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Poll: Pots Causes And Relation To Stress

POTS causes and Stress  

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I'm just wondering how much of a role stress plays in other people's lives. I believe stress and emotional trauma is at the core of my symptoms. Stress also makes my symptoms far worse.

I'm wondering how many other see a similar connection.

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I never had an anxiety disorder or feelings of anxiety prior to pots. I was dxd with anxiety by a bad doctor when I was referred to a psychiatrist for my hives at 20. A good allergist later dxd me with eczema, after I had been on paxil for 6 months (did nothing for the hives). I've always endured stress pretty well; I used to be a competitive athlete and it just pushed me to be better in that and in school.

Now, a fight with my friends will set off a flare that lasts a week. I can't cope with any stress. My bp goes crazy and I am out of commission for several days afterward. I had a hostile dinner with some girlfriends not so long ago and had to go to the ER because my bp was so high.

I am held hostage by my need to avoid any and all stressful activities. It's one of the worst psychological effects of the disorder for me, and I've had to divorce a lot of friends because I just can't handle their drama.

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I had significant anxiety prior to getting POTS. I do not specifically know the cause of my dysautonomia although I believe that family and work stressors clearly played a part. Any stressful situation now makes my dysautonomia worse although it is hard to stay entirely away from all stressful situations with an elderly mom, 3 daughters and five grandchildren.My mom and my daughters are becoming more and more aware of my sensibilities and that helps. Nevertheless, I cannot avoid all stressful situations. I do not work any more so obviously the work stress is gone. I was a psychotherapist and I believe I suffered from too much compassion and had difficulty filtering out my clients' problems. Also there was always a crisis with family and I felt compelled to help out.

I do feel slightly better now. It is Ritalin which has made somewhat of a difference. It certainly is no cure for me but it help a little with the fatigue. Also I am learning coping techniques with family issues and finding ways to cope with my disability with the help of a certified health counselor,

I hope that others of you who have this anxiety issue with dysautonomia are able to find some relief.

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A lot of us experience or exhibit symptoms of anxiety. There is a non emotional reason though for some of us. Those of us with hyperadregenic pots not only have a rise in blood pressure and heart rate on standing we also have a rise in our catecholamines/adrenaline, mostly of norepinephrine. This is a compensatory response when the blood pools or when something like small fiber neuropathy of the blood vessels doesn't constrict the blood vessels on standing to push the blood to the brain. As adrenaline also constricts the blood vessels the body shoots off adrenaline when the blood isn't getting to the brain properly. It is our own built in back up system. As soon as you lay down they all usually drop.

So think about it if your body is just doing this from standing, you are already elevated add a little extra social/emotional/physical stress in there and you soar. It exhausts the body and is why you feel so bad afterwards. Mine elevates sometimes just from talking.

This is just to let you know that there have been studies done that found that depression and anxiety are no more common in people with dysautonomia then the general population.

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Like NMPotsie I never suffered with anxiety before illness but my illness started with an attack similar to a panic attack but not! What followed were more of these attacks (now interestingly I get them every month or so but only at night and about half an hour after falling asleep??) and an underlying constant anxious state but I think its due to a disease mechanism of excess norepinphrine and why I and others are often investigated for phaechromocytoma. I used to be the most laid back person I know/knew but now a stress ball who cant handle slightest stress and with it cannot make decisions! My symptoms were slightly less the few times I was able to remove myself from stress but I unfortunately have tried to keep up appearances and lead a "normal" life and in the process havent had a break from my symptoms in a long time. I read a post recently about how people had successfully got on top of their illness by taking time out which I regret I didnt do but that might be worth a shot.

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I also never had anxiety issues prior to POTs. My first flare occurred when I was literally on top of the world in terms of work, my schedule and general well being. The second flare occurred gradually at first and then stopped me in my tracks. I was in a stressful job and feeling unhappy therefore I began to look as stress as a provoking factor. I have questioned myself at times and jokingly called myself a lunatic. My body does not handle stress well at all. However.... I was 95% recovered until this past Thursday night when I had a totally unprovoked flare on the way home from work. Followed by an evening that felt like an autonomic storm. I had no provoking factor - not heat, cold, food, stress, light, noise, meds or the lack thereof. I am now functioning at about 60% and using small doses of HC. I checked "other" on the question "does stress make your symptoms worse" because I feel dysautonomia inhibits my body from coping normally to stress but not that I can't handle stress.

And while I'm pretty bummed out that I flared again after barely enjoying life at 90% recovered I have absolute confidence that this isn't an emotional disease for me. It's a light switch and I have no clue who controls it.

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I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that mainly manifests as skin picking and disruptive thoughts, but none of this has ever seemed at all related to my POTS symptoms. I suppose my symptoms may "appear" like a panic attack, but I actually do not get panic attacks. I get POTS flares. An observant doctor was very bothered by the fact that I kept saying that no psychological issue actually triggered these "panic attacks", which is how I got a referral to be tested for POTS after experiencing my symptoms for so long. I would be perfectly content just standing around and suddenly would feel like fainting and have a racing heart. I think more doctors need to realize a panic attack doesn't happen completely at random. It complicates things that I do have a diagnosed mental illness, but I think its just a random coincidence that I have both.

That being said, stress does make me feel much worse, probably just because my body can't keep up due to the stress that is already put on it from being completely out of sync all the time.

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http://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?hl=en&q=http://lilaristevska.com/kangen/Depression%2520and%2520inflammation.doc&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm1Qhcljq1M9sjIHikxh5hHUdsWtsg&oi=scholarr

A pretty dense article but it presents an interesting hypothesis explaining inflammation, oxidative and nitosative stress as causes for depression/anxiety. Since a lot of the ANS research (and certainly much of the CFS research) is focusing on the excessive inflammatory response seen in this patient population it makes sense that a lot of these same patients would have symptoms of depression or anxiety that are secondary to the malfunction of the ANS/CNS and the neurotranmitters/catecholamines that are running out of control in our bodies.

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For years I was told it was all my head -- anxiety, depression. Then I was told I also had a 'common garden variety balance disorder.' I wish.

About 8 years ago (I've lost track a bit) I was told I had Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (I started to get symptoms doctors could measure and they started measuring them which eventually led to my diagnosis). I'd never heard of it before.

I honestly don't know what came first. POTS or anxiety? As someone on this forum wisely pointed out to me it really makes no difference -- i'm dealing with it all so why try to separate it all when I could not come up with an answer. This approach is working for me. The anxiety and depression are up there as some of my worst symptoms along with chronic daily migraine and constipation and skin problems. Weirdly, although I have tachy from standing etc, problems with walking at times, those bothers me less.

Like NMPotsie people's dramas will set off my pots symptoms but having a good time and laughing will also do it. If I laugh too long and too robustly I'm going to get sick. I can feel it happening and the next day will be awful. But sometimes I just have to have a good time. I used to laugh so freely and joyfully and although my pots reactions have inhibited this response I will not stop myself enjoying the good times on a good day because I will pay for it the next day. Life is grey enough.

blue

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The damage to my various nervous systems was caused by low oximetry in sleep apnea.

Now i cannot tolerate hardly any serious stress.

When i have a flare my head feels like glass. Any sharp or rythmic noise and im in bed.

And I have trouble working more than about 6 hours.

Run down like the energizer bunny.

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I do not know if one causes the other, but I had childhood trauma from infancy onward (some of it really bad) and I remember my health stuff first flaring up when I was 15 and living in a severely abusive home. I don't have much stress and anxiety as an adult, but at the urging of my doc, I am seeing a therapist and dealing with the past. The therapist says that my level of trauma can easily create all kinds of nervous system disregulation, so who knows.

The therapist apparently has a degree from the Lollipop Guild and thinks I can tell my cardio about my background, and that will help them diagnose my dysautonomia issues. :) I think if I mutter a peep about anything, the cardio will use it as a reason to write me off as a head case. :rolleyes:

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I'm coming in on this some considerable time after the original post, but just to say I was also diagnosed with anxiety / depression after a short but stressful and violent first marriage.

13 years later a locum GP suggested that my "panic attacks" (which were not improved by counselling or medication) might be linked to my low Blood Pressure and that it should be investigated. My own GP then referred me to the Cardiac Intervention Unit and luckily for me the cardiologist has a special interest in PoTS and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  

She made me feel sane and I hadn't realised so many symptoms were linked.  

Even my new husband who is very understanding of what I have been through and what symptoms I struggle with, said he had underestimated how much was attributed to stress. 

Long story short, I now have medication to increase my low blood pressure and we seem to have the right but lowest dose to alleviate the daily symptoms.  13 years of misdiagnosis, ironically left me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (not knowing when, where or why I was  having these "panic" attacks) which are now improving with an intensive CBT and PTSD therapist.

I lost the end of my twenties and all of my thirties due to repeated misdiagnosis.  Hopefully things are now finally on the up and my condition can be managed. 

 

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