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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Identifying Anxiety or A Brain Tumor

12/28/2005

Question:

I am 19 years old and about one year ago I woke up with my heart pounding and racing. The next day it was still the same and I went to the emergency room where they took an Ekg and chest xray that all came out fine. Since then I have had little episodes, but I had an attack I guess about 4 weeks ago. Since then my head has been feeling pressurized/heavy/throbbing and I have been very dizzy, eye disturbances-nothing major though, nausea, very tired, and just sick-like. I havent ever actually fainted or vomited, but I just worry about maybe a brain tumor, or something else seriously wrong with me and I don`t know if it is just the anxiety making me feel this way. In not sure if there is actually something wrong like a brain tumor or something. What do you think the problem is and suggest for me to do?

Answer:

It seems to me that an evaluation by your primary care doctor should be the first thing you do.  Your symptoms are vague, and could be due to many things, including anxiety, but you need a good physical examination and probably some diagnostic blood testing to assess for other causes, as well.

Take a look at the weblinks on anxiety and panic attacks.  Those could certainly be all (or part) of your problem.  Sometimes a panic attack (sudden onset of fear or concern coupled with significant physical symptoms including racing heart rate, chest pain, sweating, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness and lightheadedness) can be the first sign of an anxiety disorder -- and even lead to increasing anxiety about experiencing another attack!

If your physical examination comes back normal, then your primary care doctor can help you treat and care for anxiety.  An evaluation with a mental health specialist, such as a counselor or a psychologist may also be in order.

Good Luck

Related Resources:

NIH NIMH anxiety
anxiety disorders of america

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Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati