Anxiety/panic attacks before coming down with CFS

Mrparadise

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Before I came down with CFS I have suffered from panic attacks almost daily and really high levely of anxiety in general. I wanted to ask you guys if this is something unique with me or if this is a pattern seen in some others with ME/CFS?
 

ljimbo423

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Before I came down with CFS I have suffered from panic attacks almost daily and really high levely of anxiety in general. I wanted to ask you guys if this is something unique with me or if this is a pattern seen in some others with ME/CFS?
I also had anxiety attacks and very high anxiety, years before I developed ME/CFS. I'm more convinced than ever that very high levels of anxiety, have and are playing a big role in causing/maintaining my ME/CFS.

There are a lot of people here that were highly driven type "A" personalities before they developed ME/CFS. My guess is, a lot of type "A" people are driven by anxiety and stress.
 

Mrparadise

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Many thanks to both of you for the quick answers! Do you think that this would define a subtype/subgroup of CFS? For me the paradoxon with sleep and the high anxiety/panic attacks (before CFS) are thing that I really want to investigate further because they seem key to me.
 

ljimbo423

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Do you think that this would define a subtype/subgroup of CFS?
I do. I've been treating my ME/CFS for years and aggressively for almost 4 years. I have made big improvements but seem to be "stuck" at a level "6" on the disability scale and have been for 2 years or so.

I think I'm stuck because high anxiety and stress are keeping my gut messed up (sibo and leaky gut) and it's probably doing other things to that are contributing to maintaining my ME/CFS.
 

Hip

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Do you think that this would define a subtype/subgroup of CFS?
Major chronic stress (like from bereavement, divorce, or major money woes) just before ME/CFS hits has been found more frequently in ME/CFS patients in several studies. This suggests major chronic stress could be a risk factor for developing ME/CFS.

This does make some sense, because major chronic stress weakens antiviral immunity, so if you were unlucky enough to catch a virus during a time of major stress, your immune system may have a harder time dealing with the virus, and conceivably, this may allow the virus the freedom to infect critical organs like the brain, thus leading to ME/CFS.

Now, if you have generalized anxiety disorder, it may be that you get stressed even with more minor stressors. So maybe some people with GAD are always chronically stressed, and this in turn might weaken immunity. Thus possibly GAD might be a ME/CFS risk factor.

That said, I have not come across any studies showing that GAD is a risk for developing ME/CFS.


Also, there's not much evidence to suggest that treating GAD will fix ME/CFS. Although GAD and panic disorder can be extremely unpleasant when moderate to severe, so treating them does greatly improve quality of life.
 

Wolfcub

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I hadn't been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. But I do remember for a few years before ME/CFS occasionally I would have the most rotten night where I would feel an awful icy cold "pressure" come over me emotionally, and it made me feel dreadfully anxious, claustrophobic, and I couldn't sleep. All I could do was get up, focus on my breathing and have a hot drink. They would make me shake and shiver, and always happened in the night when I lay down to go to sleep.
Looking back, I am now sure they were anxiety attacks.
 

Mrparadise

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Highly interesting, many thanks guys for the valuable information!

@ljimbo423 Could you maybe point out what has helped you the most so far?

@Hip I am pretty surprised that there isn't any study regarding GAD as a risk factor for ME/CFS.

@Wolfcub I had a similar sensation shortly before I came down with CFS. Whenever I was about to drift off to sleep, I had a short but strong panic attack (happened every time shortly before I was supposed to drift off). I had to take benzos back then because it was horrible...
 

Judee

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Yes, I did but looking back I think the disease was already at work in me by age 10-12 and making me feel more vulnerable anytime I had to deal with the world and all the chemicals in it. (I developed MCS-multiple chemical sensitivities.)

I think that's what led to my panic attacks so I don't think the anxiety came first. I think the disease did.
 
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There are a lot of people here that were highly driven type "A" personalities before they developed ME/CFS. My guess is, a lot of type "A" people are driven by anxiety and stress.
So yes that would also be me, career wise and for around 50 years. I've got the chronic Eppstein barr issue- I know I have this something..but I also have this motivation and drive and keen focus on my particular avenue of activity that was far stronger than most anyone else I ever met or worked with.

But no, I would not describe it as driven by anxiety and stress. But if you care about it, you''ll feel it. You'll be affected by the outcome.

The ones' who are lazy or not putting much of themselves into the effort- they arent' awake at 2 am. They don't really "care much" about the outcome of whatever it is. They just sort of plod along.

This topic then raises the following worth mentioning again- EG : the MENSA Study. These folks have a much higher rate of autoimmune disorders. They also- live longer. It appears there is a strong genetic link between IQ and mortality/longevity.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3682517

There are also these types of issues as described here as Overexcitabilities...in gifted children. I definately fell into the intellecual category as described in the link below. I was not "gifted" per se...but above average...

https://www.verywellfamily.com/dabrowskis-overexcitabilities-in-gifted-children-1449118
 
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I am pretty surprised that there isn't any study regarding GAD as a risk factor for ME/CFS.
This comment made me think the following thought: we have our illness, largely undiagnosed. There remains no diagnostic test, no way to define possible subgroups. And its the 21st century.

Next, GAD is- well gosh I'm worried, Gee I should worry less. Oh this is worrisome. So just how easy is it to really pin down GAD, and then really pin down ME, and then really pin down the effects of one on the other. Who signs up to conduct that study?

There is a CFS expert in Australia - he discusses that its the people who Have the Answer. Our hand goes up...we have the answer. We are who get CFS. My hand was always going up. And I"d go to meetings where everybody else is asleep, and your the only one paying attention.

Sorry- I paid too much attention, it seems.
 

ljimbo423

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@ljimbo423 Could you maybe point out what has helped you the most so far?
Treating SIBO/dysbiosis is by far, what has and is helping me the most. I'm also treating mitochondrial dysfunction and low grade neuro-inflammation, that helps.

But I've treated mito. dysfunction and neuro-inflammation before, long term, with little to no help. What is making the biggest difference is the addition of treating my gut. Which I think is where it all started.
 

kday

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At least for my ME, anxiety and panic were big symptoms. I think shouldn't be surprising as I believe that many have symptoms of chemical sensitivity and neurotoxicity. And a neurotoxic chemical exposure (such as pesticides, etc) can put the sympathetic or parasympathetic into overdrive (depending on the chemical exposure). It would be unreasonable to believe that the increased sympathetic activity and hypervigilance often seen in ME/CFS wouldn't lead to an increase in organic anxiety and panic disorders. Add add the increase in serotonin from the metabolic trap to the equation, and it's no wonder! It's like we have to resist a permanent state of akathisia since activity makes us crash.

I know it may be slightly controversial to mention the neurotoxicity aspect of the illness, but I think many would agree as they can perceive that it is present. We seem to have problems regulating GABA, serotonin, and alpha/beta adrenergic receptor activity (perhaps from the combination of infection, toxicity, associated autoantibodies, as well as the metabolic trap).
 
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Mrparadise

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@ljimbo423 Is it the diet itself which has helped you the most so far or did you use antibiotics and other stuff to treat your gut?

@kday Interesting post. Actually I had no idea what the metabolic tral hypothesis is but I googled it some minutes before. Do you guys think that this could be it? Is it likely to be the key to ME/CFS or do you think OMF or other researchers have better therories so far?

Acutally I dont know what was first but I thought that I am the only one who had panic attacks straight before coming down with ME/CFS.
 

ljimbo423

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@ljimbo423 Is it the diet itself which has helped you the most so far or did you use antibiotics and other stuff to treat your gut?
Diet is absolutely crucial, I learned that the hard way. But I did take 2 courses of Rifaximin when I started to consistently treat dysbiosis and leaky gut.

I also have been and still am taking herbs that kill off inflammatory bacteria in my gut. Herbs like oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, neem, berberine and others.