Treating the anxiety


Been a while since I posted. Figured I’d give an update and also ask a question.

I’ve been going through the process of getting a second opinion on my MAV diagnosis. In some ways the symptoms fit, but I never felt like I’d exhausted all of the other possibilities. I’ve switched primary care doctors, and the one that I’m seeing now has an osteopathic background and is very much into helping me find answers. His opinion is that most of my symptoms are the results of stress and anxiety, which makes sense to me as all of this started with a panic attack back in 2010. His initial diagnosis is GAD, but he said that he is open to other ideas and isn’t going to write it all off to GAD just yet. That being said he would like to treat this as if it is GAD, and see what symptom improvements can be had.

So - now to the question. I know most of us are on some form of anti-depressant (tri-cyclic, SSRI, benzo, etc…), so in a way we have already been treated for anxiety. That being said, I’m curious if anyone has gone through other anxiety related treatments: counseling, awareness therapy, breathing exercises, etc… I’m just beginning some of these treatments. I’ve read that some others have been diagnoses with GAD as part of their search for an answer, anyone gone through GAD treatments, besides meds? Anything help?

They way I’m approaching this is as if I do have GAD, and that that is the reason for my symptoms. I want to give this a true chance to work, and if things get better, great. If not, then that is one more thing ruled out, and I can go back to my primary and focus on other possibilities, including seeing a neuro for a consult on the MAV diagnosis and possibly a brain MRI.

Crossing my fingers.

Migraine and anxiety share similar mechanisms in the brain. In my case, I have no personal or family history of migraine, but I have a history of anxiety. So I honestly cannot say whether I have MAV, anxiety, or a combination of both (which is probably the case). Like you, I also had a huge panic attack the day that my symptoms started, so I know that anxiety plays a part in my symptoms too.

I have a thread that has some information you may be interested in, here is the link:

Hi slightcrazed,

I was diagnosed with GAD long, long before I ever had MAV. I definitely think they’re connected, but the kinds of dizziness I experienced from GAD alone were much different from what MAV has been like for me. For one, dizziness was never unrelenting and it was certainly not one of the prominent symptoms. Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes faint-like dizziness if I was feeling particularly panicky were most common (and still happen in anxiety-provoking situations, so I’m sure there’s a difference).

That said, I know that when my anxiety is worse, my MAV dizziness is also worse. I personally don’t believe that GAD alone would present as chronic dizziness, but stranger things have happened. Also, to answer your question, I have been in (and continue to go to) counseling for my anxiety. It helps some, but GAD is a lifelong condition and I’ve gone through many ups and downs with it. Developing MAV took me from a long, manageable period with my anxiety to one of extended, daily anxiety. It didn’t help that I was taken off the antidepressant I was on (which was helping to manage the GAD) when I was diagnosed with MAV, and I haven’t been able to tolerate any others since. Now I just take a very small daily dose of klonopin for both conditions, which again, helps me some but doesn’t relieve the GAD entirely. Pursuing treatment for GAD certainly won’t hurt anything and may be part of the problem if not all, so I encourage you to do so (and let me know if you find some solace so I can go after it too!)


Oddly enough, my chronic dizziness has been much less chronic lately… I do have days where it flares, and I have the jaw pain, neck pain, brain fog, etc… Associated with MAV. The anxiety is one of my main complaints, and i’m homping that kicking some of the anxiety will help in general and improve if not Eliminate all of the other symptoms. Time will tell.

I have had panic disorder with agoraphobia for over 30 years (done psychotherapy, CBT, etc) and I had a horrific panic attack during my initial dizzy spell. I believe the anxiety was the result of the antecedent dizziness and not the other way around. The MAV makes me feel out of control and then the anxiety worsens which then makes the MAV worse. My family history has both migraine and anxiety in it. I was taking 3 different meds for the panic disorder and still had the MAV. The benzo does help when in the throws of either/both though. Hopefully you will be able to feel better on all fronts.

Well, I did a course in ‘mindfulness’ that was offered by the medical group to which I belong (North Shore Medical Group in Chicago). They gave me a bunch of group sessions and a few individual sessions. I really liked the teacher (he was a therapist) and that is why I went back to him for some individual sessions. He was really thoughtful and not pushy. Overall, I think it gave me some useful techniques to stop the negative chain of thinking (“I am going to fall over, then I will be unable to get up, then they will call an ambulance, then they will contact my family, then my kids will see me in a hospital bed and get freaked out, then my managers will think I am weak and give my work to other staff members, then I will get paid less, then . . . .”).

The problem with these approaches is that they are not really strong enough to combat the pure anxiety of a vertigo attack. When you cannot stand straight, and your heart is pounding, and you are thinking, “This is not good, not good at all, I need help now” then it is hard to focus on your breathing and tell yourself that it all doesn’t matter in the end.

Having said that, I think that the mindfulness and CBT are useful for those periods between attacks, so I was glad that I did it.