Anxiety and GERD

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Bestillandknow
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/29/2007 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Good Afternoon!
 
I am brand new in this forum and I am here to hopefully get some good input regarding my dilemma.
 
I have had GERD for about 5 years now.  I was diagnosed with mild inflammation on two different occasions.  I take Nexium with pretty good results.  I do have to be careful to stay away from fried foods, citric acid things, etc. 
 
When I have what I call a "Flare-up" - I then go into a major panic attack.  I can't eat much of anything without suffering major discomfort, e.g. thick in the throat, acid reflux, nausea, etc.  To be noted, it seems I can go a long time without a flare-up.  But, I usually experience a flare-up after a major negative event has taken place.  For instance.  I have been fine for some time now.  With that said, I have been the primary caregiver of my very ill mom for 5 years (I got GERD 6 months after she came to live with us).  Even though the last 5 years have been the most difficult years of my life, I have managed to take very good care of my mom.  Well, she passed away a few weeks ago.  I new she was dying and still I felt okay GERD wise. 
 
I came back to work a week later.  Two days after returning to work, my co-worker friend who sits next to me told me she had just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which had matastisized to her liver.  I felt so bad for her that I started to cry.  It made me sick inside.  Plus, I new I had nothing left to give her emotionally having just buried my mom.  I haven't been the same since she told me this.  Two days later I have the biggest flare-up of my GERD that you can imagine.
 
I believe my recent flare-up is the result of my mom's death (we were very close) and the info this woman share about her recent diagnosis.  I feel like I'm going to have the same diagnosis as this women, because I have GERD.
 
I feel like a basket case.  I went to my gastro doc and he said to take my Nexium twice a day among other things I already know.  The only thing that seems to help me is 0.5 mg. of Ativan that I have for occasional use (menopausal moments :)!
 
My flare-up began one week after my mom's death and the other woman's chat with me about her condition.  It has been two and half weeks since then and I still suffer and I am full of anxiety over it. 
 
Has anyone every connected the anxiety issues with the GERD?
 
I just need some encouragement and don't know where to find it.
 
Thanks to you and God Bless!
 
 

Sunshine1108
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 268
   Posted 5/29/2007 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello.  Welcome to the board.  I am so sorry to hear of your Mom's passing.
I suffer from GERD as well.  I take Prilosec for it.
Whenever I feel anxious my GERD flares up and vice versa.  I get a lump in my throat and I feel like I can't swallow.  It is a very uncomfortable feeling.
 
When I get over the anxiety, my GERD settles down and I feel better.  Sounds like you have been thru a lot lately.  I think once you calm down (and I know its hard after losing a loved one) the flare up will get better.  I know many people who suffer with anxiety/panic attacks have GERD.  How about trying some relaxation techniques?  I hope this helps some.  Good luck!

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/29/2007 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello Best,

Welcome to Healing Well.  We are a caring group of people who know what you are going through and we are here to support one another.

There is a lot of conflict on whether anxiety causes GERD which is a physicial illness.  On this topic I would say that anxiety can cause many physical symptoms and it certainly may cause a flare up of GERD.

I have Gerd but I do not feel it gets any better or worse with my anxiety.  I have to be careful what I eat before bedtime and I take my Prilosec twice a day with good results.

So IMO it certainly depends upon the individual person.

Your physician is the best person to  talk with if you are having a acute episode.

Keep posting.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
______________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter


harry4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1449
   Posted 5/29/2007 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   

lots of info re GERD and acid reflux on the net

yes it often goes with anxiety and panic attacks

if you get GERD when asleep, avoid late night snacks, some say it helps to raise the head of the bed so you sleep on a slope


recovered former longtime anxiety and panic attack sufferer and helper of other sufferers  but no training or  qualifications in medicine or psychology, any remarks that may be taken as advice must be confirmed with doctor or other health professional
emails are welcome but do mention healingwell to avoid risk of deletion as spam


debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 5/29/2007 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Harry's right. Don't eat for several hours before going to sleep. Raising the head of the bed six inches will definitely help. It's not a cure, but it's simple gravity and it will help. My GERD is largely gone thanks to prevacid and anxiety treatment, but I've been sleeping on an incline for so long I'm still doing it because it's just more comfortable for me that way.

For a long time I had it so bad I couldn't even sleep in a bed. I slept in a worn out Lazy Boy that I had since college. That thing's probably 30 years old (I certainly didn't buy it new!). But take some comfort in that it can get better.

As I've said on here before, I think a bad enough case of GERD can actually cause health anxiety, which could then progress into panic attacks. Some of the symptoms of GERD are really weird, and leave a person guessing a lot. Eventually it'll get to your head. But no matter what caused the anxiety/panic, if you have that and GERD it will make the GERD worse. I've seen way to many people say that to think otherwise. There's exceptions to every rule, of course.

I don't like to ask people to look at my blog, but in this case I think I've covered some ground that's pertinent to your situation.

But good luck!
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder
anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/


Bestillandknow
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/30/2007 7:20 AM (GMT -7)   

Thank you all for your recent input.  I too have studied the disease of GERD and have developed a wealth of knowledge on the subject. 

My biggest issue is determining how much anxiety plays into the GERD.  I am almost convinced, at least in my case, that a major stressor will precede a huge flare-up of my GERD.  Sometimes, just hearing other people share their stories of anxiety and GERD together helps me a lot.

I do agree that when I begin to feel the burn or thickening in my throat, I start to panic.  I am so afraid of developing a catastrophic condition as the result.  I have always deal with health anxiety and I hate that about myself.  I am an intelligent woman and this is a weakness of mine.  I'm always thinking I'm going to die.

Anyway, I love hearing from you.  Thanks much!

 

 

 

 


debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 5/30/2007 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Bestillandknow said...
I am an intelligent woman and this is a weakness of mine.


For an anxiety sufferer, I think intelligence and creativity can be their worst enemy. Those racing thoughts we get may be irrational, but it some twisted way they make sense. We subconsciously form conclusions and seek evidence to back them up (in the case of health anxiety) and we're very good at it.

Medicine will slow down the nervous system, but we MUST seek healthier creative outlets: art, writing, problem solving, pro actively listening to music...just about anything that requires critical thought uses the right brain and is creative. It takes time to retrain this part of the brain to think that way, and it's not easy, but it's imperative that we do it (in my opinion, at least). You may be interested in reading this: http://anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-i-believe-creative-expression-is.html

And also I'm convinced that once both diseases get going, there's a near perfect positive correlation between the two. If you have a bad GERD spell, it will cause heavy anxiety and maybe even trigger panic. If you're very anxious or are having a panic attack, the stomach reels in its wake. It's not just GERD, though...my doctor tells me there's a strong relationship between anxiety/panic and several stomach problems: gastritis, GERD, IBS, etc. He's a fairly young doctor and is of the "new school", but in spite of the studies he still suspects that stress and anxiety play a role in the formation of gastric and peptic ulcers.

Some people are different. Their anxiety and panic doesn't seem to affect their stomach much. They're lucky, let me tell you. Once you add a bunch of nausea, bloating, reflux, and stuff like that to what is already a bad problem, life starts looking pretty bleak.

But there is a way out. You have to fight it on several fronts. Medications, changes of lifestyle, re-training the mind and its thought processes....none of these things can be ignored.

Anyway...rambling.
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder
anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/


Bestillandknow
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/30/2007 10:46 AM (GMT -7)   
You seem to understand. I'm going to go out to your website and check it out.

Before my mom passed a few weeks ago, I was so busy with her everyday, that there was no time for me to focus on me. Now, it's back to the health obsession again.

You mentioned being creative, I am very creative. That was an interesting nugget of info on the subject.

Thanks!

debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 5/30/2007 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
You're welcome. I hope you find it informative.

I think that EVERYONE on this earth is creative, though. Pop culture has us thinking that a creative person is an architect, painter, sculptor, musician, poet, novelist, etc., but that's not all. While those people have highly developed creative minds, we all have it. Society tends to think of the scientist as a rigid personality who only deals with hard facts and data, but in reality they're extremely creative because they're looking for explanations and interpreting all that information. The person who writes owners' manuals for staplers is a creative person. Technical writing is still technical writing. These people have to put themselves in the shoes of someone who's never used a stapler and explain it all to them. That's a creative process.

It's something all humans were blessed/cursed with.
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder
anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/


Drew_2007
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/30/2007 12:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I had basically constant non-stop heart burn while taking Zoloft. As soon as I stopped taking it I never had heart burn again. So far I have not had any with Effexor either.

That probably doesn’t relate to you if you are not taking Zoloft but I thought I would through that out there. For me Zoloft gave me heartburn the whole time I was on it for over a year.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 5/31/2007 5:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I also take Prilosec and do not eat prior to bed at all
I have had this so bad woken up with Vomit in throat ....not good ........

I do prop head up with 3 pillows each night and it does seem to help me ..........
STAY with us

LYN


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alexy
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/31/2007 5:55 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello, first off I am very sorry to hear about your mother and coworker.  My grandmother passed away in August of Esophageal cancer, it's not very pretty.  But anyways, I have had GERD for about 2 years and the pass two months I have been going thru lots of anxiety and depression and as you know that makes reflux 10 times worse.  My reflux is the silent reflux with occasional heartburn.  But anyways since having the anxiety it has been awful even to the point of it getting into my lungs, which sucks, I still cough from it some times.  Anyways I went to a holistic doc, after going to a GI and doing all the tests and all were normal.  Well the holistic doctor tried to treat it naturally and it just wasn't cutting it.  I have mitral valve prolapse syndrome and if you know anything about that sometimes the anxiety is horrible.  So I asked for ativan and tried it for a week I felt so good, I could even eat normally without the feeling of food getting stuck and everything else.  But I stopped it cuz you know how they say it is so addictive.  Well I went back to my doc yesterday and he said if I felt good on the ativan then to stay on the ativan.  So now I am taking .5 mg 3 times a day. He told me to just take it and don't worry about getting hooked on it, because we can gradually wean off of it.  And Boy I tell you I feel like a normal person on it.  I ate at hardees today and no indigestion and no reflux, a little coughing but that was it.  Another thing that might help you is HCL tablets and digestive enzymes.  In most cases acid reflux is caused by too little acid, not too much.  I would stay away from that nexium unless you feel it is really helping you and you have too much acid, which might be the case.  But in your case I think the ativan will tremendously help. I've had to take it before for panic attacks about 3 years ago and it saved my life basically.  Well hope this has helped.  If you have any questions let me know.

Cynarra

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Bestillandknow
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/31/2007 6:34 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks Alexy!

I too have the Ativan and it makes all the difference in the world.  I have it on hand all the time, but only take it occasionally with no adverse side effects.  Yesterday was my first GERD symptom-free day in 19 days.  It usually takes 2-3 weeks to heal from a major flare-up.  I think the Ativan works wonders for me.  I usually can only take it twice a day and that works for me.  I did start taking the Nexium twice a day a couple of days ago per my doc, by he said just for a short time.  My girlfriend is always talking to me about enzymes.  I told her to give me some info on them.  If you have any, please let me know. 

Anyway, thanks for your input and thanks to each one of you who commented.  I take all input into consideration!

God Bless You All!

 

 

 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/31/2007 6:38 AM (GMT -7)   

Cynarra

Hello, I am Kitt............Welcome to HealingWell.

I am sorry you are having trouble with the Gerd but if you found something that works for you and your doctor agrees to continue it, I would have to say your on the right track.

There are so many people here with lots of wonderful advice and support that you will find you soon feel like an oldtime member of this forum.

Again a very warm welcome to you.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
______________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter


Bestillandknow
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/31/2007 7:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Kitt!

I think for those of us who suffer with anxiety issues, a forum such as this is like therapy. At least that's how I view it. By the way, maybe I am feeling better since joining this forum two days ago.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to post on my behalf.
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