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Monday, May 20, 2013
Anxiety and Stress Disorders
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Hello and how are you today? I am a 34 year old male, about 6 feet tall and 191 lbs. For the last 2 1/2 months I have been waking up everyday with my heart racing (75-90 bpm) and feeling trembling or jittery. While on business travel 4 weeks ago I visited the ER after waking up to a 149 bpm heart rate. A chest xray, blood work and EKG showed nothing wrong with my heart. My general practioner had me visit an Endocrinologist which informed me that my thyroid is borderline for Hashimoto`s. Since my trip to the ER my symptoms have definitely worsened. I know I have stress in my life but none that I can identify as a major contributor to my condition. Could this be GAD? Any suggestions on treatment? It would be nice to sleep through the night again. Thank you
It is important that you continue and complete your evaluation with your physician, as increased heart rate and trembling can certainly be symptoms of thyroid disease, and this is highly treatable. Should that not end up being the case, what you are describing does not sound much like GAD. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized more by chronic and incessant worrying (and worrying about worrying). Panic attacks can present with physical symptoms, including increased heart rate, palpitations, trembling, nausea and a deep sense of dread or fear. They tend to last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so, and can lead to ongoing fear of another attack occurring!!
Several other things can cause increased heart rate and jitteriness, including drugs (caffeine, nicotine and other illegal substances) and even cardiac arrythmias. I encourage you to check out the weblinks to some good anxiety websites, and discuss your concerns with your physician or a mental health provider.
Nancy Elder, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati