For those that may not understand how severe health anxiety can be!

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Jennara
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 7/12/2009 8:51 AM (GMT -7)   
This is not ment to "flame" or upset or point fingers at anyone.  Its just something that I believe deserves to be known.  Maybe severe health anxiety is not seen in here as often as the panic disorder in its self.  But I bet I'm not the only one that feels this needs to be said.
 
Well IMHO people living with hypochondriasis, or *health anxiety*, suffer from a disorder that can be quite different from just the panic disorder in its self.  Its really one of those things that, if you dont have it, you may not really understand it.  See, the beauty about this disorder is that you can believe that you are dieing from anything!  Even a regular person, if they think they are about to die from something, they will go to the hospital to get help.  Well the hypochondriac or person suffering *health anxiety*, they believe TRUELY, that they are dieing sometimes.  Sometimes its quite often.  Its not just the panic disorder where your able to distinguish between the real emergencys and just the anxiety.  Its analyzing every body symptom, "what if" thinking, catastrophic thinking, and along with catastrophic thinking comes thoughts that you are dieing sometimes.  Thoughts that you need to seek help immediately!  Where as the person with panic disorder that doesn't suffer from the severe health anxiety, they associate the problem as, just people having panic attacks the way they do only, they are impatient on waiting for a doc apt.  This is not true!  We with the severe health anxiety go to the ER because we REALLY think we have something life threating!
 
I have been to the ER so many times and TRUELY believed that I might die!  I wasnt there because I had a concern that I just felt like having checked because I didnt want to wait to go to my doctor.  I was throwing up and pacing the floor, really terrified!  Now people that dont live with this disorder dont understand that, even what seems to be so minor, can be so real and so terrifying to the sufferer! 
 
I could go on all day but I just have to get this out there!  Its real!  We try to over come this disorder and get control of our thoughts so we can get better and NOT go to the hospital.  In the mean time, its really upsetting when people treat you like your just going to the ER because you simply dont feel like waiting on a doctor's apt.  Especially when you are sick and throwing up from nerves, shaking uncontrollably, hyperventilating, and really truly believe that you fit right in the ER because you might be dieing!
 
Bottom line, "If you (anyone), thinks you might have an immediate, life threatining condition, you are going to seek help in the emergency room".  A person like me with severe health anxiety, TRUELY BELIEVES they are dieing and need that help sometimes.  If you dont have this disorder, (not just the panic disorder), then you might not understand it.  If you feel that you are dieing, whether you are or not, you belong in the ER!  People with severe health anxiety sometimes CANT tell the difference between whats a real danger, and whats not.  We are trying to over come this just as much as those suffering from just the panic attacks.  But the disorder is real!  We cant help it!  We dont go to the hospital just for kicks, or because we are just impatient!  We are terrified!  No matter how rediculous the fear may be to others!  We cant help it!  We go to therapists and we take the meds like we are supposed to, ( I do anyway).  We are trying!  Bare with us, we arnt just trying to take up other people's time in the ER.  I always feel bad when I find out it was nothing.  I feel bad that I might have took up someone's time.  But then I remember, that just means I have to keep fighting.  I'm not going to just die some day because people had me convinced that I didnt need to go to the ER and unless it was serious, and I COULDNT tell for sure if it was or wasnt, but it felt like it was!  Thats what severe health anxiety is!
 
*Also, if you do go to the ER just because your impatient on waiting for a doc apt, please stop!  The ER is for emergencys!  But if you truely believe its a life threateing emergency, GO!  You may be wrong, it may be just panic or health anxiety getting the better of you.  Then again you may need to be there.  If you cant tell the difference and cant get in to see your doc right away, dont be afraid to seek help because you may really need it!
 
IMHO,
Jennara

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/12/2009 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   

Jen,

Hey there, I know you are fairly new to the boards so before this thread goes any futher you may want to review a couple of past threads that were dedicated to this topic.  We are very intune to what health anxiety is and if some people do not seem to be that is the minority.  We support all the anxieties in this forum and no one anxiety disorder is more improtant  or less important then the naxt one.

Just click on the links and you will be surprised at the amount of support given to HA. The links are for HA Part One and Part Two.

http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=9&p=1&m=1316774

http://www.healingwell.com/community/?f=9&m=1387050&g=1387057#m1387057

 


 

Kitt,
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn
Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind


Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/12/2009 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Jennara,

I really feel this post is aimed at me. This time I think (IMO) you did not need to go to the ER. ER's are not for dental problems such as you suffered. You should have called the correct doctor, your dentist. They have emergency numbers for when you are having dental problems. Honestly a toothache is not going to kill you, and I honestly feel YOU knew that.

Now if you are having chest pains, or severe stomach pain or broke your arm, or shortness of breath, or car accident yes definetly hit the ER. But the other minor stuff like tooth pain, could have even be adequately handled even with an Urgent Care Clinic.

Jennara, my complaint about people going to the ER for non emergencies is because I am concerned for those who REALLY deserve to be there and are delayed sometimes for extensive waits and that could be a life and death situation. I will give you an example of things that have happened to me. I have a chronic and incurable bowel disease and have suffered with quite a few bowel obstructions due to my disease. And there have been times that I have had to wait in the ER waiting room because they are so busy. I will tell you bowel obstructions are some of worse pain you can imagine even worse the labor if you could imagine. And also could be deadly is the obstruction perforates your bowel and causes sepsis. That is a life and death situation.

I also just read a few articles on ER wait times. One stated that a person MOST needing the ER, is having to wait approximately 28 minutes for treatment. That again could be life and death for someone. The second article talked about a hospital in Austin, TX that had almost 1000 visits done by just FIVE people. What did they have 2 were drug addicts, the other 3 were for anxiety/panic attacks. So I say if you are having chest pain, trouble catching your breathe, or severe pain that your pain meds are not helping, then yes go to the ER. If you have to go to the ER, please make sure its for the right reason, other wise try the urgent care clinics instead. You can get quicker and just as good treatment there without the expense and putting true medical emergencies in risk. JMHO

Hugs
Gail*Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Jennara
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 7/12/2009 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
It is really aimed at a lot of people with nobody in particular in mind. When I went to the ER for my tooth, it was pure ignorance. The thing is, I heard somebody say that you can suffer from an infection that can get into your blood and kill you. That was all I could think about! Its really hard for me to put things into perspective when it comes to whats serious and whats not.

I didnt mean it twards anybody in particular really. Its people I know personally, online and doctors and nurses I've come in contact with. I just wish that I knew how to tell whats serious and whats not. Then things would be so much easier! Its just too darned easy to die! I'm terrified of it everyday! Every bodily sensation seems to scare me and I've alway been that way. I just wish I could live a normal life!

I know that we all do! But sometimes I just feel misunderstood. I know now that it was a silly reason to go to the ER but I didnt know then. I have no clue whats dangerous and what isnt. I never have! Things that seems to come naturally to everyone else, I dont know.

Thanks for the info and the responses! And thanks for the support!

-Jen

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/12/2009 1:14 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey Jen,

If your dealing with obsessive thoughts of death and dying I would encourage you to seek out professional help from a therapist or Psychiatrist who specializes in Obsessive thoughts disorder. It sounds like the pain and suffering you are having from these obsessive thoughts are difficult for you to explain. This is not an uncommon condition and is very treatable.

You can feel safe and happy with the proper care. Let the people who love you know you want their support, even though they may not understand what you are going through.

As far as using urgent care facilities, Urgent Cares offer convenient walk-in medical clinics with providers who are available during specific hours to treat any non-life-threatening illness or injury that needs immediate attention. Urgent care is a timely health care solution for families and individuals of all ages, including those who can't get in immediately to see their primary care doctor, are visiting from out of town or are new to the area and currently don't have a doctor. Patients who do not have a life-threatening condition can save time and money by using Urgent Care as an alternative to the emergency room, where waiting times are on the rise.

If an urgent care provider assesses your need for emergency care they will triage you on to a higher level of care. 

I hope this helps you in making decisions about where to look for immediate help with your fearful thoughts re your real pain and sx you may be having.

Presenting to the ER is always a choice you must make for yourself if you feel you have a true emergency.

Health & Happiness,

Kitt


Sudsandbubbles
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 7/18/2009 6:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jennara,
 
I too have severe health anxiety. I can truly relate to you.  It is hard to explain to others and it is impossible to determine what is normal or not.  For me personally, sometimes I can't distinguish normal stomach growling with what might be chest congestion or wheezing.  I am specifically terrified of asthma and because I had a bad case of Bronchitis this winter and did have a couple of times of hearing the wheeze, I am paranoid about every sound.  I have panic attacks that range from dry heaving, with nausea and shaking (and by the way I have a vomiting phobia too) to attacks where my chest feels tight and I feel like I can't breathe. But when this happens I sing, move around the house and reassure myself that if I couldn't breathe I wouldn't be able to sing or move around the house. I also take my Klonopin, it takes time to work, but it usually will help me relax and the symptoms go away for a while.  There are times a I will get panic attacks every day and other times a couple times a week.  Right now, I am going through a bad period, so it is more regular.   
 
I have a doctor phobia too, but I go when it is absolutely necessary.  I have spent many sleepless nights because of illness phobias trying to calm down on my own, because I just wanted the symptoms to go away and was afraid of what the doctor would say.  In 2004 I was in the ER because I thought I had stomach cancer because I was nausous all the time and dry heaved alot (that was before I knew that this wasone of my types of anxiety attacks, the breathing one I have had most of my life)  I couldn't calm down and hadn't been able to in weeks, it was horrible. A few days later I admitted myself to a pyschiatric hospital, that is how bad the anxiety was.  Anyway I have been there and unfortunately still am. And I am in therapy, seeing a psychiatrist and they both know about my obsessive worrying/thinking and all of my issues.  It can be discouraging but I am not giving up, I want to be well and I know you do too.
 
If you feel the need to see a doctor for peace of mind, I'd say go.  Other people's opinions can be helpful but at the end of the day it is your life and only you have to live with the consequences of your decisions.  
 
Take Care,
Suds 
 
 

Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/18/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Suds,

I have to respectfully disagree with your comment "Other people's opinions can be helpful but at the end of the day it is your life and only you have to live with the consequences of your decisions". That is so wrong IMO. What about the person REALLY having a heart attack??? Their care gets put off by a person with a toothache? And should they die, its okay because only its only you who has to live with the consequences? What about the family of the person who just died of a heart attack because they couldn't get care in a timely manner because of people using the ER when instead they could have just used a urgent care clinic?

So I do respectfully disagree with you. You are not the only person who has to live with the consequences. Your choices could affect another person's very life. JMHO

Regards,
Gail*Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6488
   Posted 7/19/2009 12:10 AM (GMT -7)   
HI

I can relate about health anxiety as I do suffer badly with this type of anxiety, but I don't goto ER as I have learned its just my anxiety. I do have a very understanding doctor and quite often make an appointment with him to talk over my worries which helps with the anxiety. Health anxiety is awful and I often convince myself I have life threatening illnesses as my anxiety just takes over my mind and I get consumed with worry. I am doing CBT at the moment and one off the things im looking at is how to deal with this issue.

Ben

Sudsandbubbles
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 7/19/2009 5:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Nanners,
 
I hear the passion in your message, you have been through a lot and I feel for you. It is clear that you are speaking up for yourself and others who must regularly go to the emergency room because they have life threatening illnesses and you don't want to see them die.  I don't either and I am sure Jennara doesn't as well.   I share your desire to ensure that everyone who needs emergency help receives it.  And I feel as strongly as you do that the decision to go to the emergency room shouldn't be taken lightly. I didn't mean to suggest that our decisions do not have consequences. Your decision to post your comment could result in other people not posting because they have done similar things and are afraid they will be judged harshly. My decision to post resulted in what I perceive as you feeling offended by my lack of understanding the true consequence of non emergency room visits.  Life is full of consequences.  But we must make decisions, some will be good ones and others bad.  Jennara made a decision, you disagreed with it and you let her know it. 
 
I hope we can put an end to this,  it doesn't feel supportive to me.  Can we just agree to disagree?
 
Wishing you the Best,
Suds  

melodee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 7/19/2009 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,

I agree with Sudsandbubbles that it really is up to the person to make the decision. And I feel it is inappropriate for anyone to tell how to make choices in case they need urgent help. We don't know each other's medical history in detail and we are not medical professionals. If we are not allowed to give advice on meds in this forum, why should we be allowed to give advice on how to react and what to do when we are in need of help and assistance from the ER? How can we be so sure that the person is not in need of medical assistance immediately because of an unexpected change in his/her health? Even doctors can't predict them sometimes. I am not writing this to scare anyone with health anxiety, it's just that we are all different, our medical history is different, we don't have any right to tell anyone not to go to the ER. And telling someone with hypochondria and anxiety not to got to the ER would surely not help! In fact, it would actually worsen his/her fears. I have health anxiety too and for the past month, my palpitations have been so bad, I wasn't even able to relax throughout the day, my anxiety was skyrocketing and going to the ER helped a lot. Also, the members are participating from different countries throughout the world, some are from the US, others from Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa etc. Medical facilities and services vary in every country, so we should always be careful when offering advice on this forum. JMHO.

Post Edited (melodee) : 7/19/2009 8:24:11 AM (GMT-6)


Allestaria
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 341
   Posted 7/19/2009 6:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I have never gone to the emergency room( For myself). And I have sever health anxiety. I have dealt with this for many many years. My heath anxiety is so bad I can not work. I can barely leave the house and someone does have to be with me. I carry a cell phone from room to room. I live 5 minutes away from my parents. Someone everyday is "On Call" if I need them. Hubby comes home in 15 minutes if I need him. Mom drops what she is doing and comes here. I live 1 mile away from the fire department. And they are here within minutes if I need them.

Now that you know how bad my anxiety is. I have and will NOT go to an emergency room do to anxiety. Anyone who gets to know there body well enough can tell the difference between an attack or the real thing. I have had serious bouts of panic attacks. But I know in the back of my head that it is just that. Panic attacks.

You know mentally what the difference is. Its just accepting them that is harder to do. Or willing to do. In my location we have 2 emergancy rooms for 125k+ people. Each room is always packed. And its people with kids who are sick. Or people who broke this or that. Nothing major.

But I will say. That ALL emergency rooms take patients on a need basis. If someone is having a heart attack and there is 10 people before him/her that are in less need. They will take the heart patient first. They will do what is need to help the person with a life hreating problem over someone who isn't. They do save beds just for that reason. Now if the ER is slow in this process then there procedures needs to be looked at.
My best friend works as an admission clerk at an ER. She see's this all the time. They have beds that are left open just for situations like this. Same with our 2 hospitals. They both have 4 beds set aside for people who are in an emergency.

Anyway with that said. We have different levels of acceptance to our anxiety. And over time we learn how to deal with and accept what is a real issue and what isn't. Everyone is different. People like myself stay clear of these places simply because of the germs involved. And others flock to them as a safe haven. We do have to respect everyones way of thinking. I do not agree with going to the ER over an "infection" that can wait. Seeing your doctor the next day would not effect your health. But I also understand the extreme fear. And the need to be comforted. Needing the "all clear" from the doctors. I totally understand And I know Nanners does as well. Same with anyone who has health anxiety.

I will strongly suggest if you have more health anxiety. Do not google, research or look up what it could be, cause, or other wise. As this is the results. You freak out for no reason. I for one have learned to ask here instead of looking it up. Kitt even went a step further and got information for me. So I didn't have to read about the 1% who had sever problems. I got facts that I needed to know.

melodee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 7/19/2009 7:20 AM (GMT -7)   
 
Allestaria,
I carry a cell phone from room to room. I live 5 minutes away from my parents. Someone everyday is "On Call" if I need them. Hubby comes home in 15 minutes if I need him. Mom drops what she is doing and comes here. I live 1 mile away from the fire department. And they are here within minutes if I need them.
       Well that's why you don't need the ER. You have a very supportive family living or working very close to you. Some of us have
       nobody. I am all alone and no one is "on call" for me ever. Those who have a supportive family or network do not need the
       ER as much as we do. That's a huge difference!
      
       And I have also been dealing with panic and anxiety for over a decade but my fear is too strong for me and even if I know my  
       body well enough, I can't always control the fear. Again, everyone's condition is different. I was hospitalized in the midst of  
       severe PAD and I know how bad my condition can get, but that doesn' t mean I am able to control it well.
      
 
 
      

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/19/2009 7:47 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning All,

I would like to put this into some kind of perspective for all.

It is a fact that Emergency room patients seeking treatment for chest pain were more likely to suffer adverse cardiovascular outcomes when the facilities were crowded, researchers have documented.  

Events such as cardiac arrest, delayed myocardial infarction, and death were more common when waiting room censuses and total ER patient care hours were at a peak.

In the emergecy room it is all about urgency.  The following is from the policy/procedure in our Emergency Department.

Patients are seen in order of the seriousness of the medical problems.

Critically ill patients are always seen before patients with less serious problems.

The National Triage Scale helps us to identify the critically ill patients and treat them ahead of patients with less serious problems.

1 Immediate Resuscitation
2 Emergency
3 Urgent
4 Semi-urgent
5 Non-urgent

The number of such critically ill patients presenting to the Emergency Department may vary greatly each day, and in a manner which is unable to be predicted. As a result, the waiting time may vary depending on the seriousness of your medical condition and how many critically ill patients are presenting to the Emergency Department.

When you arrive in the Emergency Department, you will meet the Triage nurse who will assess your condition by taking a brief history and measure your vital signs.

The task of the triage nurse is to ensure that patients with urgent medical conditions are attended to promptly. To do this, the triage nurse assesses the urgency associated with each patients medical problem and assigns each patient a category according to the National Triage scale.

You will be assigned a triage category following assessment by the triage nurse.

The use of triage means patients are attended to according to medical need and urgency.



 

Kitt,
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn
Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind

Post Edited (stkitt) : 7/19/2009 10:06:50 AM (GMT-6)


Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 7/19/2009 8:39 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree 100% that a person must make the decision for what they consider an emergency. But I am just asking that you make the decision responsibly. If you have had all the tests run and nothing is medically wrong with you and you know you suffer with Health anxiety, then that is the time to utilize an urgent care clinic or call your family doctor instead. Emergency rooms are for just that, Emergencies. If you have a new symptom arise and you feel this calls for a ER visit, then by all means go to the ER.

But I also agree with a point Kitt made. Most ER's now have a triage nurse you can even "CALL" before you go to the ER and they can advise you if this is something that should be handled in the ER or if urgent care can handle this instead. The also provide suggestions to try at home first. I have received some great assistance myself from calling these nurses and told other times I need to go to the ER. Just a thought:)

Hugs
Gail*Nanners
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Sudsandbubbles
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 7/20/2009 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Everyone,
 
I think we have all been properly educated on how the emergency room works and when to go and when not to go.  No doubt, there is no living soul who desires to see a person die needlessly because a person in the room next door was there for something minor.  We all agree emergency rooms are for emergencies.  The problem becomes difficult if you suffer from health phobia and every thing is a perceived emergency.  Anxiety is a perception of something they fear.  Some anxiety is warranted, if you really have an illness, the need to take an anti anxiety medicine is completely understood. What is hard for people to understand and those who have it too, is the anxiety that makes no sense.  There is no known danger, only the fear and the symptoms of the fear manifesting in your body.  People like that aren't out to steal hospital beds from seriously ill people, they are ill too, it is just that there illness is in the mind and not so easy to prove or for others to understand.
 
It is true that after a while you learn with the help from a good therapist to understand true anxiety from real illness.  But even after all the years I have suffered there are times when it doesn't matter if it is a real illness or not, the anxiety feels like it will kill me.  All I was trying to say (and clearly I didn't do a good job of it) was, if someone who is suffering and in need does find peace by going to a doctor (and I said doctor not emergency room in my response before too) they should go because they are the ones who have to live with there suffering,  no one else does.  The consequences I was referring to were the consequences of her suffering not the consequences of other people in the emergency room.  No one is the only pebble on the beach, but if we don't take care of ourselves no one will.  And many people with anxiety, feel worthless, they feel like they don't deserve to be well.  I wanted Jennara to know that I was on her side and I wanted her to feel well.  I didn't want her to feel judged, I wanted her to find peace.
 
And I hope all of you find peace and health too.
 
Suds
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