So in November of 2015, I had my first panic attack. It scared me, to say the least. Three doctors later and a good therapist later, I was doing much better. The doctor at the Med Center I went to in November said that I had acid reflux and that is what caused my panic attack. I am still dumbfounded by this assertion but I have tried to accept it. Even with acceptance, I seemed to have developed this nasty case of GERD/Reflux beginning in January that is very noticeable with extreme belching. I sometimes get nasty pains in my stomach and in my lower bowels. It's annoying and it messes me with me but I try to just focus on the positive and use some techniques I learned in therapy to get through it.
After my first panic attack, I ended up in the ER 3 more times because of panic attacks. I did not have heartburn at the time but I would get the same sensations of my chest and arm hurting and radiating up in my jaw. Each time, did the whole blood work up and EKG, and I was fine.
I made some big lifestyle changes to help with my anxiety.
I started working out again and I have been successful in losing some weight. I need to lose about 10 more pounds but I am down about 25 pounds total since November. I do get some anxiety about working out. The panic attacks brought out some terrible health anxiety related to my cardiovascular system. I think that train of thoughts come from the fact I thought i was having heart attacks when I was having panic attacks so I am worried about having a heart attack. I am 32 and my doctors way that I am totally fine, which is helpful but not completely.
I was taking pepcid AC and my doctor told me to try Prilosec. This seemed to help but I finished the 14 day dose so I didn't want to go past that before seeing my doctor. I have a GI appt scheduled for April 2nd.
In any event, I went to a BBQ fest yesterday and had one pork sandwhich and a beer. Beer and liquor do not seem to affect me in regards to reflux. I drink socially once or twice a week. No more than 4 drinks at a time. I eat very healthy and I watch acidic foods and do my best not to compound my alcohol use with fried foods and other stuff like garlic and tomatoes that give me heartburn. But none the less I think I made a mistake in my lunch choice.,
So last night at about 12:20 a.m. , I woke up and my eyes were blurry and my heart was racing and I was trembling in my arms and legs. I did feel some heartburn when I went to bed but nothing that was debilitating. I got out of bed and woke up my wife because this hasn't happened in some time. I kept thinking my one pupil was bigger than the other. They both were quite dilated and my heart rate was like 130 when it is usually in the high 60's to to mid 70's.
I wasn't stressed at all on Saturday. I had some face tingles and stuff like that, that i have become accustomed to with this anxiety situation I have, which sometimes does flip me out a little bit but I try to stay calm. Therefore, I was shocked when I seemed to have another panic attack last night after a nice day out with my friends.
My question to this forum is, Has this happened to anyone else and did you ever get a diagnosis? To expound on my question, is it possible to have reflux trigger a panic attack or anxiety attack like that? I was able to calm myself down and I got some sleep but it freaked me out. I had been doing so well and this is really the first episode I have had in over a month.
In addition, my therapist who is a PH.D in psychology and specializes in CBT doesn't want to label me. I haven't quite figured this out yet but I have read so much that Generalized Anxiety Disorder and GERD/Reflux are strong bed fellows. I mean at 32 you try to figure out who you are and this panic attack situation is just bizarre because I never had one in 32 years prior to this. I never had reflux, I never had panic. My primary doctor things I have a panic disorder. He tried pills (zoloft and prozac) but they made my mental state worse. Zoloft made me feel so high that I sat and ate a bag of grapes. Like a whole bag of grapes and Prozac made me contemplate all sorts of things I do not want to thing about ever again.
I am trying to stay positive but waking up terrified isn't funny especially with a five year old daughter and a pregnant wife.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again!