctor if you can try them.

I also found that with United Health Care from AARP, we have access to a nurse 24 hours a day by telephone, and I have found them lovely, patient, thorough, and very helpful.

If any of this helps you in the slightest, I will be very appreciative because I certainly sympathize with your condition as well as Marvelousme5 who also replied to you.

Much good luck and keep up the fight. It's well worth it.

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Posted by @andyf1, May 2, 2012

I have a question about Panic Anxiety and the Physical effects of it A friend of mine is ok I spoke with him on the phone this afternoon,this happened to him over a year ago and I wanted to know weather I did a good job explaining to my friend the medical explanation for everything.Did I do ok explaining it?

I know that when there is panic anixety when you feel your in danger your body has a reaction and according to Time Magazine's December 5,2011 issue people have heart attacks,strokes,or they don't have a heart attack or a stroke but panic anxiety can lead to the heart beating faster it says, "A persistent alarm in the brain can do life threatening damage to the body."Meaning you think you are in danger and really feel a panic your body has a reaction where your heart beats faster

Anyway my friend was under extreme stress and one day he was in his house and lied down because of his high anxiety and adrenaline he wasn't asleep but his eyes closed from exhaustion so he was awake,his eyes were closed,and he felt tired,it's not regular sleeping,he had the Cortical Arousal of someone who's awake but his eyes are closed from exhaustion and he felt tired it's called a Lucid Dream,because it's not normal to feel what he felt,be breathing the way he was breathing,and have his eyes close on him from exhaustion and he had in the past read articles on various medical things his mind sensed that what he was feeling wasn't normal

He pictured someone he knew on an Island she said to him, "Don't rescue me or you'll slip into a Coma and won't wake up from this dream." This wasn't really a dream he had the cortical arousal of someone who's awake while his eyes were closed from there this person he knew disappearred and he pictured himself standing alone on the beach and he visualized himself saying , "She disappeared I didn't rescue her I will wake up from this dream." It wasn't a literally dream with that much Cortical Arousal he physically would be considered awake with his eyes closed from there he felt his eyes open he was lying in bed with his eyes open!He is fully conciouss,awake,and alive,while this was a year ago and since that day when he got his eyes open he has safely gone to sleep and woken up day after day he still has days he's afraid .

I said to him the medical explanation is because of high anxiety,the physical feeling of your heart beating faster,the feeling you had in your chest which comes from anxiety,along with the exhaustion that comes after the adrenaline rush of anxiety wears off the adrenaline rush wears off you were awake with your eyes closed having that much cortical arousal with your eyes closed,that's what a Lucid Dream is,because what you were feeling was not normal your mind sensed what your body was feeling wasn't normal your mind wanted to send your body a simple message, "You are Fullyconciouss there are people in Comas because you are Fullyconciouss get your eyes open." Because it is frightening you pictured someone you knew she said ,"Don't Rescue me or you'll slip into a Coma." And then you pictured her disappearing,you then pictured yourself standing alone on the beach saying, "I didn't rescue her." And you talking about how you'll "Wake up from this dream." It wasn't literally a dream,but you said that because you didn't know what else to call it.The fact she said don't rescue me and you didn't,means the whole thing was a thought about how you know you're fully conciouss and you can get your eyes open and you did.

The reason the word Coma was said while your eyes were closed and then you opened your eyes and your ok is because you've read medical things so when you felt something you knew wasn't normal you had a thought about how you knew you were fully conciouss,there are people who end up in Comas so to be safe get your eyes open and you did open your eyes.While this happened to my friend a year ago and he has safely gone to sleep and woken up many days since then.Backthen a year ago,it happened two more times

He once again felt anxiety,he felt something in his chest,he lied down he was awake his eyes closed from exhaustion.His eyes were closed but he had the cortical arousal of someone who was awake.That's a Lucid Dream it's not sleeping.As he was breathing in a heavy frightened way,he visualized himself and visualized a man people when they feel something physically abnormal that's frightening manytimes based on their beliefs may have thoughts about religion the man he visualized had a Hammer in one hand and the other hand was empty the man pointed at and touched him with the empty harmless hand right when he was pointed at and touched with the empty harmless hand he stared at the Hammer as he stared at the Hammer in fear and had the mans empty hand on him the man said, "If someone's in a Coma God touches them this way If someones in a Coma God touches thems way see the way I'm touching you if someone was in a Coma God would do it this way." A guy has a Hammer in onehand his other hand is empty he puts the empty hand on your shoulder you are staring in fear at the Hammer because his empty hand is on you but you are staring at the Hammer he says in response to the fact you are being touched with an empty hand but staring at a Hammer , "If someone's in a Coma God touches them this way see the way I'm touching you if someone's in a Coma God touches them this way." Since you are staring at the Hammer he means God touches people in Comas with a Hammer and you of course are being touched with an empty hand instead .Then his eyes opened he was fully conciouss lying in bed with his eyes open

The medical explanation for this is the same as before he felt something in his chest,he was breathing heavy,his eyes were closed because he sensed what he was feeling wasn't normal his mind sent his body a message about how he is fully conciouss he is fully conciouss but because there are people in Comas he needs to get his eyes open and he opened his eyes.He was lying in bed with his eyes open,when a year ago he called me.Visualizing a man with a Hammer in onehand and his other hand is empty he touches you with the empty hand and makes a comment about God touching people in Comas differently then he touches people as you look at the Hammer you aren't being touched the sameway as the Unconciouss people your being touched by an empty hand so it's a thought about how you can get your eyes open and people sometimes think about religious things when they feel something and he got his eyes open
So I figured I gave a good explanation to my friend a year ago when this happened.

From there a year ago after he got off the phone with me,his eyes were open he began to think about what had happened before when his eyes were closed how he visualized that girl on the beach and opened his eyes as he sat there with his eyes open he had a frightened thought about how her name could be said again and her name being said and ending up in a Coma when Two days later he felt something in his chest he was awake with his eyes closed again feeling something in his chest when he visualized the same girl from before her name was said and then he visualized himself saying, "All names are harmless",and while again this wasn't sleeping he had the Cortical Arousal of someone who was awake with his eyes closed he then visualized himself saying, "I'll wake up from this dream."And he opened his eyes once again he felt something in his chest from anxiety his eyes were closed he was physically considered awake and his mind sent his body a message about needing to get his eyes open and how that girl being visualized again or her name being mentioned again is harmless and he got his eyes open he was again fully concious with his eyes closed and he figured out what he was feeling wasn't normal and got his eyes open

From there my friend was doing better this was also a year ago he still was afraid of what had happened before then oneday he was walking around had one eye open so he was obviously ok and fully conciouss it's of course a fact you have one eye open you are fully conciouss when the poor guy because he was moving forward from this anxiety believed while he had one eye open someone on the radio had said , "You're in a Coma." Because he had one eye open whatever was said it's impossible with one eyes open not to be fully conciouss He called me and said , "I had one eye open so I know it wasn't true." I said to him "I was listening to the same radio station no one said 'You're in a Coma' you're not hearing voices you had one eye open the music was on and you were scared from what happened before so you imagined a voice saying 'You're in a Coma' you had a negative thought the fact you had one eye open means you were fully conciouss the whole time."
Since it was a year ago,my friend lowered his anxiety and today goes to sleep and wakes up safely but is there more information I need to give him


Posted by @bettyann, May 2, 2012

Hi Andy,
That was one long story! 🙂 What I very honestly think is the best thing to do is for him to visit with a medical doctor. Have him make notes so that he can be as brief and clear as possible...and get right to the point of what is really frightening him.
To me, it sounds like he is having a huge OBSESSION over what was a dream... Lucid dreams are dreams in which you are aware and CONTROL your actions and words...nothing more...nothing less.
Yes, Panic attacks can cause ALL KINDS of physical reactions including rapid heart beat and chest pains...
At this point, even though you are very caring and wanting to help your friend -- a doctor needs to be the one to address what your friend needs... You seem to be as emotionally involved with your friends problem as HE is!...and this is not good. He needs to speak to someone who is detached emotionally and can listen from a totally clear perspective. When you speak of your friend it is like "YOU" are going through it... and this is not necessarily a good thing (even though you mean well.)
Why do YOU feel you need to give him more information?? You should, to my way of thinking, detach yourself sounds as if YOU are more worried than HE is... do not need amatuers advise here...someone needs to visit with a doctor and then follow the doctor's advice. Do NOT assume you know what a doctor might or might not say. Maybe you should visit with a doctor, also...?? It might help you out, too.


Posted by @piglit, May 2, 2012

Hi Andy I agree with Betty. I too suffer as Betty does with high anxiety and panic. I have had this from a very young age. I feel as Betty does that something is frightening your friend. Hence, causing him at different times to panic. Panic attacks effect people in different ways. You do so need to get professional advice on this and I agree that it maybe a good idea for you to see a dr as well. You are obviously very emotionally involved with this. and this is natrual as you are friends and you are concerned. But remember with someone who suffers from panic anxiety issues it's best to stay calm and not to go over all the time what has occured, this may provoke another panic attack for your friend out of your concerns for him. Let Betty and I know how you get along and were both here if you need to talk Take care Piglit

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