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Greg - I'm a 35 year old female, 5 5, 120 lbs. I've had panic/anxiety disorder for 17 years. I also was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2002. When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism my cholesterol and tryglicerides went through the roof even though I'm extremely healthy and exercise 5 days out of every week.

My panic/anxiety began in 1990 when I had my first skipped heartbeat. It threw me into a panic attack and I just knew I was dying of something heart related. I was living at home at the time so my parents took me to a cardiologist and he put me on a halter monitor. (that's like a portable 24 hr. EKG) He then diagnosed me with MVP.

After learning that I had MVP and knowing that it was harmless...I still had problems with panic attacks. I didn't believe my doctor and ended up getting so many 2nd opinions that it was a waste of my time.

When my heart would flutter....both of my arms would go completely numb and my fingers would tingle. My chest felt tight and I always felt like I was gasping for air. I would also sometimes feel as if I were going to faint.
I'll be honest, I have no idea if your thyroid has anything to do with your panic attacks because I don't know what kind of thyroid disorder you have. When I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism..my panic/anxiety was under control so I never felt anything but the normal symptoms of hypothyroidism; fatigue, losing my train of thought, forgetfullness, etc. However if you have hyperthyroidism....I could see where that might effect your panic and anxiety.

If I were you....I would make an appointment with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists specialize in all types of chemical imbalances in the brain and can prescribe the correct medication that works for you. If you feel that you need to "talk" with someone in addition to meds...there are plenty of psychologists who specialize in people who have panic/anxiety disorders or problems.

Psychiatrists are sometimes hard to get into and you may have to wait a few months before there is an opening. So, I would go ahead and make the appointment but then also make an appointment with your regular doctor and tell him/her what you are experiencing and that you need something for panic attacks until you can get into see the psychiatrist.

I, personally, am prescribed Celexa and Klonopin for my panic disorder...I've been on this combination of meds for 9 years and have been absolutely panic-free. I was very fortunate because they were able to get my meds "right" the first time but sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what meds are right for you. If you are okay with taking meds for your panic disorder...please don't give up if they don't get your meds right the first or second time....the doc [U]will [/U]find something that works for you.....sometimes people understandably get so frustrated with trying to find the right meds that they give up altogether and are miserable because they still live with panic attacks.

If you are really worried about your heart...I would ask your cardiologist if he/she would do an echocardiogram. An ECHO is like an ultrasound of one's heart and the doctor can usually tell for certain exactly what the problem is. I have very mild MVP but my doc was able to pick it up on the ECHO.

I wish you only the best of luck. If you have anymore questions that I can help you with them...I do check the boards very regularly.

Blessings,
Cara
Hi Vickie -

My psychiatrist once told me that those who have panic/anxiety disorder (which, I believe he said is a chemical imbalance in the brain) have it from birth. People who have panic/anxiety can go through their childhood, teen years, etc....and then something very stressful that happens to that person triggers the first panic attack. For instance, my first panic attack was triggered by a skipped heartbeat that I felt out of nowhere when I was 18. On the other hand, I have a brother who is 18 years older than I am and he didn't have any problems with panic/anxiety until he felt a tightness in his chest at the age of 50.
So, what I'm trying to say is that those of us who have anxiety/panic disorder are born with this chemical imbalance (or maybe chemicals change as we get older...I'm not quite certain) and then something stressful or very scary happens to us and then our bodies react with panic. Once you have that first panic attack you become a nervous wreck because you wait anticipating the next attack.
I, too, have an under active thryoid. I take .125 mg. of Levoxyl every day. When I first started having problems with my thyroid...it took me a couple of years to start feeling "normal" again. My thryoid disorder didn't effect my anxiety but, just like you, I had crying spells, depression, I was very easily distracted, when I would talk I'd forget what I was saying mid-sentence, I was fatigued, I gained 60 lbs....I really thought that I was losing my mind!! It's been 4 years since I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid and I bet it was 2-3 years before I felt somewhat normal again. Don't let my experience scare you...I know people who are given the correct dosage of medication for their thyroid problem and come out of it very quickly.
This is only a suggestion but have you ever thought about going to a psychiatrist concerning your panic/anxiety problems?? I tried working with my Internist to get a handle on my anxiety for years but I didn't get true relief until I went to a psychiatrist.
Vickie, I really hope you find peace very soon!

Blessings,
Cara





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