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Hi, i started having anxiety attacks about 6mths ago, for the first 3 months happening every day & quite horrible attacks to which a few times had to go to A&E. Since then been diagnosed with AF so the propanolol (could take upto 3 times per day)i was on has been changed to Bisoprolol 20mg once a day.

?Admittedly my attacks are not as severe or as frequent as they use to be, but they seem to be coming at times i wouldnt as expected. Mainly driving on roads or areas im not use to. Ive been driving for over 20 yrs, usually very confident driver,but theres been a few situations when ive had to pull over & do my breathing exercises as felt so bad thought i was going to pass out. This is very unlike me, & for my driving to bring these on im just confused especially as ive always enjoyed driving & usually find it relaxing. I mentioned this to my gp, he said give it few more weeks & if still the same he will take me off Bisoprolol & go back to the propoanolol. But he made me aware the propanolol is more for anxiety & not AF as the Bisoprolol i currently take is. I feel confident with my current medication for my AF & the thought of possibly coming off this i dont feel comfortable with, but i know i need my anxiety to be controlled better,any advice please? Thankyou.

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21 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm on just 2.5mg of bisoprolol and have had to give up driving all together because I knew I shouldn't be driving feeling the way I didn.   20mg sounds like a very big dose to me and I dread to think how I would be on it however I accept we are all different.    It strikes me that you mention your anxiety predating your AF so I would seek help for what ever is causing your anxiety although I am not clear if your anxiety is conscious or unconscious.   I don't get outwardly anxious but my body behaves in just the same way.  I find EFT a very good technique for getting me through the day.   it's very simple to use technique you can view on you tube or buy a book or get professional help for it.    Lots of what you say is what happened to me  - I don't recognise the person I was now!    Good luck but it sounds like some self help re anxiety and maybe tweaking of meds might help you. 

    • Posted

      Hi kate, sorry been one of those days... im not on 20mg Bisolprolol my sincerest apologies,im on 2.5mg i had my other medication in mind.

      ?Yes i need to look into why i have the anxiety i do,i am getting better its just the driving thing that seems to get to me each time. To have the confidence i use to have spurs me on & gives me the motivation its just that theres something in me fighting it & seems to have the advantage at times, thankyou for getting in touch ill check youtube now about EFT, thankyou.

  • Posted

    I had to give up driving lessons because of the anxiety. i guess I'll never get to be a driver. If you CAN drive and you normally enjoy it and find it relaxing, take heart in that. It's something I'll never be allowed to do and I'm totally in awe of you. 

    • Posted

      Hi, Very good point & thankyou when you put it like that its very true.

      ?Im sorry to hear you had to give up on your lessons,thankyou for your response.


  • Posted

    Hi Dean - can you elaborate a bit more on your AF history please? How long have you had AF and how many episodes have you had?Also is your AF "paroxysmal" ie it reverts to NSR (nomal sinus rhythm) itself -or does it need intervention to get back to NSR ?

    Do you take any "pill in pocket" to retore to NSR if you go into AF or maybe are you in AF all the time- I doubt that you are or you would be on an anti coagulant  - also are you aware when you go into AF? Some people are in AF part fo the time or indeed all the time but are unaware they are because they have no symptoms - the symptoms people get in AF (if any) vary but might include awareness of palpitations or shortness of breath - worry about being in AF - or of an attack coming on - can often of itself result in anxiety and panic attacks -over the years I have taken propanolol and currenlty take bisoprolol for AF - in fact am currenlty in my first ever "persistent" AF episode ie it has not reverted to NSR itself  and so  am currently awaiting a date for a cardioversion to hopefully restore to NSR - beta blockers such as propanolol or bisoprolol control and slow the rate  of the heart- as far as I am are they are normally prescribed for heart related or blood pressure issues though as a by product they can also sometimes reduce anxiety in that it slows the heart and metabolism down generally - do you think your anxiety is related to worries about your AF?- if so you will not be the first to feel that way as it is very common! AS to the atatcks while driving I know from my own expereince that anxiety attacks can often be self  fulfilling prophesies ie you have one in one situation and when you are in that situation again it can subconscioulsy  bring on the same symptoms - rest assured you are not alone in feeling as you do 

    If anxiety rather than AF is the primary issue you may need to address this separately(maybe CBT, counselling,drug treatment etc |) though the nature of AF is that it often induces anxiety 

    Best wishes 


    • Posted

      Dean 0612 CBT is good to tell you why you re-act the way you do and could be very useful however you are still left with the feelings so EFT is good to deal with the feeling.      Phew to the fact its 2.5mg and not 20mg!! 
    • Posted

      Are we talking about Emotional Freedom Techniques? Becausenobody is clarifying. 

    • Posted

      It keeps me sane for sure.   I do it myself and I also do it with someone professional every six weeks.  It helps me cope with this AF nonsense anyway.   
    • Posted

      Yes, I do EFT on myself and like you it keeps me sane wink  I ended up in A&E a couple of weeks ago with AFib.  Not had an attack for quite some time that is until I ate some Maltesers.  It was the sugar and caffeine contained in the Maltesers that triggered the AFib off so, musn't eat those now sad

    • Posted

      Now that is bad news  - who doesn't like a Malteser.   I am lucky when I am in AF I am perfectly calm and not anxious   - its probably the relief from the build up in my system to when it goes 'ping'   - some sort of release in a way!     What fun we all have.      

    • Posted

      Hi peter, ive had anxiety symptoms for about 6mths within this i experienced palpitations/missed beats. But this was put down to anxiety. Then after a bad episode of chest pain one day i was took into A&E who kept me in over night, blood tests/ECG's/chest xray all came back fine & was informed the pain was due to my ongoing stomach issues. I had a dubotimine stress test few weeks later,that picked up a short spell of palpitations.

      ?Approx. 5 wks after this my gp recieved my results & informed me of my AF,he explained it was quite mild but had to be treated as any other AF.

      ?I take 2.5mg bisoprolol in the morning & 20mg Rivaroxaban in the evening.  Throughout the day i feel almost nothing at all, maybe a missed beat after eating but thats usually it, i feel more of my AF symptoms later on in the evening after my evening meal where i experience missed beats & occasssionally short term palpitaions, but these either have gone by the time i go to bed or have gone when i wake up.

      ?I beleive my anxiety was made worse at the beginning due to my AF as i wasnt on blood thinners for 2 weeks due to no available appointment, so  if im being honest maybe scared that something may happen within this time, but since being on Rivaroxaban i feel that a big risk has been reduced so now i feel more confident with my AF but find it strange that my anxiety seems to of took a different turn. If im being totally honest i do think that perhaps my anxiety is almost self inflicted if this is possible at times? As i have found myself thinking of my anxiety then over thinking for the worse which in turns brings an attack on,or if i think i havent had one for a while this can also bring an attack on. With my driving, i had to go to an emergency dental practice due to a cracked tooth, i had to motorway drive which i hadnt done for sometime & had a terrible panic attack,since then at times when im drivingi think of that moment & how helpless i felt,which again brings on attack, reading about the cbt this sounds like something i may need,thankyou  for taking the time to reply to me.

    • Posted

      Dean - thanks - the doctor has put you on Rivoroxaban which is an anti coagulant I would assume to protect you from an increased stroke risk if you are in AF- I am similarly in "persistent" AF at the moment and on a similar  drug Eliquis / apixaban which is required before I have the cardioversion - hopefully in the next few weeks - from what you say you dont seem to have many physical symptoms as a result of being in AF - which I assume you are now? - as you are largely asymptomatic do you or the doctor have any idea how long you have been in AF and is he happy to leave you in AF as sometimes they will do if somone has no symptoms - unfortunately I do so i want a cardioversion and to get back into NSR - of course leaving aside all the above the anxiety is one of the big issues with AF - I had a terrible few weeks for the first few weeks of this epsiode which started 9 weeks ago  - all sorts of panics and ended up in A and E several times - a lot of this is subconsciously how you perceive and proicess  what AF is and hat it signifies etc - everytbign you describe is perfectly "normal" and how many people including me would respond in your situation - AF is itself often  linked to stress/ anxiety / stomach issues and the vagal nerve - when you say your anxiety is "self inflicted" that may be true up to a point but so was / is mine and others in the same boat - the thing is not to beat yourself up about it becasue you or me cannot help it and also the more you "fight" it the worse it gets - you know that your stroke risk is now managed on the Rivaroxaban and your other symptoms - anxiety apart seem quite restricted - sounds like your underlying anxiety whether due to the AF or other factors or more likely a combination are at elevated levels and you may wish to talk to your doctor about how those can be managed in the short and medium term -maybe further medication/ counselling/ CBT/ meditation etc  I know I did and now feel better as a result - best wishes 

    • Posted

      Hi kate, been doing some homework about these & i think they could certainly help,thankyou for the info.

    • Posted

      Hi peter, not really sure how long ive had AF, i beleive if anything it may of started same time as the anxiety but not at all sure. My gp has said he is quite happy to leave me be, he said aslong as the medication is working then to carry on with life as normal. As much as i should take great confidence in this response i just cant help but feel uncertain about this approach. he said i would be sent by the gp perhaps once a year just to see how things are going, or if i feel any difference then to book an appointment to see my gp & thats about it. I have got to have check ups every 3mths for my Rivaroxaban but apart from this thats it,is that normal?

      ?Looking on the internet about EFT/CBT i think this is a good thing to do so im going to push ahead with this as i dont want to be feeling how i do,Thankyou for your help.

    • Posted

      Hi Dean - just to be sure is your GP saying you have been in "persistent" AF for a long period- and still are- ie it is definitely AF and not some other heart rhythm issue-  or  recurrent epidodes of paroxysmal AF - ie intermittent ones which come and go out of normal sinus rhythm  - if the answer to the above is yes it is persistent and long standing AF and if you are still concerned maybe you could ask him why he thinks there are no risks in investigating this further or referral to cardiology -- he may well say the main risk with AF is for stroke and he thinks you are suitably protected against this with the Rivaroroxaban - I sense you may be reasonably youung - at least under 60-  and as such and if you have no other underlying heart or other risk conditions the GP may feel that your "risks" are low - also becasue - unlike me - you dont have any symptoms the AF does not affect your life so you wont necessarily "feel" any different or better in NSR - apart of course from the anxiety!! There are differing views on the risks or otherwise of someone staying in AF long term - and sounds like in your case if you are in persistent AF we dont know for how long -but some think there are risks of the heart remodelling in the longer term - you can research  this on line and there is info on this and other  forums - if it is worrying you think it is an idea to prepare a list of questions for your GP and then see what you think dependent on what his replies are 

      Good luck also with the anxiety generally and as you say CBT/ EFT or indeed lots of other techniques including meditation or journalling of your feelings etc can be useful 

      All the best 

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