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Is this a panic attack or something else (dizzy spells)?

(12 Posts)
BigginsforPope Mon 15-Aug-16 22:21:06

I want to know whether I should bother the GP with this or not.

About three months ago I had two quite serious dizzy spells. The first happened when I was stood at the kitchen sink. I started to feel a little dizzy, then the room started to spin really fast, I could'nt walk in a straight line. I felt really nauseous and then as I had managed to get to the bathroom (to be sick) I collapsed on the floor, I could hear people but just could not get up or even lift my head off the floor. My dh helped me onto the sofa (after being woken by panicky dcs as he was sleeping off a nightshift). I also had a headache, I then more or less slept for an hour after which I felt woozy but not anything like the dizzyness I had felt earlier. A similar thing happened a few days later although not quite so severe. Over the last few months there were a few times where similar feelings of dizzyness started but nothing as extreme as that first occasion. Then about a month with nothing until today when it happened in Sainsburys. I really struggled to stay upright and thankfully I was with a friend. After a few minutes clutching a pillar I felt a little better so got myself and dc home where I felt a bit odd for the rest of the afternoon.

I found the whole thing very scary. Being out with dc and not being able to manage to keep them safe. Dh has suggested I am having panic attacks as I have recently lost my DM after a short illness and the first spell happened when my DM was very poorly in hospital. I'm not sure they are panic attacks as I used to have panic attacks when I was a teenager and they were very different.

So if you have experienced a panic attack is this what it feels like? Are there any similarities? Do I need to see my GP? I am seriously considering this after today because I was so frightened but I don't want to waste the GP's time if it is a panic attack.

idontlikealdi Mon 15-Aug-16 22:28:48

Honestly I don't think it sounds anything like a panic attack, why do you think that's what it is.

Surely a dizzy spell that makes you want to throw up and nearly pass out warrant a trip to the doctor.

idontlikealdi Mon 15-Aug-16 22:29:44

Sorry ignore my first question and sorry about your DM flowers

BigginsforPope Mon 15-Aug-16 22:31:34

The panic attack idea was DH's. I think he was more trying to reassure me as it all started around the time my DM became seriously ill.

salsamad Mon 15-Aug-16 22:37:46

I am sorry for the loss of your DM Biggins.
I have had Labrynthitis a couple of times which is inflammation of the inner ear. It causes dizzyness and vomiting and what you are describing sounds quite similar. When you turn your head everything swims and your environment seems to be moving. Symptoms can be mild or severe (sufferers cannot stay upright and any movement causes nausea).
I have also had panic attacks - the symptoms that I had were fast overbreathing, palpatations and a feeling of light headedness.
I would visit your GP and get a definite diagnosis. It should help discussing how youve been feeling, as well as going over your symptoms and it will help to allay your fears.
If it is an inner ear problem it is easy to diagnose with tests the GP can do in the surgery and they will be able to offer medication.

BigginsforPope Mon 15-Aug-16 22:40:53

That's interesting salsamad. Do you feel lightheaded for sometime after a labrynthitis attack?

JaneJeffer Mon 15-Aug-16 22:46:46

It sounds like vertigo. I have it for months now. You can get medication which helps a bit.

salsamad Mon 15-Aug-16 22:54:26

Yes - you feel light headed and very "out of sorts" - tired, sick and muzzy. The first time I had it was the worst - I collapsed in the street, I was unable to stay on my feet but I didn't actually loose consciousness. It stayed with me for several weeks - I went to see GP quite quickly as I was very anxious about what the problem was. I was prescribed tablets but they made me feel sluggish and out of it so I stopped taking them. It took several months for me to recover fully.
I have had it again since but milder - turning to put something on the side in the kitchen and not able to keep my balance so collapsing on the floor but recovering better and left feeling light headed and tired. It took a couple of months again to recover.
If I was tired or stressed it was always worse. Apparently you can pick it up from been run down and having had a cold or similar virus.

OnGoldenPond Mon 15-Aug-16 23:45:42

Please go see your GP. This sounds very worrying and is ongoing. You will certainly not be wasting their time, even if it is a panic attack you need help to sort it out.

I've never had a panic attack myself but from descriptions I've heard from others it doesn't sound much like that. I had a condition with similar symptoms to what you describe but it eventually got much worse so that the symptoms were constant.

There are many different conditions which can produce these symptoms, most are not serious but need treatment but rarely it could be one of the serious conditions that are life threatening and need treatment without delay.

My condition turned out to be one of the most serious. Thankfully I got treatment promptly and am now fully recovered. If I had delayed because of worry about wasting the GP's time I wouldn't be here today.

pilkio Tue 16-Aug-16 00:05:46

Hi, I have both vertigo and also suffer panic attacks. When I do have a panic attack (my most recent being a week ago while waiting for a meal at Manchester Airport) I end up collapsing (I took myself off to the loo before collapsing in a cubicle at the airport), with cold sweat, spinning sensations, nausea and palpitations. When I have vertigo I get the room spinning, like being drunk or sometime it feels like a dropping sensation when a lif begins to move, but eventually this stops and I feel okay again. I feel exhasted after a panuc attack -not so much after a vertigo episode

I'm sorry for your loss xx

BigginsforPope Tue 16-Aug-16 07:30:51

Thank you for your replies. I am going to try and get a gp appt as I still feel a bit odd this morning.

whifflesqueak Tue 16-Aug-16 07:37:54

sounds like bppv

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