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    Anxiety Attacks?
    mane1022 posted:
    2 weeks ago I suddenly felt a strange out-of-body experience, then 5 sec. numbness in my left hand & foot only. The numbness then changed to tingling in those 2 extremities. I then began feeling very anxious. Once at work, an ambulance rushed me to the hospital where I spent 2-1/2 days. I was originally diagnosed with having had a TIA, but then when explaining my episode to one of the residents, the exact symptoms returned on a lesser scale. I did have an EKG, as well as ultrasounds of my carotid artery and echo-cardiogram.

    I was then given a tentative diagnosis of having had an anxiety attack. I've since seen my primary care physician who prescribed Lexapro. The 1st time I took 1/2 a tablet (to gradually move up to 1 tablet), my heart began fluttering and I ceased taking it. I was told to wait 2 wks. and then try it again.

    In the meantime, I'm now experiencing a wave of weakness a couple of times per day and have also experienced a slight tingling in my foot (usually left). Does this diagnosis seem to fit? I have 2 extremely stressful jobs--teacher and ministry head--and have been under a great deal of pressure lately. I was wondering if this could be the cause of something.
    Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
    I'm not an MD and I'm not sure what might be happening, but we do know that stress can manifest itself in many ways and many of them are physical. Since you indicated that you do have two stress jobs, I would think you may be experiencing the symptoms of burnout and need a break.

    It's never a good idea to push yourself until you begin to have symptoms and the fact that they kept you in the hospital for 2-1/2 days would seem to indicate they were not sure what was happening. Medications such as the one you've been given are not going to alleviate the stress and, in fact, what you felt (the increased anxiety when you first took it) is often a normal reaction to these meds.

    Now it's time for you to begin to take care of yourself in terms of managing the stress and giving yourself some relief. Moderate exercise (if you doc agrees) such as walking, running in place, taking the stairs for a flight or two and even walking in place in your home. Then, relaxation breathing (see our Tips column for a video tutorial) and a day or two of rest should be put into your schedule.

    I hope things do improve for you.

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