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Health Anxiety flare up; GP won’t investigate.(13 Posts)
I have been prescribed Amitryptline by my GP for severe Health anxiety and am on day 3. I now wondering how it will help if I still think I am ill?? I have a lot of red flag symptoms for the cancer I think I have but GP has put them down to other separate conditions that I have had in the past
Eg headache is tension headache, dizziness is vestibular neuritis, numbness in arm is anxiety, pressure in head is sinuses, weird phantom smells is long covid etc. I am so worried that this is going to mean the real condition is not diagnosed. GP says she doesn’t need to see me. I usually cannot get closure on a health anxiety flare up unless it is investigated and proved to be all ok. Has anyone got to the stage where they just accepted they weren’t really ill and ignored symptoms without a full medical investigation?
Have you thought about counselling or something to help you manage the anxiety?
It may be more helpful than a full investigation. Then you might be able to manage the anxiety. I don't think full investigations will be particularly helpful until that is sorted out.
I sympathise OP, I too have severe health anxiety and it’s making my life unmanageable. I run to the GP at every symptom but it’s usually only one at a time. You seem to have a number which don’t seem connected but you believe they point to a particular type of cancer. May I ask which type it is you fear so much? I agree, you really need psychological input as your issue appears to be HA and not physical. Also wondering if Amitriptyline is the best med - it’s an older type and newer SSRIs are more commonly prescribed for anxiety.
I also have health anxiety and understand what you’re going through but don’t think amitriptyline is a good choice, it’s very rarely used now for anxiety. What dose are you on? It’s difficult accepting it’s anxiety as there’s always that worry ‘what if this time it is a real issue and they miss it’, but if you got proper treatment you would be able to look at it all a bit more clearly.
I think you need to focus on treating the health anxiety rather than expecting the GP to perform a variety of (some which may have long waiting lists and be costly or invasive) investigations every time you anxiety flares up to “put your mind at ease”. I say this as someone with anxiety, you’re approaching this from the wrong angle, the root cause of these symptoms is your health anxiety, when all the tests come back normal you will still have your health anxiety and you will sooner or later become again convinced you’re dying/ill and the whole process starts again. You need to tackle the root cause.
Which cancer do you think you have?
I usually cannot get closure on a health anxiety flare up unless it is investigated and proved to be all ok.
This is the problem you need to address. This cycle isn’t managing your anxiety, it’s reinforcing and enabling it. It’s so easy to read about symptoms and think “oh fuck that’s what I have”, but actually as we are presumably not doctors, we don’t really have any idea! I read “lower back pain is a sign of metastatic breast cancer” and I’m like right that’s it, time to die... not ever understanding that it’s a very specific type of back pain which I do not have!
I have some health anxiety too, obviously. The book “overcoming health anxiety” is good! So is the Headspace app. You don’t have to clear your mind and meditate - the opposite, actually, it’s about just noting your thoughts so it’s helpful and also low effort 👌
What you need to work on is acceptance and I think things like reading that book and mindfulness will help. I also think you should ask to be referred for CBT as that will help you to examine and undo some of the thought cycles you are trapped in.
I find for me, keeping busy is the best thing. Your symptoms are all most likely caused by anxiety which does an absolute number on the body. I go through stages where I notice every little thing that’s wrong and could probably build a narrative around it but I can stop that most of the time. It doesn’t help that I actually do have a long term chronic pain issue, so I am in pain a lot of the time! 🤦♀️
Please read that book, I can’t recommend it enough. You have to take steps to help yourself and going to the GP to be checked again isn’t one of them.
Health anxiety doesn't get better by having more investigations. "Checking things out" feeds your anxiety as it gives you a short "hit" of relief. You need support for your HA not more medical tests. CBT or counselling is what will be most helpful.
Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. I am worrying currently that I have a brain tumour. I have quite a few red flag symptoms. I had accepted it was anxiety making me dizzy and giving me the daily headaches until I started to smell weird smoky smells that weren’t there and then my right arm kept going “dead” . Today I have had a criscked neck pain from the base of my skull down my right shoulder too and smelling the weird smells all day. I think my anxiety stems from a school friend dying in November after being diagnosed with “pulled shoulder muscle” for 4 months which turned out to be a brain tumour and there is also a mum in my sons class who has a secondary brain tumour at the moment and has weeks to live. I saw her 6 weeks ago and she looked absolutely fine. I have ordered the book you have suggested yearfiveteacher. I hate feeling like this and in all other areas I do my bit to help the NHS. I mostly pay for private investigations but this time they have said I need a GP referral for a scan.
Candle18 I am on 25mg of Amitryptline. She has put me on it because I have had it before and tolerated it. TBH I think she just wanted to prescribe me anything that would get me off the phone as I was literally sobbing down the phone at her asking for some help. I accept I have a problem but I have been told that there is along wait for therapy. I feel like I spend my days walking through thick fog. My head feels full and pressurised. I can’t get any joy from anything. I recently spent quite a lot of money on redecorating my house but all I can think is that I won’t get to enjoy it as I won’t be around anymore.
Have you had health anxiety about other conditions? How often are you worried about a particular thing to the point of investigations?
I know sometimes I can trick myself into feeling symptoms or making links that just aren't there.
Give the medication chance and see if you can access counselling of some kind maybe?
Do you have funds for private investigations if saw it as an actual cost would you be able to talk down your anxiety and rationalise it a bit?
Yes Mindthebumps. In the past 20 years I have had investigations for brain tumour, MS, breast cancer x3, pregnancy related investigations x 2, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer ( actually had cancerous cells thiugh) and now brain tumour again. I actually have migraines with aura, asthma, anxiety, tension headaches, kidney scarring due to regular infections and had Incompetent Cervix with 3rd pregnancy.
OP, I have many of the symptoms that you describe above and more. My GP isn’t concerned and that’s been hard for me to take. I felt reassured in the short term but I feel like I experience new symptoms everyday.
Brain tumour is one of the main worried people with HA experience I find. It really is so difficult.