Stomach and anxiety?

Hey there,

I have been suffering terribly since August and would love to know if anyone has any issues with their stomach during panic attacks. This is fairly new to me since until August I had a relatively strong stomach and my appetite would not be affected too much about anxiety, consciously anyway.

I went on 2 courses of antibiotics, and the second one made me sick on the final night of taking them. I then had retching for weeks after because I had oral thrush (from antibiotics), a dry mouth and found I couldn't eat much. Since then, I have had waves of anxiety, burping constantly after I eat, indigestion, nausea after eating, I wake up and my stomach churns on anxious weeks. I sometimes feel panicky and like I can't organise my thoughts.

My GP has been really helpful and says I have anticipatory nausea before eating, acid reflux and reflux oesophagitis. The problem is, meds aren't making this go away. I'll calm down for a few weeks and if I experience some symptoms I will end up having a panic attack further down the line. When this occurs I sleep less and end up waking at silly o clock in the morning unable to sleep.

I have had anxiety for years and it's never been like this. I am scared in my own body, scared to eat and scared to sleep. The burping and nausea only happen every couple of days but when they do I can't concentrate on anything else. Usually meditation works but the tight throat and the nausea are things I really want to escape from and meditation brings me too much into my body at the moment.

I don't know what to do. I honestly feel trapped in my own skin. I have health anxiety and OCD and the vomiting episode and health scares previously in the year have just caused me to lose my mind.

Thanks,

Marj

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4 Replies

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  • Hi Marj, in her book 'Self help for your nerves' Doctor Claire Weekes makes the point that the stomach is the most sympathetic organ in the body when it comes to anxiety. In your case two courses of antibiotics didn't help, no doubt because antibiotics can't help a stomach reacting to anxiety. And by killing all your good intestinal flora they probably made the problem worse.

    What you should do now is to acknowledge that your bad feelings and other symptoms all have a single source which is anxiety. You've been stressed and worried for some time and your body has had enough so it rebels by causing your nervous system to become over sensitive. As a result you experience your stomach upsets as well as feelings of dread and panic. Anxiety is very good at impersonating organic illness like the nausea, vomiting and tight throat that you describe.

    Things like tranquillisers and anti-depressants can be helpful at masking the symptoms but they won't provide you with a cure. But there is a cure though it's not a quick fix and it will require perseverance by you.

    The first thing is to stop fighting the symptoms and constantly testing yourself to see how you're doing today. Fighting makes you more tense and produces more anxiety - stop fighting and for the time being accept the symptoms you've described know full well they are just blips in your tired nervous system and not real organic illness. So let the bad feelings come, even the panic attacks, knowing that they are not life threatening and can't damage your body because they are FRAUDS. With this reassurance in mind you can ACCEPT the bad feelings and when you feel them coming feel every muscle in your body relax and let them rush past you. Even though you still feel lousy laugh in their face as they go by because you know their secret, they are not real but FAKES.

    If you can cultivate Acceptance and stop the initial fear turning into second fear you will begin to break the vicious circle of anxiety causing symptoms causing more anxiety causing more symptoms etcetera - and eventually your nervous system will become less and less sensitised and you will be well on the road to a full recovery.

    Look Marj, I've gone on a bit so let me conclude by saying that that book I mentioned in the first line is a 'must read' for you, it fully explains Acceptance and how our nervous systems work, you will soon recognise yourself in its pages and it will bring an end to your bewilderment, but it will point you in the right direction for self healing, only you can do it, nobody can do that for you and it takes time and I know you want an instant cure. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one short step - and for you that first step is to visit Amazon for that book.

  • P.S., Marj, for nausea nothing beats a mug of thinly sliced ginger root infused with hot water, in clinical tests it was found to be more effective in curing nausea in people undergoing chemotherapy than the usual pharmaceutical meds.

  • Fantastic response Jeff, Thank you!

  • Yes I experience it alot

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