Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Anxiety Disorder

  1. Oct 29, 2005 #1
    I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I noticed someone else posted a topic on dyslexia in here. I'm kind of a newb here and mostly lurk the relativity, and brain teasers forums, so I apologize if this is the wrong place. Anyways, I've been having problems with panic attacks especially the past 2 weeks. I think I might have social anxiety disorder.

    I had a panic attack last night at the movies. We were watching Saw II and the theater was packed. I was sitting next to my friend Filly and some random guy I didn't know. My other friends had to split up because we couldn't find 4 seats next to each other. After the opening scene finished and this guys gets a bunch of nails in his face I started feeling really weird. Then I blacked out and had a cool out of body expierence. Then I had a terrible hot flash and started sweating even though it was pretty cold in the theater.

    I also had a panic attack at work the other day. I work at a chinese resteraunt, so I just went to the back and layed my head down on the table since we weren't busy anyways. I also almost had one at school last week but left and skipped 2 of my classes.

    I also recall a time I passed out for no apparent reason in 7th grade, and we never figured out why. I think it may have been a panic attack, although I remember it feeling different. It was a long time ago so I can't really be sure.
    The reason I think it's social anxiety is because I've always been shy, always been a loner, my friends say I'm anti-social, and I've been known to get really nervous and sweat when out in public. I actually prefer to goto the movies during the week because theres less people. I hate concerts or anything with a large amount of people. I also ramble and mumble stuff when I'm nervous.

    Anyone else have these problems? How am I suppose to deal with it? Would you suggest I hit up the doctor for more information? For anyone who actually read this I appreciate any input, seeing as how this could be a serious problem at my age.

    EDIT: Sorry I forgot to include that I'm 19.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2005 #2
    I would see a psychiatrist. To feel immense anxiety like that is not normal, and can interfere with learning and memory, as well as sleep paterns and over all health. It is a common problem, and is normal to feel some anxiety, but not to the point of "blacking out". Would you say you are overly self councious?
  4. Oct 29, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would actually suggest seeing a regular physician before going to a psychiatrist to rule out other health problems. If you get nervous in public situations, it might worsen some other underlying condition, but it might not be anxiety disorder. Any time you experience something like blacking out, it's a good idea to get a thorough physical. After addressing any physical problems, then you can seek the assistance of a psychiatrist regarding the anxiety problems; even if your main problem is entirely due to anxiety, it will be helpful for a psychiatrist to know you've had other problems ruled out before seeking treatment for the anxiety.
  5. Oct 29, 2005 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It doesn't sound like you need a psychiatrist. The blacking out isn't a normal part of anxiety attacks, you really should see your doctor. Your family doctor can prescribe medications for anxiety attacks if you feel the need for it.
  6. Nov 8, 2005 #5
    This sounds to me like a simple-partial, or a complex partial seizure. Intense feelings of fear for no authentic reason are a very common symptom, as are out-of-body experiences. Fear would mean seizure activity in and around the amygdala, and the OBE has been located to some area of the parietal lobes (can't recall just now). Sweating and hot flashes are typical autonomic simple partial seizures and would implicate the hypothalamus. "Passing out" would make it either a complex or generalized seizure, depending on whether you actually physically collapsed and were unconscious ("drop seizure" or "atonic" seizure, or if you actually only suffered a defect of consciousness that caused post-ictal amnesia for part of the episode).

    Simple and complex partial seizures, for the most part, don't result in any physical convulsions.

    I would not go to a psychiatrist except as a last, last resort, because they are prone to shoehorn people into psychiatric diagnoses without getting them properly screened for neurological and physical problems.
  7. Nov 25, 2005 #6
    so is it normal
  8. Nov 25, 2005 #7
    No. It would definitely indicate something's wrong.
  9. Dec 1, 2005 #8
    Yes I agree that the experience sounds a lot like a mild to mid-power seizure. I've had problems with anxiety and depression and, after a long go-round, was actually treated with anti-seizure medication (!) - along with an antidepressant. Being unfamiliar with the brain, I was very suprised to find that the mechanisms which affect cyclic mood disorders (of which, cyclic severe anxiety and depression can be two manifestations) is very intimately connected with the mechanisms affect convulsion (or seizures).

    Anyway, that's my two cents. Oh, and this:

    I would actually agree with the others and recommend seeing a general/family physician before a pyschiatrist. You will still most likely end up seeing a psychiatrist, but its still better for this reason. From my personal experience, brain/mood disorders can be very tricky to 1) understand and recognize yourself and 2)can quickly be made worse by even well-intentioned misdiagnoses. The 2nd fact can be lessened by getting a personal referral to a good psychiatrist from a general physician. The need may seem superfluous (and indeed dont put off seeking help!), but its something to keep in mind.

    Also, in addition to consulting a doctor, you should check out information on epilepsy. Sometimes epileptic seizures can be triggered by very quickly "pulsing" or flashing images in things like video games, movies, virtual reality rides, etc. They even have warnings on some of those things. Anyway, get in touch with a doc and figure out what's up.

    Good luck to ya,


    PPS - I was 20 when I finally started to get better from all this stuff, so you're not alone in your age. Things like this, and indeed things much worse, are doable.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2005
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook