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Author Topic: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!  (Read 445 times)

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Offline Depp74

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weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« on: June 30, 2014, 07:00:17 AM »
Hi everyone, I'm a 39 year old guy who has always had issues with social anxiety, and GAD, but it was pretty much ok until a few months ago when I started having weird physical symptoms.  (Btw I'm not sure what section to post this, hopefully this one.)

It started with my face and scalp tingling, both sides, totally symmetrical, but variable in intensity and exact location.  All parts of my face were affected.  Since then it has progressed into burning sensations, pain, and itching - sometimes even jolts of eyeball pain.  It varies a lot, but symptoms of some kind are always present, all day every day.  When I first wake up it's the least, and it seems worse in the evening.  When I'm around people, engaged in something, it's the least.  Alone with my thoughts, it's the worst.

My doctor did some blood work, all normal.  He explained to me why it was almost certainly not MS or a tumour, etc.  He thinks it is anxiety, but that seems strange to me.  At my request he gave me a low dose of xanax to try for a while since i was so anxious about it, but it didn't seem to help much.  Maybe somewhat, I'm not sure.  I stopped taking it and am currently on absolutely nothing.  He offered to put me on an SSRI, or a different benzo like clonazepam, and I'm thinking I might take him up on that soon, although I declined at the time.

So, if anyone has any experience with these sorts of symptoms, do you agree that it is anxiety?  I've google around, searched this site, but it seems like these symptoms, if anxiety, are more related to panic attacks which I don't have, and shouldn't be 24/7.  Unless my life is one big low-level panic attack?  Also, what do you think I should do?  Try meds?  If so, which ones?

Thanks for reading.  All responses appreciated.
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Offline greend

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 09:02:02 AM »
Depp I am sorry you are feeling this way, but if you read through some of the posts on this site you will see that you're not alone. I suggest that you read the 100 symptoms of anxiety. It is a real eye-opener, and the symptoms you have described are certainly on this list. Anxiety can be very insidious. What seems like a physical disorder can be anxiety related.

I have experienced neurological symptoms on and off for the last 10 years and have been tested extensively because of this. No cause has ever been found and it has been suggested by a couple of doctors that they could be due to anxiety. Personally I am not sure that it is anxiety and maybe this is why my symptoms are not going away. I strongly believe that if you feel it is a neurological disorder when in fact, it is not, it will be very difficult for you to heal. (Maybe I am talking to myself as well)

I suggest you start dealing with your anxiety. Reading self-help books, exercise, and just a general positive attitude will probably help.

Feel well. And let us know how it goes.
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Offline Toasted Butter

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 09:51:44 AM »
I will just add to this that anxiety can also cause a benign and modest little problem to get blown out of proportion into something huge. For instance, it is possible that you have itchiness due to some minor allergies, but your anxiety is turning it into a horrible burning sensation by putting the symptoms in a spotlight. This would explain why it seems to be much less pronounced when you are otherwise engaged and much worse when you are alone with your thoughts.
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Offline richdelb

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 01:26:07 PM »
I have similar symptoms as you have described (in terms of when they occur) but mine has been more limited to around my mouth and upper lip.

My doctor absolutely insists that this is 100 percent anxiety related.  He has told me this several different times. 

It's something that comes and goes with me.  I have been absent of these unpleasant feelings for about 3 weeks, but over the weekend they came back.  So I guess I'm in an anxiety down swing now.  Waiting for the bounce back out of it to some very soon.
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Offline AncientMelody

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 02:06:17 PM »
it definitely could be anxiety, but I would hesitate to say "definitely 100%". Of course I've never examined you. Certain headache conditions come to mind: trigeminal neuralgia, cluster headache, atypical migraine. Your symptoms don't quite fit those pictures either; trigeminal neuralgia and cluster headaches are typically one-sided. It wouldn't hurt to request a neurology consult. In terms of symptom management, I would think a nortriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant) or an SNRI (such as cymbalta) may be better in your case because they can improve headache type etiologies. And they still work on anxiety as well. SSRIs are generally first-line for anxiety but they don't tend to alleviate pain/nerve type symptoms if there is another cause to those symptoms other than pure anxiety.

Those are my thoughts, as a family practice physician assistant, but again I have not personally examined you so take my advice with a grain of salt. Numbness, tingling, head pain can all come with anxiety, but with your persistent pattern of symptoms, it certainly sounds like something more could be going on. I'd talk things out with your doctor, discuss those other med options, and maybe just getting in a neuro consult. Good luck to you!
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Offline Smalm

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 03:53:46 PM »
I get a tingling that is somewhat similar for it starts on one side of my face and goes all the way down my body on that one side... I get the chills a lot.
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On medication, which is doing great! I love the major improvements it has made for me and he people around me for when I have anxiety I make others suffer, but not anymore!

Offline Depp74

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 10:15:36 PM »
Thanks for all the replies, especially AncientMelody.  I've done quite a bit of research and NOTHING quite seems to fit.  I'm going to make another appointment with my doctor, see if he thinks it's worth seeing a neurologist, and/or trying another med.  There really isn't much else I can do.  The jolts of eye pain and feelings of bugs crawling are new, so hopefully he takes it more seriously.

I'll keep this thread updated with any news.  Thanks again.
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Offline Depp74

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 08:02:18 PM »
UPDATE:

Since I last posted my symptoms got worse and now include tingling in my palms and the bottom of my feet.  I saw a neurologist and had an EMG test, and a neurological exam - all normal.

Symptoms persist.  I've noticed that they momentarily decrease when I exercise or eat.  Being around people helps too, usually I'm alone. 

I see my doctor tomorrow, probably get meds and/or a referral to a psychiatrist.  Any thoughts or advice are appreciated.  Thanks for reading.
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Offline Raaawr

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 08:17:08 PM »

It started with my face and scalp tingling, both sides, totally symmetrical, but variable in intensity and exact location.
Very much a classic symptom.

Quote
All parts of my face were affected.  Since then it has progressed into burning sensations, pain, and itching - sometimes even jolts of eyeball pain.  It varies a lot, but symptoms of some kind are always present, all day every day.  When I first wake up it's the least, and it seems worse in the evening.  When I'm around people, engaged in something, it's the least.  Alone with my thoughts, it's the worst.
Anything that is worse when you are alone and you are thinking about it is probably anxiety because you are focusing on it so much. If it was a serious issue you wouldnt be able to forget about it.

Quote
My doctor did some blood work, all normal.  He explained to me why it was almost certainly not MS or a tumour, etc.  He thinks it is anxiety, but that seems strange to me.  At my request he gave me a low dose of xanax to try for a while since i was so anxious about it, but it didn't seem to help much.  Maybe somewhat, I'm not sure.  I stopped taking it and am currently on absolutely nothing.  He offered to put me on an SSRI, or a different benzo like clonazepam, and I'm thinking I might take him up on that soon, although I declined at the time.
I would avoid the drugs unless you feel it absolutely necessary. Try therapy before you try the drugs. They can be quite addictive and the come down is worse than the anxiety. Xanax takes time to build up in your system, its not something you can just take and feel the effects, it needs time.

Quote
So, if anyone has any experience with these sorts of symptoms, do you agree that it is anxiety?  I've google around, searched this site, but it seems like these symptoms, if anxiety, are more related to panic attacks which I don't have, and shouldn't be 24/7.  Unless my life is one big low-level panic attack?  Also, what do you think I should do?  Try meds?  If so, which ones?
You can be in a permanent state of anxiety and still have the same symptoms as panic attacks as it is just as physically exhausting as a panic attack. Honestly sometimes I wish I would just have a panic attack because the serene calmness that follows it is incredible, a brief time of 0 anxiety. Of course the 20 or so minutes of panic is absolutely terrifying. Try therapy, avoid the medication unless you absolutely have to.
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Since July 23rd 2014 I have had;
Brain Tumor, 5x Heart Attacks, 2x Blood clots in leg, 1 blood clot in Arm, 2x Appendicitis, Pulmonary Embolism, Brain Tumor, Internal Bleeding, Ebola.

Offline Raaawr

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 08:19:04 PM »
UPDATE:

Since I last posted my symptoms got worse and now include tingling in my palms and the bottom of my feet.  I saw a neurologist and had an EMG test, and a neurological exam - all normal.

Symptoms persist.  I've noticed that they momentarily decrease when I exercise or eat.  Being around people helps too, usually I'm alone. 

I see my doctor tomorrow, probably get meds and/or a referral to a psychiatrist.  Any thoughts or advice are appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

Exercising will ease the feeling and symptoms of anxiety purely by using up some of the adrenaline that anxiety causes your body to produce.
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Since July 23rd 2014 I have had;
Brain Tumor, 5x Heart Attacks, 2x Blood clots in leg, 1 blood clot in Arm, 2x Appendicitis, Pulmonary Embolism, Brain Tumor, Internal Bleeding, Ebola.

Offline AncientMelody

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 08:12:47 AM »

It started with my face and scalp tingling, both sides, totally symmetrical, but variable in intensity and exact location.
Very much a classic symptom.

Quote
All parts of my face were affected.  Since then it has progressed into burning sensations, pain, and itching - sometimes even jolts of eyeball pain.  It varies a lot, but symptoms of some kind are always present, all day every day.  When I first wake up it's the least, and it seems worse in the evening.  When I'm around people, engaged in something, it's the least.  Alone with my thoughts, it's the worst.
Anything that is worse when you are alone and you are thinking about it is probably anxiety because you are focusing on it so much. If it was a serious issue you wouldnt be able to forget about it.

Quote
My doctor did some blood work, all normal.  He explained to me why it was almost certainly not MS or a tumour, etc.  He thinks it is anxiety, but that seems strange to me.  At my request he gave me a low dose of xanax to try for a while since i was so anxious about it, but it didn't seem to help much.  Maybe somewhat, I'm not sure.  I stopped taking it and am currently on absolutely nothing.  He offered to put me on an SSRI, or a different benzo like clonazepam, and I'm thinking I might take him up on that soon, although I declined at the time.
I would avoid the drugs unless you feel it absolutely necessary. Try therapy before you try the drugs. They can be quite addictive and the come down is worse than the anxiety. Xanax takes time to build up in your system, its not something you can just take and feel the effects, it needs time.

Quote
So, if anyone has any experience with these sorts of symptoms, do you agree that it is anxiety?  I've google around, searched this site, but it seems like these symptoms, if anxiety, are more related to panic attacks which I don't have, and shouldn't be 24/7.  Unless my life is one big low-level panic attack?  Also, what do you think I should do?  Try meds?  If so, which ones?
You can be in a permanent state of anxiety and still have the same symptoms as panic attacks as it is just as physically exhausting as a panic attack. Honestly sometimes I wish I would just have a panic attack because the serene calmness that follows it is incredible, a brief time of 0 anxiety. Of course the 20 or so minutes of panic is absolutely terrifying. Try therapy, avoid the medication unless you absolutely have to.

This is true of many medications for anxiety such as buspar and SSRIs, SNRIs, etc. But it is not the case with xanax.  Xanax is probably the fastest acting anxiety med out there. And it doesn't build up in the system if you're taking it on an as needed basis. It's out of your system fairly quickly. For this reason it's generally best for occasional severe anxiety such as panic attacks since it kicks in so quickly. I tend to prefer prescribing Ativan or Klonipin myself if I'm prescribing for more frequent use. Or hydroxyzine for that matter as it doesn't have the addiction potential.
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Offline Depp74

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Re: weird symptoms - doc says it's anxiety!?!?!
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2014, 12:51:04 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.  Pretty much ANY perceived symptom COULD be anxiety-related, but my symptoms seem pretty unusual having lasted over 5 months now.  A clean bill of health from a neurologist certainly strengthens the anxiety hypothesis, although I'm still doubtful. 

UPDATE:
Saw my doctor today, he agreed to my suggestion of trying duloxetine (Cymbalta).  This med seems to have the potential to address all of my issues, but there are a lot of horror stories out there about it too. 

I still haven't decided if I will take it.  I don't have much to lose by trying it at this point - my quality of life with a tingling/burning/itching/aching face isn't the greatest.  Then again, I've heard that getting off this med is tough, has bad discontinuation symptoms, etc.  I really don't know.  I have to think about it.
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