Panic attacks about acid reflux...HELP!!!

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greeneyed girl
New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 11/16/2007 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,
I am new to HW and have posted a couple times in the GERD forum and have been lurking here for a while now.  I'm glad I found you all, as it's good know others are going through similar things, and learn how they handle them.  I am 28 and have had anxiety in various degrees for most of my life.  I have also had panic attacks that have mostly been about health issues.  When I'm feeling healthy, I don't really have them, but when I am not feeling well, my anxiety goes way up, and sometimes I do panic, as I have been lately. 
I mentioned on the GERD board that several months ago I started having this terrible lump in my throat that wouldn't go up or down, soreness, scratchiness, constant throat clearing, and this horrible feeling like my throat was closing up.  Then I started having chest pains that landed me in the ER about a month ago.  Several doctors and failed meds like allergy meds and protonix led me to a GI doc, and I am now waiting on endoscopy results and a 48-hr ph test to confirm that I think I have GERD.  The waiting is killing me!!!  Well, the GI doc went ahead and put me on Zegerid, which has helped with my chest pain and a lot of the heartburn feeling, but my throat trouble feels like it's getting worse.  I keep having these episodes where I feel like I've swallowed a golf ball, and like my throat is going to close up.  I have lots of post nasal drip, and I feel like my airway is constricted and my throat and chest feel really tight.  My throat feels irritated pretty much all the time now, but when I feel it start to swell up, I start to really panic, that my throat is just going to close up, and I'm going to die.  I start crying and shaking, and I feel like time is standing still.  Normally, when I have had panic attacks, I would concentrate on my breathing, but when it is my breathing and throat that is scaring me, I don't know what to do!  I've had this happen to me in the car several times lately, and then I panic even more, because I feel so trapped in the car.  Last night I was home alone, and had a bad one, and was awake half the night.  I called my mom, who is 3 hrs away, and kept her up with me for at least an hr. 
I am not on an anxiety med at the moment because I am afraid of taking lots of pills because I always get side effects, and I am already on PPI's for my GERD and I'm afraid to take anything else.  The last time I took Xanax it knocked me out, and I have taken Lorazopam a couple times, but I don't know if it's OK to take it with Zegerid.  Do you think it would be ok to take it?  How do I handle this panic until I find out what is wrong with me and while I wait for the GI doc to call, and what if he tells me nothing is wrong or sends me to another doctor!!!  Does anyone else have panic attacks over breathing or throat problems?   I'm sorry for the long post, but if you're still there, many thanks for listening.  eyes

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/16/2007 8:15 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey there, sorry I missed this post but I responded to your last one which was the information on the results of your tests.

Keep posting and know we support you.


Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression, GERD, Osteoarthritis
*Wife of a Crohnie*
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 11/18/2007 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I certainly can't give you advice on your medicines, but ways to deal with panic if your breathing is bothering you.  Could you try watching tv or playing games on the computers to focus away from the breathing. Also, you njeed to find out if the breathing problems are a medical problem versus anxiety.  When I get really bad panic and breathing (which I know is what you can't do) exercises aren't working, I tend to play computer games that keep my mind stimulated on something else.  This is partly in the breathing category by my therapist asked me to put my hand on my belly while I'm breathing to try and calm me down.  She said to place one hand on the area you feel the panic and work thru it.  You could try that on your chest or your throat to try and soothe things.
It's hard having anxiety attacks and when you think you can't breathe and feel like you might be suffocating, that is even harder.
Good luck w/ your upcoming appts.  Hope everything goes well.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 11/18/2007 1:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not qualified to say you have GERD, but those are all GERD symptoms (post nasal drip, difficulty swallowing, tight chest, irritated throat). And some of them are anxiety symptoms, too.

A lot of people who have anxiety have both, as do I, and as far as I'm concerned each condition makes the other worse. If you successfully treat one condition, the other will probably get at least a little better. If you treat both, obviously you'll get a lot better.

When I was first prescribed Klonopin, I was scared to death to take it. At the time I was on Prevacid, and somehow got it in my head that IT was CAUSING my A/P (made no sense, I know) and I stopped taking it. Well, after a week or so, my GERD got so bad that my A/P was even more unbearable, so after several weeks of staring at the Klonopin bottle I finally took it. Within a couple of days BOTH issues got much, much better. Then in a week or two the GERD returned and I went back on the Prevacid.

Prevacid alone helped, but never worked all that well until I started the Klonopin. Together they worked a charm.

But recently I've switched insurance, and as long as a PPI is on the market OTC (Prilosec OTC), they will not cover Prevacid or any other PPI. I've been shelling out the dough for Prilosec, which isn't cheap, and have still seen a return of GERD symptoms. And, with that, an increase in anxiety.

I wish there were more clinical research about the relationship between these two conditions.
BRAINFRIENDENEMY is no longer an A/P blog:
BRAINFRIENDENEMY2 is now an A/P blog, though:

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