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Seizures, POTS, and Panic Attacks


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#1 Deb

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Posted 17 April 2004 - 11:31 AM

I've been experiencing trembling and shaking episodes that resemble seisures except that I am fully cognizant when they happen, even though I usually can't talk because my head and or my jaw are shaking so much. And they always start on my right side. I had all the tests to rule out epilepsy, etc. so I know my heart and brain and lungs, etc. are okay. Most of the episodes happen at home, but I've had three at work. I was taken to the ER twice by my co-workers because they were scared that I was having a swizure. I also saw my POTS specialist at UVA, my GP, and a psychiatrist. Each of them said it was anxiety. I was so upset by this that I had resolved not to mention the episodes any more and hope that I didn't get any more at work. How silly is that?

I really wanted to find another cause for the episodes, so I started searching for everything I could find about POTS symptoms. I have learned a lot about POTS and that each person is different, and yet very similar in their symptoms. And, after reading everything I could find, I have come to realize that POTS has changed my body. It isn't the body I had two years ago. I react differently to things now; more precisely, I overreact to things now. And isn't that what anxiety does to a body? Cause you to overreact? When I have one of the seizure-like episodes, it always starts out with a feeling of lightheadedness and then my heart rate jumps up and I feel like I can't breathe, and then the trembling starts. That is almost classic panic attack symptoms.

I resisted this diagnosis vehemetly, as many of you have, because I am such a laid-back, easy-going person. I don't hold grudges or get stressed out so it was hard for me, my husband, friends, and other family members to believe, much less accept, that I had an anxiety problem. But you know what? I do have an anxiety problem, and many, if not most people with POTS do. I have finally accepted that and I think those shaking episodes are panic attacks, just like the doctors said. Some of you have written that you have these episodes, too, and they seem to be triggered by things like foods or over-exertion, but I wasn't able to find a trigger for mine. For me, I think it's anxiety.

I am finally starting to feel a little better. I was put on Zoloft about six weeks ago after the psychiatrist diagnosed me with anxiety problems. I started with 25 mg and then went to 50 and then 75, and I just upped it to 100 mg. And you know what? The shaking episodes/panic attacks have lessened up, and I've gotten back to my cheery self again. I'm not so blinded that I believe I am cured or anything so simplistic, but I am so hoping that I'll have a few more good days now.

I hope that this helps some of you that have been resisting taking SSRIs. What helps me won't help everyone, but it may help some. That's my hope for you and my reason for sharing this story.

#2 pamyla

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 03:27 PM

Hi Deb, thanks for sharing. I've also had problems with anxiety. I suppose it could be the pots or it could be actually anxiety - it all seems to blend for me :rolleyes: But either way, whatever it is, it doesn't make you feel very good. While the SSRI's may not be for everyone I also take zoloft and find that it helps me.

Glad to hear you're feeling better.
Pam

#3 Ladybug

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 04:36 PM

I have full blown seizures- where my whole body shakes and I'm not conscious. Like you, I can't find a trigger. I've also had the full work-up, and all they could conclude was that I had "non-epiliptic" seizures. I've never connected it to anxiety, but its an interesting thought. I take Prozac, and it has been uped, but I still have seizures. Does Zoloft work differently than Prozac in this instance?

#4 Sak

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 08:12 PM

I used to have 2-3 panic attacks a week, or more. The triggers were refined sugars and gluten; once they were eliminated from my diet, the panic vanished. These substances are like poison to the systems of some people. I can eat evaporated cane juice (organic sugar) in small quantites, but if I overdo it, I get anxious. But no wheat, gluten, or anything resembling refined carbs for me!

#5 Deb

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 08:20 AM

Hi Ladybug,

I don't think Prozac works differently than Zoloft. They, along with Paxil and Celexa are SSRIs. They are used to treat hypotension and syncope. But, some people do better on one than another. Zoloft is used for depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, to name a few. I couldn't take Paxil. It made my seizure episodes MUCH worse. In fact they started while I was on Paxil. I seem to be able to tolerate Zoloft better. Those are the only two I've been given to try. I have noticed that when my dosage is increased (with the Paxil and the Zoloft) that I have several days of shaking and trembling along with some numbness in my fingers and toes and, this sounds weird, I also have sharp pains that hit my right big toe, or my right hip or my right eye. Thankfully it doesn't last long before my body gets used to the increase.

I hope you find something that will help you. I'm still trying to connect food with the episodes, but it's hard because I also have diarrhia that I'm trying to find a trigger for, too.

Even with all of the things that don't work quite right, when I have a day that I feel good, it's like a present. Good Luck!