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Avatar universal

Can the feeling of anxiety move around body like an infection?

For the las 15 years, I've had GAD. I've always managed it without medication but lately I had a pretty sever attack and I couldn't manage it without medication. At this point, it felt like there was a stream of adrenaline running through my chest and I could stop it. I couldn't sit down or relax, it was rough. I started a course of Ativan and slowly tapered myself off. Max I was taking 3mg per day, then ended with .5 mg per day. I stopped when I felt my anxiety was at baseline and I could manage it again, the adrenaline feeling from my chest was gone. When that adrenaline feeling from my chest went away, I started to get neck tension and forehead tension, which is the first time thats ever happened. So I figured this couldve been a result of the Benzo I took, maybe some type of withdrawal symptom. So for 2 weeks or so it felt like my head was so heavy, and my corrugator muscles were sticking out too. So this tension would either be in my neck one day, or my forehead. So it would move back and forth by the day. It slow got better, it also started out with horrible dizziness. Now the tension in my head and neck is gone, but it feel like whatever this was went back down into my chest. The anxiety is back in my chest again. The only time it leaves is when the anxiety gives me diarrhea, which at the point the anxiousness in my chest goes into my stomach, ad once i go to the bathroom it goes back up into my chest. Is it normal for anxiety to move around the body like this? I feel like its some sort of infection.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
I think you are over-examining your body and noticing too many little things that most people get but ignore because they know it doesn't mean anything. The main problem is you have anxiety, which can bother a person so much that they tense up and can get some body pains from that. If so it is to be expected for some pains to occur in different places.  
Avatar universal
Dizziness and odd feelings of disorientation are pretty classic withdrawal symptoms.  The problem with the head and neck problem is that, yes, it could be a withdrawal symptom, but this is such a common problem with humans that that one would be hard to pin down.  As for your anxiety moving around, no, it's still anxiety.  Although you may feel different symptoms of anxiety, if you know you're feeling anxious and thinking anxious thoughts and not just having physiological symptoms, then the thing to work on is the anxiety.  Everything you've listed is both a symptom of anxiety and a withdrawal symptom.  There's really no way for us to know which it is.  But benzos don't solve anxiety problems, they tamp down the symptoms.  If your symptoms went away while taking benzos on a regular daily basis instead of as needed, which is much safer, and came back when you stopped the benzo, that's because you didn't do anything to deal with the underlying problem.  While medication is sometimes the only thing that helps, if you want to cure this problem you have to try something like therapy with someone who specializes in anxiety treatment -- probably a cbt therapist.  If you can't cure it, medication can help you live your life but you will have to deal with the side effects and difficulty stopping.  Usually, you can tell a bad withdrawal when the symptoms are different than what you felt before you started taking the drug.  If upon stopping the symptoms are exactly the same you just haven't fixed the problem.  
5 Comments
I always feel anxiety in my chest. Always. It's like a constant panic/worried feeling in my chest. Usually, its not so bad. I can still live a normal life. The ativan helped. I went back down to baseline, but then tension started moving around my body. Like one day it'd be my neck, the other day it'd be my forehead. When that tension went calmed down, my anxiety came back. I'm trying not to over think it but this is the first time I've ever experienced something like this. I have stress in my life, but its stress i've dealt with for so long, and honestly, having anxiety causes me mores stress than anything else. I don't even care about the other stuff going on in my life because of how frustrating this feeling is.  I just find it odd for panic to go away from my chest, and then me start having tension in my neck, then when that goes away, the panic goes back into my chest. I just want to make sure there is no type of medical issue here. My corrugator muscles on my forehead have been swolen, inflamed, since getting off ativan, and have yet to come down.
Again, the anxiety is in your thoughts.  If you think anxious thoughts on a chronic basis and have irrational fears on a chronic basis, you have anxiety.  If you just have physiological symptoms but your thinking is calm and usual, that's something else.  So when you say anxiety is moving around your body, I don't really know if that's anxiety or withdrawal.  Again, even people who don't suffer from anxiety can get neck tension when they're stressed -- everyone feels stress, but stress isn't anxiety.  As for a medical issue, lots of things cause neck pain.  Often it's posture, or craning the neck down a lot -- this is becoming a chronic problem due to the constant looking at cell phones and computers in today's society.  So is that anxiety?  Could be, but you probably weren't going to get through life without some lower back and some neck pain.  Now, my neck is wrecked, the discs are gone, probably from an old accident.  I've got a terrible chronic anxiety problem, but that's not why my neck hurts.  But it does make things hurt more.  Minor injuries can hurt a lot more with anxious and depressed people than with others because we focus and obsess on it.  So some of this might be withdrawal, but given you have a chronic anxiety problem, that's one thing you know you have to deal with.  As for the rest, you know, we see doctors, but when pain is minor, they aren't usually that great at fixing it.  Or finding the cause.  But if it hurts enough, they can take pictures and move your affected parts around and see if movement is impaired so you can go that route as well.  But you'll still have the anxiety if you're thinking anxious thoughts.  Peace.
"My corrugator muscles on my forehead have been swollen, inflamed,..." It is really hard to self diagnose correctly with out any medical training, so I am skeptical of your observations, since you didn't have a doc verify them.
Ativan isn't a muscle relaxer, so even if those muscles are inflamed it is only coincidence that it happened after stopping Ativan. Maybe it is a sinus issue since they are in this area on your forehead- you need to see a doc if so or else take something like sinutab first to see if it stops hurting in which case it would be sinus. Also refrain from poking and irritating the area.
I went to ER because my heart wouldn't stop scaring me over a week, cold sweats, sore chest etc. but as soon as I arrived there and the nurse said your readings are normal then i wanted to leave because I realized it was in my imagination. Now when I get this feeling I know it is in my imagination so I take a deep breath and it is gone. then I tell myself, "See, nothing happening here."
While benzos aren't specifically muscle relaxants, anything that reduces chronic anxiety might relax muscles at least for the temporary time that they are working.  They can also be muscle stressors, as they interfere with the absorption of magnesium but this is worse usually with antidepressants as they target neurotransmitters that also help to relax muscles, and this interference can result in muscle spasms and cramps.  So these drugs can affect muscles.  They can also not do that, it depends on the person.  There is also a possibility of rebound anxiety when you stop taking a relaxant medication -- it can feel worse, as your brain is used to having the drug around.  For most people this passes with time and depends on how often and how high a dose the med was at and how long a person was on it.  I agree that it probably has nothing to do with the forehead thing, but it might in an indirect fashion.  But if the anxiety can be dealt with, this other stuff can go away, which is what you did, Anxious, when you talked yourself out of worrying over every little thing that happened.  But I have one other caveat -- anxious people get all the same problems in life as everyone else, so I wouldn't encourage everyone to ignore everything that seems oddly different, though that doesn't necessarily apply in this case.  If I had what you had for an entire week, not just during a very anxious day, I would if I weren't too anxious to do it go to a doc to get checked out, too.
He hasn't even seen a doc, so it is premature for him to be certain that his corrugator muscles are acting up.
973741 tn?1342346373
I personally am amazed at two things.  One, how psychosomatic symptoms occur and make us feel REAL things when it is actually anxiety and TWO, how having anxiety can take hold and we do things like diagnose ourselves with things we wouldn't possibly have any idea if we had.

It sounds to me, though, that you had a panic attack.  That's very much how I'd describe the panic attacks I've had.  

Perhaps your current treatment is not really holding the anxiety down at this point.  I'm not a fan of short acting benzo's like Ativan (do not believe this to be a muscle relaxer either)---  because they are addictive and can eventually compound a person's problems.  

I get severe neck tightness when I'm stressed or anxious.  It's like a vice grip.  Calming down and a massage help me tremendously.  I ask my husband, sons or do it myself as I really can't afford massage therapy on a regular basis.  Years ago I could and I went when I felt that tight grip on my neck.  

Therapy along with medication can be very effective.  I would talk to your doctor about changing things up in your current protocol.
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