Need advice on anxiety and angina

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I have been on this forum for a little while. I have a new problem that is concerning me. I have severe anxiety and angina. it has caused agoraphobia I only feel safe in my room. I know I need exercise but I am afraid to go out walking. nothing seems to convince me to leave the house. .does anybody have any advice to give me as I am afraid of twinges in my chest and the weird feelings that I get with angina.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Generally agoraphobia runs hand in hand with panic / anxiety  disorders. I use to suffer it myself, actually I still do suffer agoraphobia, not so much the panic / anxiety now. What really helped me with my agoraphobia was a benzodiazepine, this particular one is called Kalma ( Alprazolam ) otherwise known as Xanax elsewhere, highly addictive if not taken as directed, withdrawals are terrible if not weaned off them properly, this is a last resort treatment her where I am, no other treatment worked for me so the last resort was used and helped me out tremendously.

    Have you had a heart attack ? The reason I ask is because some heart attack patients develop agoraphobia, it's a normal response after an event, it heightened  my agoraphobia, I wouldn't go anywhere even if someone was with me. Turns out that the ones that do actually get it after a heart event is that we are frightened of having another heart attack.

    The only advice I can offer is....practice....practice...practice going out with someone with you at first, the moment you start to feel weird stop take a seat if one is near, slow deep breaths, look at your surroundings, think positively, when the panic is over, go a little bit further and then turn around and go home , you are going to feel absolutely buggered when you do this but that is normal, repeat this everyday and each week or fortnight increase the distance and the length of time sitting out in open / public spaces. If you get an angina attack while you are out just use your GTN spray or tablet under the tongue, but rest and when the attack has disappeared head straight back home and continue on with your angina management plan. If you have suffered anxiety for a long time, you will know the difference between anxious , horrible feelings and angina . It has been said on here before (in another forum ) and I concur with the persons comment, Anxiety is uncomfortable but never painful.

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  • Posted

    Hi Diana

    I think I may have a simular problem and was about to go see my gp for help. I think anxiety is definitely playing a part in me not going out on my own. I feel nervous about needing help or a place to just sit and rest. It seems that as my pulse gets higher the more anxious I feel and it does seem to trigger twinges in my chest. I was meant to return to work but my anxiety and being out and about got the better of me. But knowing that other people with simular issues do cope, possibly with additional medication, at least offers hope.

    All the best of luck to you!

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    • Posted

      Hi gracey,

      Can I try to explain something, I sometimes gabble on and miss the point smile but I will give it a shot.

      Now as I said in my last comment about anxiety being uncomfortable but never painful. Think back to your anxious moment and how your chest felt... did it feel tight, a smothering feeling even to the extent of having troubles swallowing, that tight feeling is your chest wall muscles tightening up and it feels extremely uncomfortable to the extent it is telling your brain mething serious is happening indeed it is but it's only anxiety.

      Now go back and think about your last angina attack, your chest would of felt really heavy / squeezing with moderate to severe pain and short of breath, comparing the shortness of breath to your angina against your anxiety, I wouldn't mind betting the shortness of breath feeling with the anxiety is over breathing...hyperventilating compared to angina shortness of breath there's no hyperventilating ocurring. the para sympathetic and sympathetic nervous system control everything, I should automatically know this but I have forgotten, one of these nervous systems regulates our organs and the other regulates how we think, move our body, limbs etc etc, as you probably know it is a complex set up. I'm actually doing an experiment now, I'm trying to induce a panic attack so that I can explain it better but I just can't induce one, Iv'e automatically learnt how to deal with them with the exception of the agoraphobia. The panic will give you that feeling of not being able to get any air in but in reality does it hurt ? It scares us therefore it spirals us further into a panic because it's a natural response, sure there's an element of anxiety to an angina attack there's no denying that, but the pain from the angina attack usually will divert your attention from the anxiousness because we are concerned about the pain and the possibility of having a heart attack... does this make sense ? I do realise people feel different symptoms during their attacks some say they feel a sharp pain in their arm(s) angina as a rule of thumb doesn't give off sharp pains, palpitations are particularly scary and that plays on that one particular nervous system I was talking about earlier, everyone suffers from palpitations it's just that the anxious person is more sensitized than someone that doesn't have panic / anxiety yet they often feel their palpitations. There's lots more to compare but I have yakked enough as it is now and I hope I have made sense to everyone, I suffered panic /anxiety for 26 years and it wasn't until 15 years later that I knew my chest pain wasn't panic related because you just get to know, my chest discomfort went from just that, discomfort , no pain, just a smothering feeling with palpitations and muscle tightness, when I actually got a "different " kind of chest discomfort.... (pain- moderate ) it was not relieved by conventional panic attack management plans or medication.

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    • Posted

      Hi... Very well explained! I suppose my concern is that my BP and pulse are not at all controlled. There is very little I can do now without one or the other being too high. So if I then also feel anxious this inturn makes me become very unwell and either my BP or pulse rise. But certainly angina pain is different and often afterwards I have attended a&e. With the anxiety typed pain it subsides and does feel different.

      The gp's and the Cardiologist I have seen have not given me a breakdown of what is actually happening within my body, as you have. Making sense of my health when health professionals seem so baffled, has been difficult. I have got more understanding from this site, and would have probably been a total wreck without the advice and support of people on here.

      Thanks for your help!

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