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Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5178 Questions
I had a month and a half long panic attack, I guess that's what it was. I had panicky, adrenline was pumping constantly, nervous, sweating symptoms. It was constant. After this ended, I started getting intrusive thoughts, the world seemed different, I had different perspectives On things. My family and friends felt like strangers. My personality changes completely. I became ocd, scary strange random memories keep popping up, I don't care about things I once did, everything seems so unfamiliar. I feel confused. I have all this negativity. i used to be so happy go lucky. Did cortisol or adrenaline Affect my neurotransmitters in any way? Had an mri and it was clean. I always feel mean, mad, hopeless, angry. Emotions and thoughts of my youth are always in my head. It's like my brain is scrambled or confused. I don't feel like the same 28 yr old I once was. whata wrong with me?
Posted Wed, 25 Sep 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Please, get evaluated for depression(psychiatrist)

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about these troubling symptoms you are experiencing recently.

From the information you have provided, you have many negative psychiatric symptoms. This raises the suspicion of depression, Bipolar or shizophrenic disorder. You would need to be consulted and evaluated by a psychiatrist. He would probe for common causes of feeling low like hypothyroidism and reasons that may explain why you are having all these troubling thoughts and increasingly loosing interest in things you used to enjoy.

After this encounter, you would be proposed drugs that would help address this state and try to move you back to your initial happy and ambitious state. Also, life style modifications and coping strategies would be proposed.

Adrenaline or cortisol are likely not responsible for these symptoms.
Also, most investigations including MRI always return normal findings in psychiatric conditions because it is rarely an anatomic problem but more about the mind that cannot be seen on images or lab investigations.

I hope this helps and guides you. If there are any unanswered concerns that you would want us address, please ask follow up questions. If you ever feel like hurting yourself, please pick the phone and call the emergency department for help!

I wish you well and hope we figure out the exact cause and provide timely solutions that would be helpful to you.

Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong? 5 minutes later
When you say problem of the mind, does this mean neurotransmitters/ chemicals?

Or do you think my brain is structurally sound but not functionality wise? I got an eeg done, with that solve anything?

I was also recently diagnosed with high thyroid thyroglobulin antibodies.
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 58 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Could be hypothyroidism.

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for this follow up question and information.

Neurotransmitters disorders are often observed in people with psychiatric illnesses but we have not been able to show that this is the exact cause(s) of psychiatric diseases. It is more of an association than a cause-effect relationship.

A problem of a mind means it has got more to do with the way we perceive and react to the world than what is actually going on. It is not like there is real abnormality that a test can pick and facilitate the diagnosis. Unanimously, all psychiatric diseases are only considered when no real abnormality in any tests can explain the symptoms. This is even more easier to understand below.

Because you were diagnosed with high with high thyroid thyroglobulin antibodies. it means you could be having hashimoto's thyroidits. This causes hypothyroidism and can explain most of the symptoms.You would need to do a TSH to find out whether this is the case with you. If it is the case, the diagnosis would shift from depression to hypothyroidism. This is because a cause has been identified..

I am confident that the EEG would not show any abnormality. This is because there is no symptom or sign that for real warrants this test at this time. The most common indication of EEG are seizures and you have none.

I would like to find out if you do drugs? If this is the case, then please, it could be another possible cause of your symptoms.

Hope this addresses your query fully. Feel free to ask for some more clarifications.
Dr. Ditah, MD

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong? 8 minutes later
I don't do drugs. I used to drink socially on occasion, but haven't had a drink since I started feeling these symptoms. I went to an endocrinologist an she didn't diagnose me with hashmitos or hypothyroid. I am taking selenium to bring antibodies down. Everything I've explained probably sounds like something from a drug user. I don't do drugs, I run 5ks, was happy and emotionally stable, that's why I don't know where all this came from. I feel like I'm going crazy and scared. It all started in March I had I guess what was a virus.I had a uti and then a month later the panic adrenaline started, I also felt depressed to during that time. That's why I assumed chemical imbalance initially

Also I talked to a psychologist awhile bak and he said he's 95 percent sure its not schizophrenia and that it wasn't bipolar. I wanted another opinion though
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 10 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Please, hope I didn't soud like you take drugs!

Detailed Answer:
Am sorry if you had the feeling that I suspect you to take drugs. That is not it. I just said it could be one of the possible causes.

What did your endocrinologist associate the high thyroid thyroglobulin antibodies to? I will suggest that he revisits this and also do a TSH level to make sure that your thyroid is functioning normally. I insist on this because most of these symptoms of lack of interest, feeling dejected, etc are suggestive. Coupled with this high thyroid thyroglobulin antibodies, I cannot ignore the proper investigation of your thyroid.

Hope this helps. Talk to him and let's see what your results turn out to be.
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong? 5 minutes later
No you didn't sound like you were assuming I did drugs at all. I'm just saying if someone were telling me all this, I would think thy we're on drugs. My endo kind if just made it sound like it was normal to fluctuate and that that would have nothing to do with my mood? Shoukd I get a second opinion? Also I spent weeks obsessing that this all could be schizophrenia in my mind even though that was not my diagnosis as previously mentioned. Do you think I'm spending way to much time in my head. I just don't feel the same, I almost feel slower like semi retarded.
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 20 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes get a second opinion, get your TSH evaluated.

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for this follow up.

Am sorry for the tardy response. Have been battling with a cold all day today.

I will suggest that you get a second opinion about your thyroid function as it can explain this low mood. A simple TSH level would be highly suggestive of the functional state of the gland.

Spend time investing in positive thoughts. This would be of good help to you. Remember we tend to act in the way we see ourselves. Positive feelings would produce positive results and vice versa.

I hope this helps and that you soon get out of this low state and disturbing thoughts. I wish you well.
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong? 4 minutes later
Thanks so much. One last question- does any if this sound like possible frontal lobe disfunction? Again nothing showed on mri? Personality change, slight behavior change, changes in thought etc?
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 15 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Personality change would have been reported by others and not you. I don't know if this is what your close ones have been telling you lately.

Please, stop labeling yourself with just all possible diseases out there. You deserve better than this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had panic attack. Getting intrusive thoughts, feeling scary and confused. What could be wrong? 4 minutes later
They noted that ive been quiet lately and not as happy, I've been moody and irritable, but youre right. Thanks Dr. for your help.
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Thanks, too!

Detailed Answer:
Their observations are suggestive of depression rather than personality change.

I wish you well. You may consider closing the discussion at this point if you have no further related questions. Also, lend us a few minutes of your time to write a short review so that we can better serve you next time. Thanks.

Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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