Does FM cause anxiety?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Ivey, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. Ivey

    Ivey New Member

    I am someone who has never experienced anxiety (at least not chronic). So I am wondering if FM causes anxiety just by virtue of having the condition or does anxiety come about because of all the doc's saying it's in our head. Maybe a little of both? The numbers are staggering with regards to how many people with FM have anxiety. But, one thing is true - that anxiety does not cause FM, right? That's at least what I've been told. Thanks - Ivey
  2. yvette01826

    yvette01826 New Member

    I have always had some generalized anxiety. (course, didnt know it till i was an adult). I thought everyone constantly worried. But it was not chronic, nor was it incredibly disturbing.

    I believe fm/and anxiety do go hand in hand. Which came first who knows. But anxiety is caused by over stress on the body or the mind. check out

    It will tell you about the mechanisms of stress on the brain. Good luck. I wish I could give advise on meds...but i havent found the right one yet.
  3. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    You said's a "chicken or egg" question. Just my opinion, but I think that if us FMers tend to have more anxiety, it's because we live with unbelieving doctors (and sometimes family & friends), symptoms that seem to get worse, or weird symptoms that come on unexpectedly, the knowledge that we may be living with a condition that may get better, but may get worse----to me, all these things produce anxiety.

    Yvette said it, too----and I agree----anxiety is by far my worst enemy in my years with FM. Every time I'd get a new symptom (and I'd get some pretty weird neurological ones)....will it last long? will it get worse? what if it never gets better? These thoughts would run through my head and I could just feel my anxiety & panic building. Over the years, I've gotten much better about not letting the anxiety control me, though it still creeps in now & then. The longer I have a "history" with FM, the more I realize I have patterns with it, and symptoms that wax & wane. So I get much less anxious now.

    For me, I definitely don't believe anxiety caused FM----I wasn't a real anxious person until FM reared its ugly head!

  4. idiotsinc

    idiotsinc New Member

    More and more research is showing FMS to have a neurological basis, the physical problems are symptoms. It all starts with anxiety (fight or flight response) or similar problems that disrupt our sleep and stress our bodies. I learned more about my condition reading about anxiety and sleep problems. Visit some of these sites on the web.

  5. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    always suffered with anxiety to some degree. But the pure blind panic that came with panic attacks is a more recent thing for me.
    Started gradually a couple of years ago & then escalated to the point where I refused to leave the house.
    I don't feel 'cured' of my anxiety. It is something that I have to deal with on a daily basis, but at least for the moment I seem to be 'dealing' with it.

  6. klarry

    klarry New Member

    I believe that anxious people are much more likely than others in the population to develop FM. If one is unable to cope with stress in a healthy way, the increased adrenalin causes you to be constantly alert and tense. I firmly believe that anxiety can be inherited from one's family, or at least learned from exposure. In my case I have difficulty "letting go", and being always tense has definitely contributed to my FM.
  7. atrinigyal29

    atrinigyal29 New Member

    I can understand how people with FM, who didn't experience anxiety before (more than a normal level, because we all experience it in lower forms at some point in our lives)can experience panic attacks.

    The symptoms of FM can make us feel very helpless at times, like we have no control over what our body is doing. Anxiety can then occur. I was not really an anxious person before FM, but have experienced increased anxiety at times, especially in social situations and outside of my home due to the FM symptoms that have occurred at those times. For example, sometimes I get extremely dizzy and cannot keep my balance. If I'm outside of my home, and the dizziness comes on very quickly, at times, I have gotten very anxious, due to the feeling of helplessness.

    With some people, this anxiety can eventually lead to panic attacks. Also, the panic attacks that occur only in certain situations can generalize to other situations, and therefore lead to generalized anxiety disorder. This is not true for everyone, however.

    There are certain things you can do to counteract your anxiety. When you feel the anxiety coming on, you can counteract it by taking long, deep breaths. Also, you can count from ten to one (backwards) very slowly. Breathing deeply and counting both help to relax you and take your mind off of your anxiety.

    [This Message was Edited on 08/07/2003]
  8. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    I agree with Bob on this one. I know for me the anxiety was very obvious and came before the FM sypmtoms, for the most part.

    Speaking of Bob, it's great to see you here again. I have missed your posts.

  9. catsii

    catsii New Member

    Ivey, I too, think fm and anxiety go together. One of my biggest problems is dealing with those who either don't believe me about the fm and all it's symptoms, etc. or unwilling to at least read about it. Like they are always telling me i could sleep at night if i cut out the naps, I could do more manual work if i exercised more. I get so tired of hearing this kind of stuff and at times to the point of getting down right angry! Am learning to ignore their ignorance..but not enough! I sent info to one the other day, a doc/patient question answer wasn't long but suggested it be read when time allowed. Got a call and this person said "oh, i never knew ! oh, by the way why don't you try not napping, and drink linden tea?" I'm giving not need this further aggitation ! Am i alone in this ? catsii
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    We all differ in whether the anxiety came before the FMS or after. There definitely is a connection. Our library has an excellent article on anxiety, sensory overload, muscle spasms, and sleep problems. It's an article written by Dr. Paul Cheney on Klonopin. It does a really good job of explaining how our slight state of seizure in our brains causes these symptoms. I highly recommend it.

    Love, Mikie
  11. JP

    JP New Member

    Hello Ivey,

    I had my first panic attack last fall. I have never had anxiety that I would call anxiety. I have it now. I take daily medication to help with my anxiety. I have a chronic pain condition seperate from FM and I think my pain brought the anxiety on. I also appear to have anxiety due to my need to move and pace as part of my pain management.

    In my case, the anxiety came after the illness.

    Take care,
  12. jkd7058

    jkd7058 New Member

    Is there a difference in these? I use the terms interchangablly - but not sure that is correct.

    My first major symptoms of FM were depression and "panic attacks". I had never had a panic attack in my life and at first had no idea what was going on. I was at work and I found I couldn't breathe, my lips were numb, my entire body was tingling. I thought I was going to pass-out. When it happened again later I also felt like a band was tightening around my chest. Was I having a heartattack? It finally passed and I decided it must be some "bug".

    Then I started waking up in the middle of the night - knowing I was going to die. After weeks of this I had a friend drive me to the urgent care center. The doctor could take one look at me and know I was having an attack right then.

    I was given Xanax and Nexium (I was also experiencing terrible nausa) and finally started to feel "undercontrol". I got an appointment with a new internist to help keep track of my meds and get a referal if needed. That's when I was diagnosed with FM.

    It just happened that the internist my gyno recommended was also a rhuemy who worked with FM cases!!!

    I'd had the attacks under control now for almost a year and just last week BAM!! I'm right back where I started. The roller coaster can also be a merry-of-round.
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Anxiety can be a chronic feeling that all is not well and it can be an attack of anxiety like a sudden fight or flight sensation. Panic attacks are a little more severe and acute. With the panic attack, you start to feel like you can't stand another minute of whatever is bothering you. You may have physical symptoms with it like sweating, hyperventilating, nausea, and a sensation that you are in an earthquake.

    Love, Mikie
  14. Iggy_RN

    Iggy_RN New Member

    I have had anxiety when I was young (didn't know then) but I have calmed down w/age. Now I just worry too much!!!!!!!!! Love Iggy
  15. Myth

    Myth New Member

    I was never an anxious person, even for the first few years of FMS. I was always rather mellow and relaxed (unless speaking in front of crowds!) As the conditioned developed and the fight or flight response kicked in and the chest pains began- I noticed a tendancy for anxiety. I never let it bother me and as a result I have no real anxiety concerns. I am jumpy and fidgety and when the pain gets bad I do get a little anxious. Sometimes when the adrenaline gets going and I get palipaltations I know that it would be easy to let my anxiety get out of control- but I just relax and try to remember my bodies response has little to do with my mental respense (my body seems to respond to little or no stimuli). From my experience it certainly had nothing to do with causing FMS as it came quite a bit later. the body just becomes trigger happy to stimuli and this causes anxiety which can get quite bad, but since I know my bodies response is to something of little or no importance I just ingnore the signals it gives and try to stay calm. It is just a natural response, but one we can limit. So I guess anxiety comes with FMS.
  16. jkd7058

    jkd7058 New Member

    I guess I really suffer from both. But I think the panic attacks are the worst! At least now I know I can live through them, but when they first started~I just know I was going to die.
  17. TNhayley

    TNhayley New Member

    I started Klonopin a few months ago, and while it's helped my sleep ... I haven't noticed a decline in my anxiety. My best weapon so far is swimming and reading. And I've found that I need to read "fluff" ... books that aren't to heavy ... or I get anxious over the plot. hahaha ... geez.

    Anyway, the one time I noticed a marked reduction in my anxiety was when I was trying to quit smoking and doing the Catapres patch. I was sooo much more relaxed. I've also noticed that the worse I feel, the more anxious I am ... short fuse, etc. I guess that's to be expected.

    I tried Feldenkrais ... and trying to be quiet and pay attention to my body just made me even more agitated. The more I "listened" to my body, the more I could hear it screaming. I think I'll give meditation a shot next ... or maybe hypnotherapy. Hugs,
  18. Patti2

    Patti2 New Member

    I think everyone on here has anxiety, before FM or during. I know that when I am stressed my FM is worse. When I am in a flare not only the phyical problems but my mind goes crazy. I do believe that the more anxious I am the worse I feel. It is very hard not to be but try to find something that relaxes you! Try a warm bubble bath, sitting on a park bench, what ever relaxes you.

  19. mrskbarnett

    mrskbarnett New Member

    Do you take Xanax on a daily basis for the attacks? I have these attacks ALL the time and my doctor told me to see a therapist that there must be something wrong emotionally with me. I can't think of anything that causes me these attacks and I'm not depressed and nothing is in my "closet" so to speak that would cause these attacks. I wake up in the middle of the night with them, I can be fine one minute and the next I'm having an attack. Please help enlighten me a little if you will.
  20. jofla

    jofla New Member

    are a horrible thing to have to go through. I started getting these attacks when i first started having symptoms of fm. My symptoms were chest pain so of course i thought it was my heart. almost 11 years later i still experience panic attacks, but have anxiety every day. I take xanax if the anxiety gets to much where i feel it will turn into a full blown panic attack, however, they can just creep up on you.