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I’m Scared I’m Having Heart Attacks

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From the U.S.: I have had anxiety almost all of my life but lately it has gotten out of hand. I am to the point where I am constantly thinking about my heart, and thinking something is wrong with it like I am going to have a heart attack or something and die. Sometimes I get headaches so intense that I think I am going to have an aneurysm. I just constantly think something is going to happen to me, and I never seem to be able to catch my breath. I can’t even go to the gym sometimes because working out makes my heart race and that freaks me out. A day never goes by where I don’t think something is wrong with me.

I want to stop these irrational thoughts and I know they are irrational but nothing makes them go away. I want to be able to enjoy everyday life and be free of the constant worry that something is going to happen to me. I want to stop focusing so much attention on my heart and just be able to relax and breathe. I don’t want any more panic attacks.

I have been taking SSRI’s for quite a few years and have had to have them increased. I also have PRN Xanax for when I feel very anxious but it does not seem to have much effect. I don’t know what to do anymore and I just need to change my thinking but I have no idea how to do that. Please help.

I’m Scared I’m Having Heart Attacks

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sorry your anxiety has become so intense. It’s possible you have developed a somatic symptom disorder that is made worse by your anxiety. Medications alone aren’t enough. I strongly suggest you get into therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been found to give considerable relief to people with these symptoms. CBT will help you do what you asked — manage the irrational thoughts. Please give it an honest effort. Most people need at least a couple of months of education and practice to build up the skills needed to ease their minds.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I’m Scared I’m Having Heart Attacks

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I’m Scared I’m Having Heart Attacks. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/04/22/im-scared-im-having-heart-attacks/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.