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Author Topic: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness  (Read 3225 times)

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Offline armygirl53

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Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« on: February 23, 2013, 06:25:48 PM »
Hey guys.

I have been dealing with panic attacks since late 2010 and was put on Lexapro almost immediately to help alleviate my attacks. In March of last year, I decided to kick the medication because I gained a terrible amount of weight on it. In May of last year, I began experiencing chronic/daily unsteadiness that lasted for about two months. The feeling is not like a vertigo/spinning feeling, but more so a feeling like I am going to tip over or like the ground is not solid (like a trampoline/marshmallow sensation). This always comes along with disturbances in my vision. I am unable to concentrate/see clearly and have issues with my gaze. When I do not have these visual issues, the "dizziness" is seemingly gone.

I went to the ER back in June because these daily sensations began to scare the living daylights out of me. They did blood work and several tests, ruling out any physical complications. Eventually, when I went on a family vacation in July, the unsteadiness and vision problems suddenly disappeared (probably because my mind was clear and I was enjoying myself).

However, one month ago, this debilitating sensation returned. I had a terrible panic attack while driving and within just a few days, the disequilibrium/visual disturbances were back. Along with this came even more panic attacks. It's like a vicious cycle. The anxiety causes unsteadiness, but the unsteadiness brings on even more anxiety. I went to my physician who said that I had some swelling in my left ear. However, two weeks later, I am still experiencing this dizziness.

Has anyone other than me experienced anxiety-related unsteadiness? It's quite difficult for me to believe that panic/anxiety could cause such terrible physical symptoms. Because of this, I am quite unable to enjoy the activities I regularly enjoy. I can't exercise, walk long distances, or even stand up for too long before I feel completely worn out. I'm just wondering if there's anyone else out there who has experienced this or something similar, and what I could do to completely kick it. I need my life back!

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"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes

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Offline alicat22

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 09:31:04 PM »
There are many articles on the web about anxiety/agoraphobia link to visual and inner ear disturbances. I have strabismus (a visual problem that causes double vision). It most certainly adds to the feeling of being unsteady or the floor feeling like it is out from under me. If I walk down a long hallway, or through a large area, I feel unsteady. I can only shop in big stores if I can hold on to a shopping cart.  My therapist seems to feel that it is a big part of my phobic behavior. My theory is that some of us have an underlying physical symptom and being axious people makes us react anxiously or fearfully to the situation. I'm not sure if this is your problem, but it has just been my experience.
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Offline LuLu82

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 12:55:16 PM »
Hi.

Just wanted to comment that I have been experiencing this too for the past 2 months or so.  Agoraphobic.panic symptoms for 3 or so years, but the chronic dizziness more recently.  It got to the point where I was taking 2 minute showers and not putting conditioner in my hair to get out sooner, I feel like my legs are giving way.   even brushing my teeth felt like the room was spinning.   If all physical conditions are ruled out, then this is just your body and the physical sensations.  for me the physical sensations are what mostly leave me unable to go to malls/department stores,etc.    the only way ive forced myself to get a little better ( and ive been better lately, taking long hot showers again) is by telling yourself something simple that a book told me "hope and help for your nerves"   that 'jelly legs will still get you there' etc....say to yourself that you are feeling a bit weak right now but you're going to continue driving, doing whatever you are doing anyway to recondition yourself not to be scared of the physical sensation.  I also tell myself that the worst thing I think will happen(passing out, fainting, falling on my face)  has not happened yet so this may give you a boost of confidence.   I also use anti anxiety meds sometimes on bad days to go around and do things, eventually u will build more confidence.  but yes basically the anxiety gives you these physical sensations, for me it the dizziness is the main part of my agoraphobic symptoms.    the main message any cognitive therapy book,etc will tell you is you must stay with these feelings until they pass, and trying to 'escape' only conditions it more...now if only it was that easy, but really I do believe this is the only way to truly be free of this thing  ...if you want to read the book 'hope and help for you nerves' claire weekes, it might be comforting
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Offline LindaRK

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 01:52:57 PM »
I haven't experienced this on a regular basis, but during my 36+ years of anxiety, I've probably had it happen severely a few times, most recently this past week - DIRECTLY attributable to stress.  I have another issue going on that is heightening my anxiety big time (along with other stress in my life) and I woke up to everything spinning .... lasted a good part of the day.  As I said, most likely, anxiety related.

Oddly enough, the next day, my hubby had the same thing happen - he was sitting at his desk and had that vertigo type sensation, then immediatley his sinuses drained and he felt time.

Now, why can't something that simple happen to us!!!! LOL!
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Offline Twinhere

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 01:43:48 PM »
One of my main symptoms. It went away pretty much all last week, but it's back :/ I sometimes feel like someone is pushing me down too or just gravity increasing.. Idk it just sucks. We all have brain tumors for sure... :p
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Offline cutecat25

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 06:41:36 PM »
Yes my main & worst symptom.
I'm so scared I have had it for a year now, since I had a dizzy spell and collapsed.
I had blood work and a few other tests last year, but im just s terrified.
How can this just be anxiety, it becomes worse in anxious situations, but it ruins every aspect of m life.
I always feel floaty and strange, and in really anxious situations the ground moves too.
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Offline armygirl53

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 11:43:03 PM »
I'm not necessarily happy to hear that there are other anxiety "victims" out there who are experiencing the same, if not similar, symptoms, but it is a relief to know that I am not alone.

The symptoms got so terrifying on Tuesday that I visited a different ER because of them. They did blood work, an EKG, and a CT scan and could not find one thing out of place. No infections. No swelling in the brain. No fractures. No tumors. Nothing. The doctor there referred me to a neurologist who I will be visiting on Monday.

I have a strange feeling that all of this unsteadiness/heavy legs/vision blurriness is due to anxiety. It's all too ironic to me that I have a panic attack in my car and then these symptoms appear. They tend to die down a bit when my mind is immersed in something else; however, when my mind is focused on the pain/symptoms I'm experiencing and the fear of something bad happening to me, I am a complete mess. That leads me to believe that it's anxiety-triggered. However, the ER doctor and myself alike want to rule out all possible physical ailments before pinning it on anxiety.

I do know that my anxiety has become a lot worse due to all of this, yet the "chicken OR egg" dilemma remains. Was it the anxiety causing the unsteadiness or the unsteadiness causing the anxiety?
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"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes

PD/GAD/PTSD since 2010 -- keep moving forward!

Offline Lauren9588

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2013, 07:06:08 AM »
I have been having this same issue for the past week. I can't drive nor to to school because I feel so spaced out. I notice that the symptoms do subside when my brain is active on something else such as naseoua or cramps! I am exhausted from not getting much sleep from it which I'm sure is making it worse
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Offline armygirl53

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2013, 03:55:54 PM »
One thing we must realize is that THIS (if all serious physical disorders/diseases such as tumors and swelling of the brain) are ruled out) is NOT going to kill us. After doing a ton of research, I've found that anxiety could definitely trigger the chronic unsteadiness/dizzy sensation. While anxiety could certainly make a person feel out of place/in pain, it could NOT harm or kill us.

The best thing to do is to try not to focus so much on the physical symptoms and anxiety. Feeding into it only makes it that much worse and will not benefit you in any way, shape, or form. I've learned that the hard way. I let this unsteadiness control my life to the point where getting out of bed was a chore. I was afraid that if I would get up to walk, I would faint or suffer a seizure/aneurysm. I've been feeling this way since January 23rd. It's March 10th. Have I fainted yet? Have I died yet? No. I'm still here. So what would it hurt to try to focus on the positive rather than dwell in the negative?

I took nearly two years to recover from Panic Disorder, and I fell right back into the hole in merely two months, simply because I feel unsteady. Once again, I am constantly/obsessively searching for symptoms on the web (big no-no for GAD/PD sufferers) and self-diagnosing. So far (according to myself), I've had a brain tumor, epilepsy, bacterial meningitis, MS, Meniere's, nerve damage, CFIDS, and eardrum perforation. When we WORRY so much about things that are likely not happening, we tend to experience the physical symptoms that much worse.

Don't let this ruin/stop your life. Continue doing what you love, even if it means being uncomfortable doing it. Let your mind relax and give your brain the time to compensate for whatever is wrong. It is not worth wasting days, months, and years over this. Just some new two sense ;)
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"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes

PD/GAD/PTSD since 2010 -- keep moving forward!

Offline cutecat25

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 06:38:06 PM »
That's a great response Armygirl!
I have been experiencing this off balance, spacey, dizzy feeling for a year now.
I had tests last year, but I think I'm going to get some more again just to be sure, then I'm really going to try & accept it as anxiety & continue with my life.
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Offline armygirl53

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2013, 04:52:18 PM »
Well I visited the neurologist this morning, who didn't seem to be too concerned about my problems. He reviewed my CT scans and said that my brain appears to be perfectly healthy. He had asked me if anything happened the morning I began experiencing the unsteadiness and I mentioned to him the panic attack that I had that morning. He automatically correlated the chronic anxiety with all of the physical symptoms and told me what I already knew: constant stress/worrying creates and/or worsens physical pain.

I was concerned about diseases such as MS but he said that he almost guarantees that I don't have it, and that an MRI and EEG would only be pointless time consumption. It's just so strange that anxiety could manifest itself in chronic physical symptoms. But it all makes sense. When the unsteadiness began in January, it wasn't so terrifying that I was constantly worried about it. I'd realized I had it before and that it eventually went away, so for a while I was able to shake it off and chalk it up to anxiety. Then, once it began occurring more and more, I began wondering "what if?" (one of the worst questions an anxiety sufferer could ask him/herself)

What if there was something more complicated wrong with me? What if I was dying? When these questions consumed my mind, I began experiencing more and more panic attacks. With every panic attack, my unsteadiness/balance became worse. Within the past few weeks, I have been unable to focus on anything aside from the symptoms I've been feeling. This has gotten so out of control that I sometimes forget to eat and am unable to fall asleep. It has completely gained the upper hand over myself and my life because I have LET it do so.

All victims of anxiety, regardless of if they have the same symptoms or not, must be stronger than the disease that plagues us. I'm slowly but surely learning SO much about my disorder and what I must do to combat it... all from this experience.

1.) Mind over matter - Plenty of people with chronic anxiety suffer in a physical sense. Whether it's tension headaches, neck pains, dizziness, unsteadiness, joint pain and cramping, etc., we must remain mentally strong for these physical symptoms to dissolve. If we spend significant amounts of time feeding into our physical pain, it (as aforementioned) will become that much worse.

2.) Matter over mind - Sometimes our mind tricks us into believing we suffer from disastrous, disabling physical diseases when, in reality, we don't. If you have been cleared by a trusted physician who assures that you are healthy, you ARE healthy. Plain and simple. Though our minds are telling us otherwise, the proof is in our medical records.

3.) Don't degrade yourself - I can't tell you all how many times I've thought of myself as inferior because of my anxiety disorder. I was afraid that I was being judged or looked down upon because I considered myself mentally unstable. We are not inferior. Many, many people suffer from anxiety. We are not the only ones. If you are currently seeing a therapist and/or taking medications for anxiety/panic/depression, don't beat yourself up. You are not any less of a person because of it.

4.) Take care of yourself - Follow a healthy diet. Attempt to avoid excessive caffeine, and eat foods rich in Vitamins B12 and C, as well as antioxidants. Avoiding an excess of alcohol and nicotine is also beneficial to help prevent/calm anxiety. Exercise is also great for anxiety sufferers, as it aids in creating serotonin and releasing endorphins.

I've learned that it's really up to ME to improve my mind. My neurologist/GP also mutually prescribed me Effexor (the smallest dose) to help my headaches and anxiety. I've done my research and learned that the withdrawal process is terrifying for this specific SNRI; however, if it helps, it helps.

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"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes

PD/GAD/PTSD since 2010 -- keep moving forward!

Offline panic_gad

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Re: Panic Disorder and Disequilibrium/Chronic Unsteadiness
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 03:37:26 PM »
One thing we must realize is that THIS (if all serious physical disorders/diseases such as tumors and swelling of the brain) are ruled out) is NOT going to kill us. After doing a ton of research, I've found that anxiety could definitely trigger the chronic unsteadiness/dizzy sensation. While anxiety could certainly make a person feel out of place/in pain, it could NOT harm or kill us.

The best thing to do is to try not to focus so much on the physical symptoms and anxiety. Feeding into it only makes it that much worse and will not benefit you in any way, shape, or form. I've learned that the hard way. I let this unsteadiness control my life to the point where getting out of bed was a chore. I was afraid that if I would get up to walk, I would faint or suffer a seizure/aneurysm. I've been feeling this way since January 23rd. It's March 10th. Have I fainted yet? Have I died yet? No. I'm still here. So what would it hurt to try to focus on the positive rather than dwell in the negative?

I took nearly two years to recover from Panic Disorder, and I fell right back into the hole in merely two months, simply because I feel unsteady. Once again, I am constantly/obsessively searching for symptoms on the web (big no-no for GAD/PD sufferers) and self-diagnosing. So far (according to myself), I've had a brain tumor, epilepsy, bacterial meningitis, MS, Meniere's, nerve damage, CFIDS, and eardrum perforation. When we WORRY so much about things that are likely not happening, we tend to experience the physical symptoms that much worse.

Don't let this ruin/stop your life. Continue doing what you love, even if it means being uncomfortable doing it. Let your mind relax and give your brain the time to compensate for whatever is wrong. It is not worth wasting days, months, and years over this. Just some new two sense ;)







I started having Vertigo and Dizziness after a year of going through Panic attacks but which were more episodic and not so frequent. However for now almost a year i feel unsteady and feel a sense of imbalance while walking followed with chronic dizziness. I have visited 3 neurologists and even got a MRI of my head and heart done to rule out any organic reason. Last month after struggling a lot i finally got a appointed with a leading neurologist who gave me a term for the problem that i am facing , he said i am suffering from Psychogenic Dizziness which could result from chronic anxiety. Although he asked me to get a ENT test done to rule out a inner ear problem which also causes balance problems.

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