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Dizziness/Head Swimming
Hpenn posted:
I have suffered from panic attacks for two years now. I am a young college student and this has been hard on me. I have panic disorder because my panic attacks come from absolutely nowhere at any time of day or night. No triggers. I have been on and off Zoloft for these two years. Usually it helps when I am on it, although there have been times I've had panic atttacks while still on the meds. Right now I am not taking the medication because I am trying to get through this disorder without them because I am thinking maybe I will get strong and not ever need the meds again.

I used to have panic attacks over stomach pains and I always thought something was wrong with my stomach. I have been to the doctor countless times for countless things and they tell me I am very healthy. I started having a lot of headaches about a years before the panic attacks started and so within the past three years I have had a cat scan which turned out good. They found nothing wrong. Lately I've been handling this anxiety really well. However, recently while I was driving, I felt dizzy for a few seconds. It went away for a few seconds, then came back. I had to pull over and let my sister drive my car. Ever since then I have these dizzy spells while driving. Well, it's not really that I get dizzy, it's sort of like my head feels like it is swimming. Or you know how you feel if you go down a big drop on a rollercoaster? It's sort of like that ALL THE TIME! It is mostly when I am driving, but I am thinking that it is because I am now scared of getting dizzy while driving because that happened to me that one time. I know panic disorder can have a control on the subconcious of your mind and I feel like I am only feeling this way in my head because I just have this underlying fear of getting dizzy. But at the same time I am scared to death that something is wrong with me of course. I have this feeling so much lately and I think it is just part of the panic. Is it likely that this is all in my head? I really don't think there are any medical conditions which have this symptom, but I can't help but think something is wrong. How can I make myself believe nothing is wrong and that I am really NOT dizzy?
Dr_Patricia_Farrell responded:
You're right; panic can start a feedback loop that will trigger more panic in the situation where you first had the attack. I believe it may also cause a drop in BP and that may lead to the feeling of dizziness or about to faint. You've been checked out by your doc, but let that person know about this because you may just need another test just to be sure it's panic. Using self-help techniques can be very helpful and I recommend you visit my Self-help page on my website. Try the breathing and use positive self-talk.
JGD84 responded:
Hi Hpenn!

I'm an RN... there's a clinical component to your dizziness that Dr. Pat mentioned... simply put, you're hyper-ventilating. I've had panic attack issues as well... only over the past 6 months did I realize the important role of deep breathing excercises.

The issue w/ driving has happened to me several times... I occassionally still get dizzy, however the deep breathing does help.

BTW, I share you constant concern over being sick... and fortunately both of us have nothing wrong w/ us. It's classic anxiety!

Here's the great news... you're OK!!! See a therapist and stay positive... things will get better!

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