Do you think your afib is caused by long te... - AF Association

AF Association

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Do you think your afib is caused by long term anxiety or panic attack?


It’s my observation that many young afibbers had anxiety/panic issue before their first onset of afib. I myself was struggling with high level anxiety and stress for two months before afib hit me. And since afib I can’t let go my anxiety anymore as the condition is said to be incurable.

Anyone feel the same? What can be done to reverse it? Or can it be reversed?

15 Replies

The anxiety or the AF?

Anxiety is something only you can deal with by finding strategies to keep calm such as CBT or mindfulness.

AF can be helped a lot by drugs or ablation or even life style changes. Read all you can so that you are not frightened as knowledge is power to dispel fear. AF Association website is a good place to start.

It is widely accepted any form of palpitations can trigger off a feeling of impending doom and will contribute greatly to panic and anxiety.

The brain and the mind are hugely powerful parts of your body and although we have come a great way in understanding their functionality we still have very little idea of their full capabilities.

CBT, mindfulness, meditation, reiki, yoga and many other ancient practices are all very powerful and can help greatly,the chinese have recognised this for hundreds of years.

The best way is to join a group with people who can help you master these ancient ways if you have a local Buddhist church/temple go along they run a number of courses where you can learn about meditation, relaxation, dealing with stress and many more.

Modern living, the way we eat, what we eat, running around like idiots, multitasking with technology our brains and minds are in overload, our bodies have not evolved as fast as the technology we use we no longer know how to switch off.....all this basically fans the flames of this condition.

Hidden in reply to sportscoach

What a wise and comforting reply sports coach Anxiety and over thinking all my life (a pretty long one by now) has been the cause I am sure of my AF What has helped me lately is the ability of being able to manage my attacks at home and not having to face A&E

Indeed,anxiety or distress is guaranteed to bring on an episode for me. I try and counteract it in several ways.I can take an extra betablocker Bisoprolol in my case,to slow my heartrate down.I can take an extra Flecanaide to settle rhythm,I use breathing techniques learned in a tai chi class,and i try and focus on solutions to what is making me distressed or anxious ,which helps get things in perspective.My motto is This too shall pass.We are told AF is not life threatening in itself,but it can be very scary and we need to have things up our sleeves to keep a sense of perspective.Many people find mindfulness techniques helpful,and someone I know went to counselling,which she ssid was very useful.

I hope you feel in a better place soon.

Anxiety and stress send adrenaline around the body, which sets off the AF. So anything which helps you relax will help, eg getting absorbed in something else.

This is not a fatal disease, it is a condition which means that certain parts of our bodies are not working as well as we would wish. Anything which makes us healthier will help our bodies to function better - moderate exercise, healthy eating (less sugar, less processed food etc), normal weight, no alcohol, no smoking, vitamins, magnesium etc, etc will all help.

I have long term generalised anxiety disorder. I have had scary to extreme panic attacks. Also had two years of various anxiety medications then took a year going through withdrawal from benzodiazepines and quetiapine (for extreme anxiety) THEN first bout of AF hospital etc. etc. That was six years ago. I also have numerous ectopic beats, continually. I finally found a psychologist who helped me, far better than the psychiatrist I had seen on and off for years. Then there was Sanjay Gupta. I have not had AF that I am aware of for two years, I still have ectopics that come and go and as I react badly to beta blockers and other drugs my Cardiologist asked if I could manage to live with it. Since then most of the time I am not aware of the ectopics as when not I in an anxiety state I am not as sensitive to feeling them. I am winning!! I am happy and for the most part anxiety free which for me means AF free. Incurable? Who knows I don,t believe that, also don't believe it gets progressively worse. I am not working now, retired but was a nurse working in cardiology and I know the correlation between anxiety and AF and other heart arrhymia. Controlled breathing exercises for me were the answer, so simple to be overlooked by many. Look at a Sanjay Gupta YouTube presentation on one method, there are several all work, you need to practice and have faith it will work . It has for me. It all may come back as a blip on the radar but it will go again. We all have crosses to bare, you can have longer periods feeling well, good luck

I was almost off benzos and this started and now I dont know--because I do think some of it is anxiety related. Im down to 2.5 mgs a day--or less--but Ive been in afib 2 months now and i just cant stand the anxiety--I also have pvcs--I have had them since my 20s--I really dont know how long Ive had afib--because I thought anything my heart did was pvcs and i accepted it --until the last few months when this has gotten so uncomfortable and ekg etc confirmed it and pvcs--My point is my anxiety has gotten worse with this--It scares me and feels awful--Good for you getting off benzos--Im 70 now so may never get off them--been many years------MmeT

Can I take antihistamine with xarelta

There is no doubt in my mind that a long personal relationship with a psychopath girlfriend of 12 years was the cause of my onset of AF. I try to keep myself out of stressful situations and live a healthy lifestyle.

Hmm Rider you got me thinkin now--because boy Ive made some poor choices too--hang in there--I hear ya. MmeT

Sometimes our "Pickers" are off... but, If we did not have bad relationships we would not know what a good one looks like! :^)

Kinda like I now know what I DONT want huh?? Hope you are doing fine today--MmeT

I'm doing great. Trying to stay in the present and not slide backwards - Can't un ring the bell or beat my self up anymore than I have about bad decisions I made in the past. It's enough dealing with aging these days and keeping AF at bay. Being thankful for the peace I have today. Wish you the same. - Ciao :^)

Hi Rider,Im about where your at--I believe everything happens for a reason-- I like to think it has given me more depth and surely compassion-- Pulling out of unhealthy but sometimes addictive situations and going forward takes courage and strength. --There is no place for self loathing and wondering why... At this point it is futile-Its time for self love and care!!!-Chin up and straight ahead !!! Peace,MmeT

Hi Li :-) we know when we are stressed hormones are released into our bodies, it is normal to have a certain level of stress/anxiety and the bodies can cope with it.

I think the problem arises for some of us when we experience high levels of stress over long periods of time, too much exposure to stress hormones can cause inflammation which is now thought by some doctors to be a contributory factor in many illnesses including heart disease.

I am coping well with my medication and episodes of P-AF seem to be under control however the last bad episode I experienced was when I got very stressed about something.

I try not to allow myself to get stressed these days, I walk away from difficult situations and practice slow controlled breathing. I also eat a good diet/have daily exercise/get plenty of sleep to allow my body to help itself.

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