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PVCs and High Anxiety

Desperate for help.
I am 29 years old and about 6 months ago started experiencing PVCs after taking cold medicine for 7 days.
It has caused extreme panic.
I am symptomatic when I am having pvcs and can feel every beat.

I have gone to the ER so many times they think I am insane.
I cut back on all known triggers.
They gave me a beta blocker and vistaril for my anxiety along with Prozac.

They don't seem to understand that the Pvcs CAUSE the massive panic attacks. Not the other way around.
I can be going about my day, feel that slight breath hitch- and boom I am off to the races.

I never experienced panic attacks before the first PVC.
Sometimes the monitor catches them, other times not.

It has completely ruined my life.
I am afraid to leave my home, forget Walmart, and I get light headed just taking a shower.

They did blood work and said my cardiac work looked fine. That my pvcs were benign and that I needed to relax.
How?
Please?
I am a mess.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Once panic attacks get started, they sort of feed on themselves:  One begets another, and after a while, there can be a lot of different triggers.  However, you'll read on this forum that PVCs or other odd beats are among the worst.  It can be very difficult for patients who are aware of these heart 'hiccups' to believe that nothing is wrong, even when repeated testing, like yours, shows that the heart really is healthy.  Furthermore, people with panic attacks gradually become limited by them; they fear going out of the house lest an attack happen away from home--like staying at home makes them less frequent!  Hah.

So, what to do?  Well, the solution is to see the right doctor for any medical problem.  You have repeatedly been told your heart is OK, right?  It might not feel that way, but you have to admit that your average doctor, to say nothing of your average cardiologist, probably has more knowledge of heart function than you do.

And actually, you mention no symptoms related to actual heart problems.  What you do mention is fear and more fear.  You have now entered the cycle of 'fear of the fear.'

Who do you see for panic?  A certified shrink is the right person, because as an MD, he/she can evaluate bodily function as well as prescribe medication.

You have been given one of SSRI (google it) meds, of which there are quite a few now.  These are classic for anxiety and panic, but it is important to know that one size does not fit all, and Prozac is probably not the best for someone with acute anxiety.  A good shrink would know this.

My doc had to try me on about five of them to find the right one, and for me Zoloft turned out to be the magic item.  It did not remove the PVCs, but it did make me increasingly less aware of them, and the funny thing is that as my awareness of them faded, they also decreased dramatically.

I got my life back, and so can you. Here is more info:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml

Good luck to you.


995271 tn?1463924259
As someone who also suffers with panic, anxiety, and PVCs, I've had similar experience.  It started for me when I was 30.  I'm 48 now.  

I used medications at first but over the years tried other ways to deal with it and do not presently take any medications.  I do get flare-ups.  Exercise, no booze or drugs.  meditation when I flare up.  Getting out into nature is a HUGE help for me.    Hiking, canoeing, camping.  and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).    When I first got this at 30 my world started to get smaller and smaller, afraid to do certain things.  It was important to not let that happen.  For instance, the thought of taking public transportation would mess me up.  My CBT homework was to take a bus somewhere.  I will never forget that ride.   I took a bus to a mall, where my fiance met me.  It was such a huge win to accomplish that it encouraged me to keep challenging myself, which I do to this day.    This is my favorite quote from those days:  

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."
86819 tn?1378947492
Sorry to hear about this.  First concern is can cold medi c ine contribute to pvcs and panic.  Based on personal experience bromley says yes.  I have two near syncope experiences involving cold medicine. In episode 2 I thought I felt some pvcs when I was coming around, but I was actually feignting and in that heart rate was high, such that my head felt light and i could feel no pulse. Tons of anxiety.but heart and head only feel like pvcs when recovering from near syncope. Cause of anxiety, is that blood pressure is too low from syncope response.  This is normal syncope response probably made worse by cold medicine in my case.  Normal syncope is nothing to fear and can be caused by a lot of stuff, such as bowell issues etc.

Second concern. You are only 29.  I may have pvc runs due to early cardiovascular disease , but not yet proven.  At 29, this is quite unlikely. Main worry is genetic rhythmn issue. If there is no family history and you have no history of syncope,  you are at much lower risk and this would explain your drs approach.  

Start by getting off cold medicine and just chill. I agree with others exercise is really key.  If you continue having symptoms go see your doc again,. Good luck.
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