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Have panic attack and developed Tinnitus. Foot shaking and arms go sore. What can be done?

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Practicing since : 1998
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*sigh*, where do I begin? So much s**t has happened since January of this year. I apologize as this is going to be long:

It all started when I went out and shot my gun and developed Tinnitus (didn't have my plugs in that well). That through me through a serious depression of "my life is over", emotional zombie. That gradually faded and I was fine when I discovered I could mask the screeching sound with nature noises like crickets. Well, I then noticed my Tinnitus actually picked up the cricket sounds! My mind heard them even when I turned it off, which threw me through another depressive loop.

I went to bed and started hearing "beeps and boops" and when my alarm clock rang in the morning I heard it in my head after I turned it off. It wasn't "My brain is thinking about the noise" kind of thing, I actually heard it in my head, objectively. I noticed it was now 'reactive', meaning when I turned up the TV my tinnitus made noises along with it. This killed me again.

After having a sort of panic attack one night, I felt a sort of an energy shoot through my right side. My arm became sore, as well as points in my leg and I noticed my the bottom of my foot was vibrating. I had pins-and-needles in my fingers. I thought I had a stroke or had some kind of neuropathy. I went to a doctor who said I was worrying too much. Gradually these symptoms faded.

I was feeling normal when patterns of my thought brought me back to "what-if" questions. I have OCD and that did me in - I was worrying again simply about worrying. Out of that I developed "Brain Fog", so much so that I couldn't read. I was seriously sucidial, as I believed the fog was MS. I went to the ER and they said everything was ok.

Well, now that I have it in my mind that I have OCD, it's been driving me crazy ever since. I'm also still experiencing dissociation. I'm afraid of my own mind and that I'm inducing psychosis on myself.

For example, I'm afraid I'm now schizophrenic and that at any moment I'll hear voices. Well, it is sort of like a self-fulfiling prophephcy because now I do, to an extent. I hear low noices that have the syntax of human conversation. I listen to the sounds and I can't make out any words, but the flow and pitch changes like someone is talking. I work in a call-center and I can hear the customers talking through the headphones of my co-workers sitting farther away - it's alot like that. It's garbled like it's incoming from a radio.

So, now I'm worried I'm borderline schizo. It may be the Tinnitus, but it's very freaky to me. Should I get seen? I've had very little sleep and my appetite is shot.

Again, sorry for the length.
Posted Sat, 6 Jul 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sandhya Manorenj 8 hours later

Thank you for writing in.

From your query I read that you had childhood ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactive disorder),OCD), and now diagnosed to have schizophrenic.

Now the main problem you are facing is you feel ringing in ears( tinnitus) and along with other sounds(alarm clock sound) it is worsening, you hear people talking while keeping headset , experiencing dissociation. All suggest auditory hallucination, instead of an ear disease.

Auditory hallucinations feature prominently in many psychiatric disorders. It has been estimated that approximately 75% of people with schizophrenia experience auditory hallucinations. Auditory hallucination also common in other psychiatric disorder like bipolar disorder,temporal lobe epilepsy; delirium; dementia; focal brain lesions; neuroinfections, such as viral encephalitis; and cerebral tumors. Intoxication or withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines is also associated with auditory hallucinations .Hence organic disorders need to be ruled out by detail history and evaluation.

If you were my patient here , I would order MRI brain to rule out organic lesion in brain, EEG (to rule out seizure) ,and thyroid profile( to rule out hypothyroidism which can also produce such symptoms) and refer to ENT surgeon for audiometry.

Under the guidance of psychiatrist anti psychotics to be started ,once organic disorders are ruled out. It might be worthwhile to consult a neurologist and plan the aforementioned tests.

Hope this will help you.Please get back if you require any additional information

Dr Sandhya Manorenj
Hi Tech city
Hyderabad India
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have panic attack and developed Tinnitus. Foot shaking and arms go sore. What can be done? 3 hours later

I didn't say I was diagnosed with schizophrenia - just that my worrisome mind has conjured up that thought. I have read that Tinnitus can also cause auditory hallucinations, including voices. Also, these aren't external, but XXXXXXX "chitter-chatter" that is indiscernible, and only sounds like it's someone/something saying something.

It's hard to describe. I'm not sure if my mind is simply playing tricks on me due to stress or not. But I will take your advice and get testing done, regardless.

Answered by Dr. Sandhya Manorenj 3 hours later

I understand your concern.

Although the definitions of subjective tinnitus and auditory hallucination are very similar, the origins and underlying causes of each symptom clearly differ.

The two can be differentiated , by the presence of hearing loss ( hearing deficit) in tinnitus. Hence pure tone audiometry ( ENT consultation) is necessary.Other test that helps is Brainstem auditory evoked response, which shows abnormality in auditory hallucination. You may also consider these test when you plan your visit to the doctor.

Hope this would help you.

Wishing for a quick and complete recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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