Posted 2/6/2012 10:27 AM (GMT -7)
In my opinion and experience, I think it comes down to this—people who suffer anxiety often DON’T know and can’t distinguish the difference, hence the perpetuation of a great deal of the anxiety they deal with, as a great many of us suffer health anxiety. I’ve been personally going through an experience like this over the last couple of weeks.
However, I do believe that sometimes one can begin to tell the difference simply by experience—they’ve been through it so many times that they can be fairly certain that it’s their anxiety up to its old tricks. Of course, it’s not a good idea to become complacent and not get checked out when the symptoms flare up and persist… but it seems like most of the time, these episodes are revealed to be nothing more than anxiety, and often begin to wane after a brief period of time, or with distraction. You’ll find a lot of people that worry about this kind of thing HAVE been to the doctors and have been given a pretty clean bill of health.
Please keep in mind that I am not a physician and I can’t advise anyone one way or another, but this is my personal opinion on the issue. I’ve dealt with anxiety for a long time, and I’ve gotten much better at identifying when my anxiety is exacerbating particular symptoms, and with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy, as well. I go to the doctor when I believe there’s something to be concerned about (and sometimes, admittedly, when anxiety is getting the best of me), and I am always conscious of the fact that anxiety can wreak havoc on the body—my therapist just told me last week that anxiety can be way more harmful to your body than any drug out there. It’s a simple statement, but it helped to make the issue a little clearer in my head.
It’s always a good idea to see the doc just to rule out anything, but then we have the responsibility to trust our doctors in the event that nothing is wrong, as this is where many anxiety sufferers have difficulty. I know I do!
But I’d say that if one is having symptoms and they’ve never seen a doctor about them before, it’s a good idea to get checked out, just to be sure. If the doctor says they’re fine, then perhaps they’ll have a more reasonable basis to work from next time those symptoms happen and they can make a more informed decision. It’s easier said than done when it comes to anxiety, but re-training ourselves on how to think and react to these things is generally how we get better.
Hope this helped and good luck!