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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Hypochondriac

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Question: HELP. I'm a hypochondriac. How can I just stop obsessing with my health. I've been suffering from heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease for the last two weeks. So I've been on the internet looking for info (I have a binder full of printouts) and reading my medical encyclopedias (I have many). I keep thinking of the worst that could happen. I went to see my doctor, she prescribed two pills to take. So now I'm surfing the net looking for side effects for these pills.I just want to make sure that there's no problems taking these two drugs together even if the doctor repeated it twice to me that there wasn't. Since I've been having these gastric problems, I've been very nervous and having palpitations and panic attacks. The panic attacks started two weeks ago when my problems started. I was in my car and I had chest pains, I thought this was it. So I began to feel worried, nervous...my heart started beating fast...and faster and suddenly my arms and legs started shaking. By then I was looking desperately for a Hospital sign. I had to park, because I was shaking so bad I couldn't drive anymore. I got out of the car and ask the first person I saw if there was an hospital nearby. There was one. Just this fact help me relax( I thought if this is it, I might still have a chance to be saved, the hospital's 1 block away). So I got back in my car, and then I realized that I was just having a panic attack and told myself " Hey I'm 29 years old, I work out, I'm too young for a heart attack ". I drove a few more streets and had to stop again (I still had the chest pain which I couldn't explain) And then I started to think the worst - My grandmother died of cancer and my grandfather of a heart attack, maybe it's in my genes?-. I walked for a few minutes and relaxed. I was so confused, usually when I'm sick, I can usually say what it is, by obsessive research in my encyclopedias. But this time I had no clue and this was my heart, the thing that if it stops beating you're gone.. I finally made it to where I was going and started to feel a heartburn coming. I started to read on heartburn and discovered you can have chest pain that resemble the real chest pain you get when you're having a heart problem. So I relaxed a little more. But I haven't been sleeping well from that day. I had a few other panic attacks, mostly at night. I still have palpitations, even thought I did an EKG test and my heart is fine. I just can't stand it anymore. I'm so hypochondriac, that I'm starting to feel that I know more than my doctor!!! And I always feel the doctor didn't do enough, didn't ask enough questions to really understand my health problem. I want to stop feeling this way. HELP!! Also, even though my EKG test is normal and that my dose of synthroid is correct, I'm not 100% reassured that my heart is OK. My doctors (I have two!! I see them for different stuff, but I compare their answers)keep telling me I'm anxious or stressed. I've been nervous, anxious and stressed for 29 years....!! Why do I feel like that now? Am I in a terminal phase of hypochondria?? Please tell me what I can do. My palpitations, are they a continuing reaction to that traumatic episode I had in my car?

Answer: Sounds like you are having panic attacks-a lot different from being a hypochondriac. An SRI antidepressant or a benzodiazepine can really work wonders here. Occasionally, a beta blocker will also be of help.
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