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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Anxiety and Stress Disorders
Anxiety/Panic or Just Overreacting?
I`m 50 and in fairly good health (I don`t see a doctor regularly); I hvae had a really bad past 2 years (deaths in the family, mother with progressing dementia-had to move her 4 times in the past 2 years, now she`s in an alzheimers facility, and a generally stressful job and family life...but until recently, I have always been able to deal with the stress....recently, I have had bad insomnia, waking up with a feeling of "doom" and vague chest pain to the point where I actually drove to the hospital ER where I work and was going to ask to have cardiac enzymes drawn to see if I was having a cardiac event)......but I turned around when I realized that this was a waste of resources since it was obviously all in my head.......the slightest problem now causes me to over-react.........I did get a nurse who I knew to draw all the routine labs and all were normal...this "stress reaction" thing is driving me nuts.......is it possible to have "anxiety" to the point where you really feel like you are going to die??? and it`s starting to get really, really depressing (new for me). any ideas. thanks
I think it is probably time to stop evaluating and diagnosing yourself and go see a professional. Panic attacks really can make people feel like they are going to die. Anxiety disorders are real illnesses and can create serious problems in your life.
I would start by going to see your primary care physician, who can assess you to make sure there is nothing else going on. He or she can also help assess you for anxiety. It is probably reasonable to also see a mental health professional for evaluation and treatment. Both medications and counseling have been proven effective in treating anxiety disorders!
Nancy Elder, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati