Constant Anxiety

cheerful1_gwAugust 30, 2005

My chest gets tight, my hands shake, and I feel very fragile. I'm in menopause, but don't know if that's the reason or something else? I cut back my caffeine to one cup of coffee a day, but I feel this way all day.

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You need to discuss this with your doctor. He needs to know whats going on with you. Since you are in menopause, it's possible that could be the trouble. If so, I am sure that there is something that would make you feel less anxious. Make an appointment for as soon as possible.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 5:40PM
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You do need to see your Doctor. I suffer from anxiety and am on meds that are not addicitve. Beleive me they have helped me. My anxiety is from health issues I have had over the past 2 years.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 8:21PM
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I felt much better after I cut back my caffeine to NO cups a day. I now drink a cup of decaf every morning and it does not give me problems. The uncontrollable anxiety, flutters, sense of dread.... all of it was gone as soon as I eliminated the caffeine. I know decaf has a little caffeine but I can skip a day of that without any withdrawal problems either. Believe me, just one cup of regular is all it takes, at least for me.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 5:57PM
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Been there too cheerful. I am a very happy person most of the time. But about 6 years ago I became overwhelmed with anxiety, worry and fear. I have a wonderful doctor and he put me on paxil. I was lucky that the first drug we tried worked for me. I am sure I will take it the rest of my life. My point is, please see a doctor and get some medication. By the way I drink coffee and it does not affect me. Everyone is different, best of luck. Just know you don't have to feel this way, there is help for you.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 7:47PM
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I got that way in my forties--perimenopause. Lots of skipped heartbeats, too. I didn't want to get on any meds, so I explored other approaches. Like Jenn, I gave up all caffeine. I learned that some food allergies (which can develop in mid-life) produce excess adrenalin in the system, so I also explored what other foods might be affecting me. I eventually gave up sugar and dairy products.

The other thing is that I learned how to breathe. My shallow breathing and habit of holding my breath (without realizing it) was making my symptoms worse. I learned to breathe deeply from the abdomen, and checked my breathing several times a day to make sure I wasn't reverting to my old ways. (I sometimes still revert occasionally after 15 years of doing this.) I was taught to lie down for 15 minutes a day and focus on nothing but my breathing (a simple form of meditation). It's amazing how just 15 minutes a day calms down the autonomic nervous system.

I've been symptom-free for years, and am happy not to be relying on pills.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 7:56AM
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Cheerful, you do need to see your famly dr. Do you get depressed along with the anxiety?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 6:41AM
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There are times that I do feel very down. Yesterday and today are bad anxiety days. I'm shaking and feel very nervous, for no good reason.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:58AM
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My DH just gave me a possible cause of the anxiety. When we eat a lot of red meat, it makes us anxious and aggressive. We did eat a lot of meat this weekend, and it probably has not digested yet. Anyone else come across this?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 10:01AM
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I'm a man so I'm not menopausal but I've had similar symptoms for the 7 years or so. Took a long time to figure it out and it is hard to explain because I am not a doctor. My problem was a simple hiatal hernia. Not the normal kind that require surgery but a smaller version of it where if I should roll over in my sleep and sleep on my stomach it will push the top of stomach up through my diaphram causing discomfort. I also suffer with GERD or acid reflux and sugar is my trigger food. Eating one jelly bean can cause days of anxiety and feelings of doom.

Few people that I talk to about this understand it or agree with me except medical people.

If I understand this correctly the problem is that all our "plumbing" runs down a narrow corridor through the center of our bodies. Our esophagus (throat) and lungs/heart are pushed up beside each other as are all the large nerve bundles traveling to our legs and feet. All of this runs through a hole in our diaphram (the hiatus). When too much acid splashes onto the lining of our esophagus it can cause problems. These problems can cause the esophagus to spasm or contort or inflate or just freak out. The messages get transfered to the bundle of nerves running right beside the esophagus and can send strange signals to far and distant parts of your body. This is why my hands might tingle or my shoulder can have a flash of pain or my foot my feel odd even tho the real problem is in my throat. If stomach acid (or food) doesn't travel far enough up into the back of your mouth you'll never taste acid or vomit and therefore never know that this is an acid reflux problem (I don't taste anything when I'm having a problem). You're just convinced something bad is about to happen and you can sense that something isn't right. Its just odd that extreme sensations can come from something so basic.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 2:53PM
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Menopausal and mental health concerns are hugely complex individually; together, they can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, simply going to your family physician may not be the answer to your problems. Many conventional clinicians are either not well informed about menopause and/or mental health or are too busy to do more than prescribe an anti-depressant. I highly recommend that you search for a female (yes female  and no, it is not sexist to suggest that female practitioners generally get better results in this area) practitioner that specializes in womenÂs health care issues and is knowledgeable about both conventional and alternative medicine alternatives. A nurse practitioner can be an excellent choice in this regard, as can a naturopathic physician. Chiropractors are generally not helpful in this area. If you wish to consider an acupuncturist, be sure they have extensive training in herbal remedies, that they give you the option of buying botanicals that do not come from Asian countries (which are often adulterated), and that they have a referral network that includes practitioners who can do lab testing, have hospital admitting privileges, etc. especially if you do not currently have primary care provider.

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 4:59AM
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Have you had your blood sugar checked? Low sugar can cause shakiness and sweats, etc.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 8:09PM
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My blood sugar is fine. I'm going to talk to my GYN (female, by the way) on Monday about anti-anxiety medication. It's really affecting my ability to function. I have personal stresses in my life right now that are not helping the situation. I was even wondering if the constant anxiety was exacerbating my situation.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 10:48AM
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Cheerful, good for you, checking this out with your dr. There is no reason to suffer as you are when we have methods and medications which can help. Keep us all posted on how it goes.

In addition to any help your dr. might recommend, remember to treat yourself well. Exercise, relax and listen to music you enjoy, do things you like to do, movie, gardening, long hot bath, etc. Pamper yourself a bit. It helps the mental state also.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 11:45AM
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I hope my doctor calls me soon. I noticed today I can't deal with the everyday job problems. My heart is pounding, I'm shaking, and I just want to yell at everyone. Does anxiety make you react to things without thinking of the consequences?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 12:51PM
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My doctor just prescribed something called Sarafem, 10 mg. Anyone know about this?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 11:25AM
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I just did a google of this and it is similar to Prozac..
good to give it a try.

Interestingly enough, with the talk of menopause, I was offered either HRT or anti-depressants by my GYN.. I said why anti-depressants? he said that both hormones and anti-depressants work on the same part of the brain. So it all makes sense.

Be well and breathe s-l-o-w-l-y :-)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 12:44AM
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How is the Sarafem working for you? It does take up to two weeks for antidepressants to start taking effect, but you should feel less on edge by now.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 3:56PM
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I've been on it for a week. The anxiety is still there, but my impulse to act on it has toned down. The urge to snap at someone seems to be going away. One of my big problems was not thinking before I acted, and it would get me into trouble sometimes. I'm hoping now that the anxiety will lessen, but I'm happy for small victories. It also makes me a little light headed and drowsy, but I can live with that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 8:35AM
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Good for you, and it will get better the more you take it. I can't live with the light headed and drowsy, at my job I have to stay awake and focused, so that wouldn't work. I am glad you found something that works for you!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 1:03AM
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I've heard the ads on the radio and they are very convincing. Lucinda Basset is a survivor of anxiety and overcame it on her own. Now she provides her method for others. The tapes are not cheap and apparently her approach is common sense and self-talk, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the common sense approach to things.

For myself, just saying "calm down, your fears aren't real, you're just being anxious" has had a BIG calming affect when I feel very anxious. Taking several deep breaths also helps.

I've had anxiety all my life (without panic attacks) so I am not saying it's easy, but it is possible to overcome, or at least reduce, without meds.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lucinda Basset

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 3:42PM
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I think people should try to stay off crazy pills unless absolutely necessary, they take away the highs and the lows and can leave you like a zombie. This sounds like an overactive thiroid to me. Have they checked for that ?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 10:45AM
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Yes, my thyroid is ok. By the way, I took myself off the Sarafem. It took the edge off my compulsiveness, but I felt like I was in a constant fog, and the anxiety started coming back.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:55AM
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Hi Cheerful1,

My DH sounds just like you (except for the menopause part, of course,) and Paxil works really well for him. It has cruel sexual side effects, but they may be more of a problem for males (and the women who love them.)

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 2:19AM
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Thanks to everyone for their input. I love these forums, where I can talk to real people with real problems.

The earliest appointment I can get with my GYN is October, so I'll have to tough it out over the summer.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 7:00AM
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Cheerful, can you see your internist? Sounds like a long time to tough it out. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 9:20AM
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I started on HRT last November (Activella). It helps with a lot of my symptoms. However, over the past week the anxiety has come back with a vengance. I feel shaky, and I want to snap at everyone. The strange part is, my libido has also increased along with the anxiety. Has anyone ever had this happen to them, having anxiety and an increased libido happening at the same time?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Cheerful1, I don't recall anyone ever mentioning it. Can you check with the doc that prescribed the HRT? Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 2:57AM
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I quit using an amazing and very simple method. I suffered no nicotine withdrawals, in fact no bother at all!
I just didn't feel like smoking from one moment to the next! The method is called EFT and it works great for anxiety.
There's someone out there who offers free (donate if you want) email consultations. Here is the website:

I hope it works for you as good as it did for me, best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 7:47AM
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