Palps/GI related issues linked with anxiety

Hello all, i read this small article about anxiety palps, i hope it will give you a bit of insight if you are experiencing anything like it:

The type of palpitations being experienced by members to this forum result from wayward and untimely stimulation of the vagus nerve, most predominantly at the level of the pneumogastric nerve which innervates the stomach and GI tract. This stimulation, arises in the form of evoked potentials, or electrical signals, that travel along the vagus nerve to all terminal ends. Although all terminal ends of the vagus nerve receive the signal, the heart is unique in that it is a muscle as well as an organ. It's characteristic movements and activity during the vagal stimulation is keenly felt.

Furthermore, it is the result of a parasympathetic nervous response that is part of the fight or flight physiological reaction by the body. In cases where chronic stress, anxiety or panic disorders may be present, this system is sort of constantly activated and produces physiological changes that are being entirely misconstrued by patients as symptoms of disease of some type. Realize that these very same physiological responses, including palpitations, occur without exception in persons where the fight or flight response is appropriate, ie the presence of danger, being suddenly frightened or startled or the recognition of intense psychological trauma.

People who are frightened for instance, will very often claim that the event made their heart skip a beat or jump out of their chest, pound wildly or even seemingly stop their heart. You need to understand that what these people are describing is a benign palpitation of the very same type you and the others are experiencing, with the single exception that because it's directly related to a frightening or startling event, it is accepted as being entirely normal.

When people are frightened, their skin crawls, they may sweat, sense a sinking feeling or butterfly sensation in their stomach, become light-headed, possibly even faint, tingling sensations of the extremities, rapid heart rate or pounding heart and again, palpitations. All of these physiological events are the consequence of the fight or flight reaction by the body which increases epinephrine (adrenaline) and produces elevated awareness and vigilence so that the body is prepared to either defend itself from the threat or be able to run fast enough to escape harm.

In persons with anxiety disorder, this fight or flight mechanism is constantly engaged at a variable level, thereby producing constant physiological change. It is the collection of changes that patients misinterpret as something going very wrong with the body, or that it constitutes signs of serious disease, despite a multitude of tests which all turn up negative. Indeed, this cycle can produce a very intense health anxiety because fear is established which makes the affected individual feel insecure and uncertain, with irrational beliefs that something dreadful may take place at an entirely unpredictable moment, subsequently robbing them of their outlook and the life they work so diligently to protect from uncertainty. Their loved ones will suddenly be abandoned and without the tireless support provided by the affected individual, who constantly strives to prevent bad things from happening to their loved ones far in advance of the actual timeframe within the real world.

The pattern establishes a constant apprehension and fear, which the brain interprets as danger, consequently invoking the fight or flight mechanism, despite the fact that no true danger exists at all, but merely irrational fears about the future. Nevertheless, the brain interprets the danger to be real and responds accordingly. The patient, who misinterprets the changes as symptoms, becomes convinced that the underlying cause is disease and they become increasingly frustrated because endless diagnostic tests fail to identify the cause.

The cause does not exist. This is why the tests are repeatedly negative and people with anxiety disorder feel compelled to turn away from the facts and alternatively trust their instincts, which are entirely misguided based upon a lack of understanding of what is actually taking place with regard to their physiology. People with health anxiety are also compelled to equate physical symptoms with physical disease and their minds refuse to understand that physical symptoms absolutely do not equate with disease. It is not a direct relationship.

So the answer lies not in trying to take a handful of magnesium tablets, or a bottle of probiotics, or chiropractic manipulation to address the problem, but rather to effectively understand the actual nature of the underlying cause, which has nothing whatsoever to do with disease of any kind. It is about learning to trust the medical evidence rather than irrational beliefs, about learning to realize when the senses are unreliable and that when tests are negative, it doesn't mean positive but just not detected. It literally means negative.

It's about letting go of false belief patterns and reclaiming your lives.

15 Replies

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  • Hi rouri. Was this article written by someone who has been through the "sausage machine"? I very much doubt it. OK. So I have read all this and what do I do? I still wake up in the night in fear and dread of the palpitations (I do not any more but a lot do). Do I read the article then turn over and go to sleep? I understand the nature of the palpitations from the article but I still have them. I am not interested in Vagus nerves etc, I just want relief from this terrible feeling. What do I do? There is one simple word; and as dear old Dr. Weekes used to say "It does not matter if you forget all the rest, just remember that one little word, "ACCEPT, ACCEPT, ACCEPT". Jonathan

  • And just to add, because you know what something is doesn't make it go away, if it were all that simple we would all be perfectly fine and there would be a good few less Doctors who are so called "Specialists" or "Experts" in this field..

    When you don't suffer from something, it's so easy to disregard it as nothing, but any and all help is welcome.

  • i know and i do agree, i still suffer from them, i had the Linden Method and they said whenever you have them just splash your face with cold water and this makes your heart racing slow down a bit as it will think that is some sort of drowning and will slow down for survival. as well as cold water and cold apple will do the job.

    most of the time i get them suddenly and if in bed and wants to sleep i don't want to splash my face with cold water as it will wake me up.

    i still get like some sort of elctric feeling (not for long) just for seconds and makes me tired sometimes.

    the scary thing is when you get them when you are not expecting them.

    the only thing i found it interesting is the gastric thing about the article, as it seems as well when i walk fast something inside me or in my large intestine moves upwards to my chest and i feel like some sort of bubles/palps/shaky can't explain it which scares me a lot, if i don't control myself i cause myself a panice attack.

    sometimes it comes from nowhere, sometimes after or before going to toilet. so i guess my problem is realted to my GI track!!

    nice to hear from you guys

    big hug

    rouri

  • Hi rouri. You know the definition of an "expert"? X is an unknown factor and a "spert" is a drip under pressure! Beware of the experts because unless they have been there they do not know. anxman is right, because you know the cause of some symptom it does not necessarily help and only TIME and ACCEPTANCE can be the answer. It is amazing what the body can do when you are in an anxiety state. 99.9% of it is in the mind and if you have been checked by your GP and told it is "nerves" then take their word for it and just accept the way you feel. Do not fight "IT". Good luck. I hope you feel better soon. jonathan.

  • Hi Rouri. I think this is a great article. It explains how anxiety can affect our life. It is also important to know the term 'psychosomatic disorder' i.e when mental factors cause physical symptoms, but where there is no physical disease. For example, a chest pain may be caused by stress, and no physical disease found; same thing may be happening with your GI problem.

    It is well known that the mind can cause physical symptoms. For example, when we are afraid or anxious we may develop: a fast heart rate, palpitations, feeling sick, shaking (tremor), sweating, dry mouth, chest pain, headaches, a knot in the stomach, and fast breathing. These physical symptoms are due to increased activity of nervous impulses sent from the brain to various parts of the body, and to the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream when we are anxious. The reverse may also happen depending on our subconscious mind. A physical symptom can also trigger anxiety. Very often this can turn into a vicious circle affecting our quality of life to greater extent. This is why it is sometimes better to deal with the problem at subconscious level. Learning sometimes don't help in anxiety because the mind doesn't think right in crisis.

    As an example, something that struck me most as a therapist was the case of someone having fear of buttons on clothing known as button phobia or koumpounophobia. It may seem an irrational phobia but surprisingly,it is a fairly common fear that affect so many people's life. We can say 'its only a button'. How can someone fear buttons? I can say that the severity to the phobia can be very upsetting; ranging from cringing when others wear buttons, not wanting to breathe next to buttons in fear of inhaling one or even vomiting. Those suffering from this phobia think that they are the only ones suffering from such a strange fear like we sometimes do with our anxiety.

    I believe that Irrational fears and many anxieties are due to traumatic happenings in our past and these can be resolved at the subconscious level.

  • very true and thx a lot for taking time to reply and read the article, i know that you are very busy. i hope you are feeling better dear.

    so i do agree that this should be treated subconsciously but are we saying that hypno now is the solution for this?

    waht is the overall solution?

    rouri

  • Hi Deoch. I very much question this subconscious process that many therapists consider to be vital to recovery. Many people (especially in America) spend a small fortune on psychotherapy and seem no better. Freud, Jung and Adler proposed the idea, with various modifications, that if we resolved our past traumas we would recover. The idea of psychoanalisis is not new, and it only has varying degrees of success. Surely our subconscious is still our consciousness. Why do we divide it into conscious and subconscious? Yes I know all about suppression, the "shadow" etc but it helped me not one little bit. It is the present sensitisation that needs to be resolved. OK. (This is hypothetical) My Mother was a prostitute and that is why I have the feeings of Agoraphobia! But knowing this does not allow me any more freedom than it did before. I am still afraid to go out. So what do I do? Looking for hidden causes can sometimes cause more anxiety in a person who is already in an anxiety state. Once you show them the problems from the past then you have to deal with the guilt that most develop. I spent many years counselling but it did not stop me getting GAD. "Physician heal thyself " is very appropriate in the circumstances. It was sensitisation due to my,then, present problems that caused my trouble. This is a personal view not necessarily shared by others and I make no claim to originality. This discussion has been going on for over a century and I suppose will continue. jonathan.

  • Absolutely fascinating wonderful blogs! Although I feel as if I could fold myself up small enough to fit into a match box today. Thank you Jonathan for giving me a giggle : ) even though I am in the middle of the "sausage machine"........ I will never look at a sausage the same way again LOL. Oh Bless Us All xxxxxxxx

  • Hi ellabella. If I can give someone in an anxiety state a giggle then I have indeed achieved something wonderful. Thank you and blessings. jonathan.

  • hi ive been reading all your blogs and they are fascinating i have anxiety and been suffering for around twenty years the phyisical symptoms are hurrendous as we know how ever the palpitations i find very hard to deal with i had one today my heart feels like it stops and starts up again im so convinced it just will stop and thats it feels like its comming from my stomach i told my gp and he said the aota prob got the wrong word but he says it runs by your stomach wherever it runs its very frighting

  • very sorry to hear this, i didn't understand what the GP said? the thing is if you make yourself believe that nothing will happen to you, you lived with it for 20 years and thx God nothing major happened, therefore try to reassure yourself that what you are feeling is just anxiety symptoms, i know it is frustrating, i do get upset really when i get them and feeling like giving up but then i think of people less fortunate than me and thx God that i am working and able to make ends meet.

    big hug

    xx

  • Hi pindi. Forget vagus nerves, spinal columns, nerves running through your stomach etc. etc. You are in an anxiety state and knowing all this medical jargon, although it seems important to some people, will not help, in fact it sometimes frightens people and the last thing you want is to be frightened! You are not a medical student so forget it and concentrate on what really matters. Getting yourself well.Your present sensitisation needs healing. Your GP will offer advice and medication but unless they have "been there" it is impossible for them to know how you feel. Be guided by them of course, but accept that there are ways out of your state that they know nothing about. As I said, forget all the anatomical theory and ACCEPT the way you feel. Go with it, do not FIGHT "IT". Palpitations are harmless. If you have been told by your doctors your heart is OK then believe them. Let the "palps" come, go with them, ACCEPT them for what they are. A sensitised body reacting to stress. If you won a million pounds your heart might well palpitate. Would it worry you then? I think not! Go along one route and stick to it. Do not be sidetracked however interesting the "theories" may be. I do hope you are feeling better. Even after many many years of suffering it is still possible to recover so do not be disheartened. Blessings and good wishes to you. jonathan.

  • hi jonathan

    thanks for your reply i am still having palps maybe a few a week i try not to let it worry me to much which can be hard as they are horrid but i keep my chin up thanks again

  • Hi Rouri. I am ok thanks. Yes, I am very busy as always. I wish I could spend more time reading all the posts on this site, learn more and the opportunity to help more people. I believe this is a great place to share your views and learn about other people's experience. I wish I knew about this site when I started suffering from anxiety. I understand everything you write here because I have been there. You have heard about 'we are what we eat'. I would say 'we are what anxiety made of us'.

    Understanding the mind is quite complex because it requires us to be in the right frame of mind. Most people believe in detoxifying the body. Detoxification is an alternative medicine approach that proponents claim rids the body of "toxins", accumulated harmful substances that are alleged to exert undesirable effects on individual health. We are then advised to eat healthily in order to avoid more loads on the system.

    How about the mind? Doesn't it need detoxifying? If so, how do we do it? The subconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside our conscious awareness. It is believed that the subconscious are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. It continues to influence our behaviour and experience, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences. Doesn't it need to be dealt with if it is affecting our life?

    How do we do it? I have seen many people relieved from their anxiety/ emotions after effectively dealing with their problems at the subconscious level. I believe that an effective way of doing it is through regression therapy. Often the origins of emotional and sometimes psychosomatic physical problems go back to experiences in the past and quite often during childhood when we are more impressionable. The mind is so complex that very often a minute hidden event in our life may be the cause of our anxiety. Regression can bring us to that particular event where we can deal with it subconsciously.

    It is my experience and opinion. Some people have their own coping strategies. Whatever works best for you. Be blessed :) I hope you all feel better. Deo

  • You should all try a thing called "Binaural Beats", these computer generated sound files are said to massage your brain and produce all sorts of effects, and are excellent for stress/ depression/ anxiety disorders. A binaural beat is created by playing a different tone in each ear through headphones, and the interference pattern between the slightly differing frequencies creates the illusion of a beat. It's completely safe and scientifically proven - google it!!

    If you search the Internet for "binaural beats" you'll quickly find there's a whole industry built on the idea that listening to binaural beats can produce all kinds of desired effects in your brain. It can alter your mood, help you follow a diet or stop smoking, get you pumped up for a competition, calm you down, put you to sleep, enhance your memory, act as an aphrodisiac, cure headaches, and even balance your chakras;-)

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