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Heart Palpitations Caused By Anxiety?

I was unsure where to post this, but I started taking Lexapro (Escitalopram) 20mg a few months ago. Sometimes I forget a dose but other than that I'm up to date with it.

I have been experiencing heart palpitations lately, sometimes its everyday when I'm sitting down, relaxing, or simply walking. It's hard to exercise these days due to the current shutdown of places so I can't exercise to see if its the lack of exercise causing it.

For now I have been scared of this and unsure of what to do. I have told my mom who is a nurse and she says I'm fine but considering this is an everyday thing that's been going on for awhile I'm not so sure. Is it the medication, anxiety, lack of exercise?

I would love if this was answered and if I should fear and worry about this. I can't get a doctors appointment due to the shutdown so my best source is here. The palpitations usually last a few seconds and no other symptoms with it. I'm 16 years old.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
From the Mayo Clinic site;
Palpitations that are infrequent and last only a few seconds usually don't need to be evaluated. If you have a history of heart disease and have palpitations that occur frequently or worsen, talk to your doctor. He or she might suggest heart-monitoring tests to see if your palpitations are caused by a more serious heart problem.

Seek emergency medical attention if heart palpitations are accompanied by:

    Chest discomfort or pain
    Fainting
    Severe shortness of breath
    Severe dizziness
Avatar universal
When you have anxiety it is often confusing to try to figure out if you have heart symptoms. I have sore area in my ribs that ache sharply a few times a day on the left side and it feels like it's my heart, but I take a deep breath and it goes away instantly so I know it is just the ribs or muscles that need to be rearranged.
You mention lack of exercise, so are you not exercising? I'm stuck at home and miss my normal routine, but after a week realized I am the one who has to get into a program that fits the circumstances so I checked out some online workouts that you can do in your house without weights or equipment. They were grueling at first getting my body used to the new movements. They still aren't much fun but I have mastered some of the movements as my strength improved so I kind of look forward to certain of the exercises now. I do feel better afterwards and likely you will too because this program will help with your anxiety unless the anxiety is too far out of control.
I presume your mother has reviewed your dosage? You are young to be on this medication though. Have you tried therapy to see if that helps discover any cause or solution to the anxiety?
1 Comments
I see you had another anxiety thread which has some info on it. It is best to continue with this one from now on instead of starting any new ones.
Avatar universal
I don't know your history.  At 16 it really is best to resolve your issues through therapy rather than medication -- in fact, it's best for all ages -- but especially for the young.  But if you have tried that or your problems are severe, sometimes medication is necessary but you want to find a good therapist and try and solve your problems that way so you don't take the medication for long periods of time.  So that's first.  As to heart palps, it's actually hard for someone to know if they're having them or think they're having them.  All of us have felt like our hearts have skipped a beat now and again but that doesn't mean that actually happened.  I'm not sure it's true that there are no doctors working.  Some are and some aren't depending on where you live and how bad the virus has hit your area.  It might not be your regular practice, but another practice might be open.  Can't say what the case is in your area.  Although you're Mom is a nurse, a nurse has no ability or training to diagnose your heart.  Neither, actually, does your general practitioner.  What a nurse or general practitioner can do is practice triage, which is to determine based on what they can tell if this is really a problem that needs a specialist and special diagnostics or not.  This particular forum over the years has had tons of people on here believing they had heart problems, and pretty much none of them did.  Or at least nothing anyone could find.  You'll find people who spent years of their lives going to the ER over and over and being told repeatedly they didn't have a heart problem who still didn't believe it was a symptom of their anxiety.  Now, you've never been evaluated by a specialist, so I'm not venturing an opinion on whether you in fact have a heart problem or not or are having heart palps or just feel like you are or not.  Don't know.  Only know anxiety sufferers have this as one of the most common symptoms of anxiety and you are pretty young and if you had a heart problem there would probably be some collateral physiological symptoms accompanying that, such as fatigue, inability to exercise, weakness, etc.  As for is the drug causing this, if it was going to do that it would have happened closer to when you first started taking it.  The drug might be having side effects, but probably not this one.  The lack of exercise probably wouldn't cause heart palps either, though it does cause other problems, including for most an increase in anxiety.  It is quite easy to exercise as much as you want to at home.  Unless where you live has far more draconian restrictions than most of the US, you are allowed to go outside to walk -- and that should be a good long and fast walk -- or run, and at 16 y0u should be able to run.  You just have to be aware of keeping your distance from others.  At home you can do massively intense core workouts and muscle building workouts on your floor or back yard.  There are a million exercises that you can do while listening to your favorite music or books on tape or whatever you like, or even watch TV if you have an exercise mat to put on your floor (these are thicker and more padded than a yoga mat).  You can do push ups, a million different kinds of crunches, leg lifts with ankle weights, squats, jumping jacks, yoga, pilates, using your body as your weight for any number of resistance exercises.  If you can afford it there are all kinds of exercise equipment you can buy for your home.  You can ride a bicycle hard and fast again as long as you practice social distancing.  Going to the gym is easy, but you don't have to do that to exercise if you have the motivation.  The last thing I'll say is. never ever forget a dose of your Lexapro.  You say this is only occasionally, but if the heart palps happened then it's because you missed a dose.  These meds are very hard to stop taking once you've been on them for awhile, and have to be tapered off of slowly.  Every time you miss a dose your brain starts to go into withdrawal, which is very uncomfortable.  Don't want to do that.  So this was long, so in short. you probably don't have a heart problem, but only a specialist can really tell you, but it's very unlikely; don't miss doses of these meds; find a way to make exercise a permanent part of your life no matter where you are; and go to work on solving this problem so you can stop taking meds at some point and learn how to think without anxiety.  Peace.
Avatar universal
My sister-in-law went to the hospital with a mixture of heart, brain, all sort of problems. We didn't know if it was a stroke, a heart attack, or what. She couldn't move her hands, or talk coherently, etc.

And it was just ANXIETY! There was NOTHING wrong with her! They did all the tests, then gave her some mild anti-anxiety medication, and she perked up and was well again. (So weird!)

I knew a student at the university who was having what appeared to be heart issues. She would be short of breath climbing up just a few stairs to the classroom. She went to the doctor, turned out it was just anxiety over her living situation. Her heart was fine. But the anxiety was causing her to have shortness of breath.

Anxiety can cause so may things!

(At the same time I'm not saying it's just anxiety if someone is having any of these issues. They should still get checked out by a doctor. Only a doctor can determine if it's just anxiety. But yes, take time out to consciously relax, try a little meditation, soothing music, whatever helps. [For further study look into ways to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System {that's the "Rest, Digest, Restore" mode we want to get the body into.}])

Best wishes!
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