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04/05/2011 11:10 AM

Can Sinus Pressure Cause a Panic Attack?

PhilPhil46
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A typical panic attack can occur at any time, without warning. The psychological symptoms include intense feelings of anxiety or fear, combined with physical symptoms that resemble medical emergencies, such as a heart attack.

Sinus pressure results from a problem associated with the sinus cavity, such as a blockage, infection and/or inflammation. This situation causes a variety of physical symptoms similar to anxiety, possibly triggering a panic attack.

Features

A panic attack features extreme psychological distress, characterized by feelings of foreboding. Often the individual feels that he is dying or going insane. In most instances, the individual generally feels out of control.

Physical symptoms associated with this psychological distress include dizziness, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feelings of suffocating, pain in the chest, rapid and violent beating of the heart and various stomach disorders.

Sinus pressure occurs because of a blocked sinus cavity, resulting in problematic breathing, causing the individual to experience shortness of breath and dizziness. Since the physical and psychological causes of a panic disorder work together, an individual might link sinus pressure symptoms to an impeding panic attack, thereby inadvertently triggering the event. In other words, the individual can trigger the attack by responding to the physical symptoms associated with sinus pressure.

Considerations

Since sinus pressure results from a blocked or inflamed nasal cavity, individuals usually resort to mouth and/or chest breathing. This can result in the individual hyperventilating, a situation characterized by a buildup of excessive oxygen, in proportion to decreased carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.

During hyperventilation, an individual usually experiences an increase in anxiety, which can trigger a panic attack. In addition, because of the buildup of oxygen, an individual can feel dizzy, woozy and/or lightheaded, common symptoms associated with panic attacks. The individual may erroneously link these symptoms with an impeding attack, which increases anxiety.

Medical experts advise individuals prone to panic attacks and/or sinus pressure to practice deep breathing techniques.

Effects

According to the American Psychological Association, a panic attack and correlated symptoms usually last around 30 minutes. However, some individuals experience a surge of emotional and physical distress lasting merely 15 seconds, while other attacks may involve a cyclic series of episodes, or wavelike patterns, which can extend for a couple of hours.

Treatment

An individual can relieve sinus pressure with over-the-counter nasal sprays and drops, or oral products that include an antihistamine and/or a nasal decongestant. In addition, pain relief medicine can help alleviate sinus pressure. However, medical treatment is advised for sinus infection, as well as chronic congestion.

Panic disorders can be treated with therapeutic techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as pharmaceutical intervention. Alternative techniques include herbal formulas such as St. John's wort and gingko biloba. Conflicting evidence suggests increasing B vitamins---especially folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.

An individual can relieve stress, the main contributor to panic attacks, through a proper diet, exercise and relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing from the stomach.

History

Various studies estimate that 3 million to 6 million people in the United States experience panic disorder. Because of this, panic disorder stands as a major health problem and one of the most common psychological disorders.

http://www.ehow.com/about_5052115_can-pressure-cause-panic- attack.html

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04/06/2011 06:22 AM
CrissyL
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This caught my eye as I have notoriously bad sinuses Tongue...there are soo many phycial triggers that can cause a panic attack or anxiety that I certainly believe this can be one of them. For me, my sinuses can cause severe dizziness and I have to remind myself that it is the sinuses doing this and nothing to be afraid of and I have learned not to panic when the dizziness strikes Smile

04/06/2011 06:40 AM
kristylr
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Crissy, have you ever been checked for Benign vertigo? Panic attacks can cause dizziness but often it is the other way around and bad sinuses can irritate the vestibular nerve and cause ugly vertigo. I know because I've battled it for years, the good news if it is a simple case of benign vertigo there are exercises and some OTC meds that can reduce the intensity and frequency of the dizzy spells. I would advise discussing this with your dr. because if your dizzy spells are causing at least some of your anxiety attacks then you may be able to at lease reduce the number of anxiety attacks you have as well. Best of luck to you though

04/06/2011 07:03 AM
PhilPhil46
PhilPhil46  
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I usually know the difference in dizziness, Sinus I get the ear pain and pressure, and panic I do not

04/06/2011 07:21 AM
CrissyL
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I've never heard of that Kristy- thanks! I've just kind of put up with it all these years...taking Benedryl usually helps though, so I take one when it gets bad. I will bring this up next Dr. visit. Thanks again Smile

04/06/2011 10:36 AM
kristylr
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benign vertigo doesn't always come with pain, in fact it rarely does, which is partly why it triggers panic, our bodies feel out of whack and our brains are trying to figure out what's going on because if there was pain we'd just associate it with an ear infection or something like that. I never get pain with my vertigo, and I've had it for over 20 years now. Either way, it can't hurt to explore it, if it is simple vertigo it's an easy treat and can go a long way to ease the mind.

04/06/2011 11:25 AM
PhilPhil46
PhilPhil46  
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I had sinus surgery 5 yrs ago, and it did make things better, but not a cure to the problem. Correction, the reason I get ear pain with my sinus infection, is I have scar tissue from the surgery, which now causes my sinuses to not drain properly, fluid build up in my middle ear, causing Pain, thus dizziness. So I really have to keep up with my allergies and sinus regimine or I need antibiotics. But Vertigo can come on for many reason. As simple as eye strain, blood pressure too low to name a couple.

04/06/2011 02:47 PM
kristylr
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ouch, that just sounds painful phil, I remember my mom having sinus surgery when I was in HS, it certainly helped with her snoring (thank goodness!) but she's never had vertigo, from anything....I, however; have it constantly. You definitely have my sympathies on the sinus and ear pain though *hugs*

04/06/2011 03:21 PM
PhilPhil46
PhilPhil46  
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Thank you kristy.Smile it sucks, because he said its scar tissue from the surgery, that I would need a second surgery to remove it.Sad is it me, or wouldn't a second surgery cause more scar tissue? Smile not an option, unless I am in so much pain I can't stand it.

Post edited by: PhilPhil46, at: 04/06/2011 03:24 PM


04/06/2011 04:43 PM
kristylr
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a good surgeon can remove scar tissue effectively, you will likely scar from the second surgery as well but the scar can be so minimal that it will cause you no problems. If you're prone to developing keloids (a particular type of scar that is typically raised and very very thick)then a second surgery may well do you no good, but I wouldn't outright discount the idea.

If you are prone to keloids you'll know because you scar very very easily, from even the most minor scratch you can form a thick scar, big wounds will develop large unsightly, and sometimes painful scar tissue that doesn't diminish much over time like normal scars.

That being said, even if you are prone to them, you may still want to talk to your dr about that second surgery to remove the excess scar tissue, many times it's done with a laser now which usually leaves no scarring even on the most sensitive people.

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