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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2418
Experience:  GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
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Ive suffered all my life with really bad anxiety attacks,

Customer Question

I've suffered all my life with really bad anxiety attacks, often I'll have a headache before them, and they'll lead to overreacting and bouts of anxiety. I'll tend to feel guilty and sad about them because I don't feel in control when it's happening. The interesting part is that I seem to have building tinnitus/headaches before the anxiety occurs.

I've had an MRI and I have a missing septum pellucidum, I may have other abnormalities but the doctors weren't very forthcoming about my results. It's been hard to get a straight answer besides the expected optic nerve degradation, so I'm at a bit of a loss, and I'm not sure where to go from here.

Worth noting is that I've had the panic attacks since I was a very young child, and back then they used to lead to fits. These days it's more just overreacting and massive anxiety, I'll react badly to something in a big way and then it'll just subside. The headache and tinnitus will slowly subside after, too.

I tend to have one every few days, like clockwork, but sometimes I get lucky and they remain at bay for a while. I find that noise and bright light all add to the chance that I'll have a panic attack, so I've picked up a small amount of agoraphobia because of this, as I don't want to expose myself to extra stimulus. That can actually be a cause of building anxiety -- too much stimulus, it can feel like my brain is on fire, sometimes.

I've also noticed something which I can only think to describe as a mild case of autism, where I'll be highly unnerved if my living space changes for any reason, and I'll have the urge to put it back as it was. I'll obsess about doing so until things feel right again. I'm also overly attached to things in my living space and I have a hard time parting with things, someone nagging me to do so can bring on a panic attack.

Medication hasn't helped with the panic attacks.

To try to wrap up and explain better, I suppose the best way to describe it is when I get overloaded by anything and I can't think of a proper response to the situation. I can get overloaded very easily, if multiple people are talking to me at the same time, even. This is why I prefer to be by myself, in the quiet.

Ultimately, I'm just trying to figure out the root cause, and whether the missing septum pellucidum could be linked to this in any way. I've even worried that it might be a very mild case of hydrocephalus, but I've dismissed that as it probably isn't that. I don't know what the cause is, really, but it's upsetting. If I knew at least the reason behind the panic attacks I've had all my life, I'd probably feel a bit better.

Any advice is welcomed.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 4 years ago.
Hello
No the septum peelucidum situation would only be linked to the extent that it aggravates your worry and anxiety.

What medications have failed?