Common Anxiety Panic Symptoms

Someone sent me this and though it is not specifically associated with MAV it does address Anxiety and Panic Symptoms which I think effect many of us in addition to dealing with the MAV itself, perhaps this is why AD’s work on some people in addressing this part of the issue at hand.

Common Anxiety/Panic Attack Symptoms

Here are some of the many symptoms associated with anxiety disorder (because each person has a unique chemical make up, the symptoms and their intensity will vary from person to person):

Shortness of breath
You feel that your breathing is forced and labored. You become conscious of how you are breathing and you have a hard time catching your breath. It seems like you have to force yourself to breathe, in fear that if you don’t, you’ll stop breathing and die. Or, for no apparent reason, you feel out of breath and find yourself doing an unusual amount of yawning in an attempt to catch your breath.

Persistent muscle tension
You feel like your muscles are always tight or strained, sometimes to the point of frequent pain, or even persistent and ongoing pain. Some may also find the pain so restricting and debilitating that it prevents physical activity, and sometimes to the point of becoming bed ridden. It’s also common to experience pain or cramps in any of the body’s muscles.

Heart – beating hard or too fast
Your heart feels and sounds as though it is pounding unusually hard in your chest. You become aware of the heart’s action and you fear there may be a problem with it. Sometimes it may beat unusually fast or feel like it is racing for no apparent reason. Heart - Irregular heart rhythms, flutters or ‘skipped’ beatsYour heart feels like it skips a beat or flops in your chest. It sometimes may feel like a tickle in your chest that makes you cough. If you take your pulse, you’ll notice that sometimes the beats are unevenly spaced.

Dizziness or light-headedness
You feel suddenly light-headed, woozy or dizzy. This is sometimes accompanied by a feeling that you might faint or pass out. It also may feel as though you are walking on a boat, or that the floor seems to move up and down and it’s hard to balance. You may also have difficulty placing your feet because your perception of the ground or floor may be incorrect. In some cases it may seem that even though you are standing on a firm floor, the floor may be vibrating or moving. Weak legs, rubber legsYour legs feel so weak that you think they won’t be able to support you. In some cases you might feel you won’t be able to walk. Sometimes your legs may feel like jelly or rubber, or that you have to force yourself to walk. You may even feel as though your legs or knees are too stiff to move.

Trembling or shaking
Your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling or vibrating. Sometimes you feel like you can’t stop yourself from shaking or trembling.

You feel as though there is something stuck in your throat or sometimes feel there is a lump in your throat. Other times you may feel that you can barely swallow or that there is a tightness in the throat, or that you have to really force yourself to swallow. Sometimes this feeling can lead you to think that you may suffocate or get something stuck in your throat.

For no apparent reason you break into hot or cold sweats. You may also experience hot flashes or excessive sweating for no reason. Nausea or abdominal stressYou may feel bloated or gaseous, or that there is a lump in your stomach. Sometimes you may feel like you have butterflies in your stomach or that your stomach is tight. Some people refer to it as a ‘heavy’ stomach. Others experience over acidity or persistent nausea. Some may even vomit as a result. Some describe it as a ‘warm’ feeling in the gut. The thought of eating makes you nauseousSometimes even the thought of eating something will turn your stomach or make you nauseous.

Lack of appetite or taste
Sometimes you just don’t feel like eating, or the thought of food is unappealing. Or, that even though you are eating, the food has no taste or is unsatisfying.

A ‘tinny’, ‘metallic’ or ‘ammonia’ smell or taste
You have a persistent ‘tinny’, ‘metallic’ or ‘ammonia’ smell in your nose, or you taste it often and it’s not from your food or environment. Often it’s just there, but you can’t figure out why. It may come and go, or persist for some time.

Feeling of unreality, or feeling disconnected from the real world, dreamlike
You feel like you are not a part of what is going on, or that you feel like you are in a dream state or ‘out of touch with things’. Also, things around you may seem like they are shimmering, foggy, hazy or too bright.

Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
You feel pins and needles in your hands and feet, or other parts of your body. Sometimes you get a feeling like a particular area of your body is numb or frozen. Other times you may feel a burning sensation in your arms, legs or face.

The sensation of burning skin
You have a burning skin sensation like you have a bad sun burn, but there are no apparent burn marks. The burning sensations move around the body randomly and can persist for long periods of time. Often, these burning sensations are magnified by stressful situations or fear-producing thoughts.

Chest pain or discomfort
You may experience a tightness or pressure in the chest. Sometimes you may feel shooting pains, or muscle twitches, or just an uneasiness or fullness in the chest area which causes you concern. Some think they may be having a heart attack.

Fear of losing control
In a crowd or group, you may feel that you will do something to make you feel embarrassed like passing out, vomiting, gagging, stumbling and so on. You may feel that you might not be able to control your body or what you’ll say. You may become very self-conscious among people. Urgency to urinateYou have an urgent need to go to the washroom, even though you may have just gone. And, when you do go, there are very little results.

Frequent urination
You have to go to the bathroom more often than normal, even though you may have just gone a little while ago.

Fear of going crazy
You suddenly become afraid that you might lose your mind or that you are not able to think. You may also feel that you are not able to remember things as easily as you once did. Sometimes you become afraid of having a nervous breakdown. You also may have periods of ‘crazy’ thoughts that frighten you, or that thoughts ‘just pop up’ that are bothersome by the content.

Fear of dying
You fear that what you have is terminal and nobody knows. You may also fear that the chest pains are a deadly heart attack or that the shooting pains in your head are the result of a tumor or aneurysm. You feel that any one of the symptoms you experience are life threatening. You feel an intense fear when you think of dying, or you may think of it more often than normal, or can’t get it out of your mind.

A feeling of impending doom
You feel as though something extremely bad is going to happen but you are not sure what. You may also feel as though your world is coming to an end.

Chronic Fatigue
You become extremely exhausted, burnt out or have no energy. You may feel tired all of the time and find even small tasks to be unusually tiring. You have no stamina and feel that you could sleep all day and then wake up still tired.

Eye tricks
You may see stars or movements out of the corner of your eyes that don’t exist. You may also see flashing lights in your eyes or your vision may seem almost kaleidoscope-like. Sometimes you may feel that there is a dark object or something just on the outside edge of your vision, or that your vision is narrowing.

Dry mouth
You find it hard to swallow because of a lack of saliva. Your tongue feels dry or sticky.

Excess of energy
You feel so excited that you could do everything incredibly fast and then look for other things to do. You may also feel like you have to run or do something right now just to burn off the energy. Sometimes you can’t sleep because your mind or body is going a million miles an hour. You feel as if you have energy to burn, and then some. You feel always ‘pumped’. You also may feel as if you can’t sit still or relax.

You feel you can’t relax
You have so much to do, or you have so much nervous energy that you can’t relax. Even slowing down for a moment is difficult. When you want to relax and rest, you can’t sit still, or have a million thoughts going on that make it hard to relax.

You often feel you are carrying the world on your shoulders
You often feel that you are responsible for far too many things, and that if you stopped, nothing would get done. Often you feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders and no way to get rid of it.

A particular joint in your body feels unusually stiff and sore, or hard to move. It may even feel arthritic. Sometimes you feel you may be ‘seizing up’.

Unusually afraid of normal things
You may become afraid of something that you had normally thought was not fearful. It may be a sudden fear of being alone, a fear of inanimate objects moving or talking, or an unsubstantiated fear for your safety to name a few (the fear that you may hurt someone or yourself when using a household knife is common–for example, you fear that you may uncontrollably stab a child, mate or yourself when using a kitchen knife).

You feel you are now uncharacteristically down or sad for no apparent reason. You may feel like crying all of the time, and yet not be sure why. Sometimes you may feel that things don’t seem to be going your way even when they are. Or, you may feel that you don’t love someone anymore, even when there is no explainable reason to feel that way. You may also feel that nothing is going your way and that there’s no pleasure, or point in living. You may also feel like just giving up.

Dramatic mood swings
You are extremely happy one day and, for no apparent reason, become extremely sad or down the next. One minute you are optimistic and the next you are depressed. Simple discussions may seem too difficult to handle.

Insomnia, or waking up ill in the middle of the night
You may feel fine and be able to quickly fall asleep but then wake up a short time later. Once up, you can’t easily fall back to sleep because your mind is racing or you are too ill. Or, you may have a hard time initially falling asleep and when you do, you wake often and again have a hard time going back to sleep. You may also wake in a panic attack.

Jolting awake
Just as you are dozing off to sleep, you feel like you hear a lot bang, buzz or shot, and that jolts you fully awake. Or, as you are dozing off, you feel like you are falling and that frightens you fully awake. Or, you are just dozing off and your body radically twitches awake.

Bad or crazy dreams
You may wake up in a panic and recall the dream you just had as being bizarre and totally crazy. This usually has you spending some time trying to figure out what caused the bad dream and what the bad dream is trying to tell you.

Uncontrollable muscle twitching
For no apparent reason, a particular muscle will begin to twitch. This twitching will continue for an unusual amount of time before it stops of its own accord. Sometimes it twitches so long it becomes sore, and may continue on and off for days.

Emotions feel wrong
For some reason, your emotions don’t feel right. For example, someone whom you care deeply about for some reason you now get a weird feeling from. You can’t put your finger on it, and you know it shouldn’t be that way, but it just is. Or another example maybe, doing something you really like and for no reason, all of a sudden doesn’t feel good and you don’t know why.

Blurred vision
It seems your vision is blurry or out of focus, and it’s more apparent now than before.

Eyes are sensitive to light
There are times when your eyes seem more sensitive to light than at others, even to a point of regular light being too bright so that you have to wear sunglasses or squint.

Dry, watery or itchy eyes
You feel as though your eyes are either always dry, constantly watering or itchy. And often, your eyes are red or ‘glossy’ looking. Even a good night’s rest doesn’t help.

Always being on edge or ‘grouchy’
Sometimes your patience seems like it is totally gone and little things that won’t normally be a concern now become really irritating and frustrating. Your patience seems non-existent. Every little thing sets you off, even normal family sounds become almost too much to handle, and you have a hard time controlling your temper.

Have difficulty concentrating
Normal tasks seem hard to focus on, or that your concentration is a lot shorter now than before. You may also start something, and uncharacteristically forget what you were doing soon after. You may also have difficulty remembering where you placed things, who you just called, or what you were looking for or thinking about.

Startle easily
You feel you startle more easily now than before. Even small sounds or common sounds startle you, and almost to the point of panic. Or, an event may frighten you, but more so than the event calls for. You may seem very over-reactionary or unusually ‘jumpy’.

Constant craving for sugar or sweets
For some reason you have an increased and ongoing craving for sugar, sweets or chocolate. Although you may have a ‘sweet tooth’, these craving usually go unsatisfied, while even more leaves you with the same result.

Repetitive thinking or incessant ‘mind chatter’
Your mind is racing all the time, and it never stops its chatter. Even when you are trying to relax your mind is going a million miles and hour. Sometimes songs will pop up that you can’t get out or your mind, and you sing them all day long, and even for days on end.

Obsession about sensations or getting better
This a big one. A thought process develops where the person is constantly trying to figure this illness out, or is constantly checking their body for twinges, aches or pains, and odd sensations. They also begin checking (often referred to as ‘testing’) their mental thoughts to see if there is a hint of physical or mental illness somewhere. As a person begins to get better, this process seems more entrenched and becomes more apparent. Also, you may find yourself doing this at every leisure moment, then getting into a mental battle with yourself to try and stop doing it. It also may seem that your mind is always ‘going’, and you can’t seem to stop yourself from thinking, analyzing and problem solving about getting better.

You feel like you are under pressure all the time
You may feel like you just can’t get any breaks, or that you are under pressure all the time, with no way to relieve it. You may also feel that you can’t stop. Everything’s success depends upon you.

Constant feeling of being overwhelmed
This is a close cousin to the point previous, but you feel so under pressure that you feel overwhelmed by everything, and that there is no way out. This feeling is persistent and bothersome. Even just the thought of it causes fear and anxiety to overwhelm you.

Always feeling angry and lack of patience
Every little thing sets you off. While you used to be calm and collected, you now find yourself angry at almost everything, and it’s been a long time since you felt otherwise. When it comes to managing tasks, you find you have very little patience, and even simple matters make you angry and impatient.

Feel like crying all the time, often for no apparent reason
Once strong and resilient, able to handle anything, now you find yourself breaking down into tears for little or no reason. You may also suddenly feel the urge to cry, and you are not sure why, but you feel sad.

Unusually frightening thoughts or feelings
You may feel frightened or have fearful feelings about almost everything. Even small challenges well up fear in you and seem difficult or destined to doom or failure.

Sore or tight scalp or back of the neck
Your scalp feels sore, has shooting pains, or that the back of your neck and head are very tense.

Other symptoms are described as:
Being like a hypercondriac, muscle twinges, worry all the time, tingles, gagging, tightness in the throat, tightness in the chest, tongue twitches, feel like passing out, shaky, vomiting, breath lump, heart beat problems, head tingles, itchy tingling in arms and legs, and so many more.

In addition to these symptoms, you may also find yourself worrying compulsively about:• Having a heart attack• Having a serious undetected illness• Dying prematurely• Going insane or loosing your mind• Harming yourself or someone you love uncontrollably• Being embarrassed or making a fool out or yourself• Losing control• Fainting in public• Not breathing properly• Choking or suffocating• Being alone

Heh… I know you meant well by posting this, but reading even a third of this list made me feel depressed (and I did read it all). :frowning:

— Begin quote from “Tranquillity”

Heh… I know you meant well by posting this, but reading even a third of this list made me feel depressed (and I did read it all). :frowning:

— End quote

I am so sorry I in no way meant it to be a negative , someone gave it to me who post on a board about menopause which shows how so many of those symptoms can be over lapping. And the fact that an AD can help sometimes when the symptoms are similar in hopes that some will not discount the use of those medications.

— Begin quote from “Timeless”

— Begin quote from “Tranquillity”

Heh… I know you meant well by posting this, but reading even a third of this list made me feel depressed (and I did read it all). :frowning:

— End quote

I am so sorry I in no way meant it to be a negative , someone gave it to me who post on a board about menopause which shows how so many of those symptoms can be over lapping. And the fact that an AD can help sometimes when the symptoms are similar in hopes that some will not discount the use of those medications.

— End quote

Don’t worry about it :slight_smile: As I said, I know you meant only well!

Well that’s me!!! How do you stop this vicious circle? I’m so sensitive to meds… :frowning:

Me too! I’m glad you posted it; reminds me to calm down I AM the one who is making it worse than it has to be.

We are our own worst enemies sometimes. :frowning:

I have panic disorder and have all of those symptoms.
Biofeedback and relaxation therapy work.
If you can’t get out to go to therapy, there are books on it to teach you how to do it.
It helps you calm and relax your body and put yourself in a better less anxious frame of mind.
I’ve had panic disorder my whole life. I remember being as young as five years old with panic attacks. And I was pretty skeptical that any of this could help. But I tried it and it did.
Hopefully that info can help someone else. :slight_smile:

Ok so all of these symptoms can be symptoms of MAV also. Maybe I have anxiety and not MAV then? How can one tell?

A neurologist should be able to diagnose you. I don’t think anxiety attacks cause the same pattern of symptoms as migraine. I know mine is migraine (I can tell the attacks from the panic attacks) because I get sensitivity to light and sound, numbness, visual problems, ear symptoms, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and then I get a LOT of severe one sided head pain. With my panic attacks, I feel anxious, scared, panicked, my heart races, then I get lightheaded and nauseated etc. To me, they are very different attacks.

Thanks Shelly, I’ve been to two neurologists, an ENT, my Gp, an infectious disease doctor, a sports medicine doc (neck and jaw) and an endocrinologist (hyperthyroid). They all can find nothing wrong except the endo and he says my thyroid can cause anxiety so I am starting to think I have anxiety now. I’m really kinda relieved in a way becasue at least I know I’m not really sick although I feel like walking death! lol I’m just not sure how to procede from here since I am med sensitive. I took nortriptyline and it made all my symptoms worse so now I feel a little defeated and afraid of any meds. :frowning:

I understand Sharon. I’m very med sensitive too. I’m on a beta blocker but that’s for a heart problem and my doctor said without it, my head would probably be even worse. My neurologist said baby doses of Periactin and sometimes small (100 mg a day) of Neurontin can help some. I’m terrified to try the Neurontin. The Periactin didn’t really work for me but I still have to try it again. I have taken Meclizine for dizziness before (when the dizziness and vertigo is that bad, that is when I’ll tell the ER to give me whatever they want just make it stop) and my doctor said the Periactin is also an antihistamine. They use it for children for allergies and headaches. My daughter started on it at age 8 and she’s fine on it and it helps her migraines immensely!

One thing I do know regarding the meds is that your symptoms may get worse for about 6 weeks, peak, and then improve after that. If you can tolerate it at all, it’s suggested to stay on each one for 8 weeks to see if it’ll help.

I’ve also been through all the doctors, all the tests, all saying you’re fine, you’re fine and it took a lot of doctors to find one that understands my attacks.

I recommend 2 books that might help explain things and maybe show if yours is caused by migraines. The first is called “The Migraine Brain” by Carolyn Bernstein. She’s actually my doctor in Boston. The second is called “Heal your Headache”. There might be some information in there that might help you.

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“Heal Your Headache” “The Migraine Brain”
More recommended books here

Excellent list - thanks for posting. I’ve had most of these at one time or another.