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Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - Jun 2013
Jun 2013
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Practicing since : 2005
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Hello. I was wondering if anxiety or somatization could cause very debilitating physical symptoms.
I started getting sick a little over a year ago. in the winter it was mainly more frequent nausea and fatigue, then in April of 2012 I came down with an acute illness that seemed like a virus, it mainly involved some nausea and vomiting (not severe), lack of appetite, weakness, fatigue, and rib and back pain. I got better but then a couple weeks later I stared getting bad dizzy spells and then I started throwing up every day, especially in the morning. I was constantly dizzy and lightheaded and just felt horrible all over, but I always had good days and bad days. As the summer went on and into the fall I started feeling a little better, then I noticed I was having to eat really frequently or I felt like my blood sugar was getting low. It wasn't too much of a problem but I also started getting really lightheaded after eating which was kind of annoying.
I stayed that way until February and then I started getting worse. I started feeling really weak and tired and the lack of appetite returned. Got better for a couple weeks again and then the symptoms got worse again in the middle of March. I was WAY better for a couple days last weekend, then the symptoms came back and now I feel worse than ever. I am unable to eat a lot so my blood sugar feels low and I'm staying really weak. I am extremely weak when I wake up. In the past couple of days the back of my mouth and throat have also been sore which I think could be acid reflux, and it is very hard for me to swallow food.
Posted Fri, 3 May 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 1 hour later
Hi thre ~

To answer you query better I would need some more medical history. Can you tell me a little bit more about your medical/surgical history ?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Take care and have a lovely day !
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 57 minutes later
Well I haven't really had any major illnesses and I have never had surgery. I have had blood work and it has all been normal, and in the summer I had an abdominal ultrasound which was normal.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 1 hour later
Hi there ~

Thank you for your extra information. Anxiety can make physical symptoms worse. The physical symptoms you describe as having had during winter and then subsequently in April, 2012. I am assuming that the February you mention was this year in 2013, that you again started to get worse with your physical symptoms. The symptoms got worse again in the middle of March, and has pretty much stayed that way till now. I feel like there is a somatoform disorder going on but you need to visit a doctor and get yourself admitted in a psychiatric facility to have a thorough check up done. There, references to physicians to get your electrolytes or any other conditions back up and running will take place. I would also assume that you would be started on therapy or counseling and be placed on a diet with close monitoring.

You also would have to relate what has been going on during all this time in your personal life, that you have not mentioned here, since it may have a lot to do with what you are feeling. I am unsure as to what the cause of your symptoms are. Psychoanalysis and psychoeducation from a qualified mental health practitioner are necessary to bring out what it is that is truly affecting you, if everything medically checks out ok. I do not think that the abdominal ultrasound being normal is the only test that you need to undergo. I hope you have the insurance to get yourself this treatment. The first thing to do is to check with your insurance company, ask for a good psychiatrist or a list of psychiatrists that are covered under their terms or choose one if the choice is yours, go and seek help with relating your medical condition. I feel like you will be better off visiting with a psychiatrist personally.

I hope this helps. Take care and have a lovely day !
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Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 26 minutes later
Thanks very much! I have had electrolytes, CBC, vitamins, XXXXXXX thyroid, and more all checked and everything was normal as well as the abdominal ultrasound. What other tests might I need?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 1 hour later
I would advise that you get a CT scan of your Head and follow it up with an MRI if it is necessary (the radiologist will advise you if you need one). Also you will need an EEG (both regular and sleep deprived) to rule out any seizure activity as well as a 24 hr Holter monitor to be able to rule out any cardiac pathology that is making you feel dizzy at times. I hope you get this done.

Take care and have a lovely day !
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Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 1 hour later
Thank you! I will see about getting those tests. With the nature of my symptoms do you think it is most likely to be a psychiatric cause?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 1 minute later
Yes, most certainly. I do feel there is a mind - body relation and seeking the expert advise of a qualified psychiatrist in any disease is always helpful.

Take care and have a lovely day !
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 36 hours later
Thank you! Is it at all common for people with anxiety or somatization disorder to report feelings of low blood sugar even if blood sugar is normal? That has been my most persistent symptom even when the other symptoms aren't as bad.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 7 hours later
Thank you for the follow up ! I do believe that it is common for people with anxiety and depression or even somatization to report symptoms of those diseases even when they are feeling normal and if you feel like you really need to confirm if your blood sugar is low or high or normal and instant check would be appropriate using devices that we already have. That way you could make sure what the results of your blood sugar is and feel good about it !

I hope this helped.

Take care and have a lovely day!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 16 hours later
Thank you. The symptoms are very real, for example I will wake up feeling extremely weak until I eat and I definitely feel like my blood sugar is low, but I have talked to some other people with anxiety who report the same symptoms. My blood sugar is normal when I check it but it still feels low.
Can you think of any physical problems that would cause this and the other symptoms I have had or do you think it is all psychological?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 7 hours later
You might want to get a fasting blood sugar done, HbA1C as well as a GTT and a blood pressure checked repeated three times during three separate instances to make sure your blood pressure is okay.
Get your liver function tests, renal function test, thyroid function tests, lipid profile and a hemogram to rule out any problem you may have. If everything is normal then you might want to get a CT Head done to make sure you have no problems. A neurological opinion might also need to be done to rule out any other symptoms or a neurological illness. These would be to your satisfaction and to make sure you do not think of them when these thoughts arise in yourself.

I hope you consult a psychologist or a therapist after you get these things done and do not have any positive result from these tests.

I am glad you are bringing more questions to the table. I hope a good psychiatrist who will take your entire history will be of help.

Take care and have a lovely day !
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Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 41 hours later
Thank you! I checked my fasting blood sugar once and it was 95 which is normal, my blood sugar is usually about 80-100 two hours after eating but I feel like it gets low, so this is probably just an anxiety symptom. I have also had liver, kidney, and thyroid function tests. I have been somewhat concerned about neurological disorders because sometimes I have weakness in my arms and legs but it comes and goes so I think it is probably from anxiety.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 16 hours later
Have you gotten an MRI done because it might be due to its having been a part of a symptom complex which is due to Multiple Sclerosis. Also let me know what the neurologist has to say. I hope this helps.

Please let me know what the MRI says. Take care and have a lovely day!
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Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 4 hours later
No I haven't had an MRI. Is it possible for the symptoms to be anxiety related? I don't think it's MS because I don't really have many other neurological symptoms that I know of.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 9 hours later
I do believe that your symptoms are anxiety related and you would benefit greatly from visiting with a psychiatrist personally. Well, I was suggesting that you get yourself checked out by a neurologist just so you are reassured that you do not have anything neurological. That way you can rest assured that your symptoms are not related any of the issues that may be treated neurologically. I hope your insurance covers and MRI if you have a referral from your Take care and have a lovely weekend!

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling weak, tired and low appetite. Can anxiety cause debilitating physical symptoms? 15 hours later
Thanks very much. Even with insurance an MRI is very expensive so this is why I can't get one unless it is absolutely necessary. So I will try seeing a psychiatrist first.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sushil Kumar Sompur 7 hours later
Yes that would be a good idea. Good luck with that. Take care and have a lovely day!
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