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Severe panic attack, fear of death and concerned of having cancer. Does anxiety cause any mouth illness?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2190 Questions
Hello Doctor, I started having severe panic attacks around three months ago. It all started when I got suspicious about having an STD, and later I found out that I had Genital Warts. First week was just strong panic attacks with no other symptoms. But now I don't get panic attacks but I have pain all over my body, i feel disconnected as if I'm in a dream and i feel like I'm loosing sight as if i lost apart of my brain. Now I'm constantly seeing a lot of symptoms I'm my mouth and I'm almost positive that i have Oral / tongue Cancer because i have almost all the symptoms although I'm still 18. I thought i had seconds to live when I first had those panic attacks i thought i was dying, and that experience took away the fear of death that I have. Also, the first time I experienced a panic attack is when I ate a cookie that had Marijuana in it; It was the first time that i have tried it and my mind was going crazy and i Lost sight for couple of minuets and I was basically hallucinating and I sometimes now fear that I will suddenly lose my mind and experience the same experience that i had when i ate that cookie. I just did not think the mind could do such a thing.

My question is, will the anxiety last forever or will it go away when my mind is over this event ( STD/ going crazy)

and Also, could Anxiety and stress create these symptoms in my mouth?

Its been a really rough 4 months doctor, where I experienced near death and state of mind that is worse than death, so I would really appreciate a detailed answer.
Posted Wed, 20 Feb 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 58 minutes later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

I understand that you must be going through a difficult time with your recent development of anxiety. Now, all the symptoms which you have described - the panic attack, the fear of death, the belief that you may be having cancer, the dream-like state, etc. are all well known symptoms of anxiety.

It is very common for people with anxiety to have intense fears about major diseases or even death. The dream-like state and the feeling of being disconnected from yourself is called "depersonalization", which again is a manifestation of anxiety.

It is important to understand that anxiety can present with not only psychological symptoms but also with physical or somatic symptoms. Various abnormal sensations like tingling, burning, numbness or even discomfort and pain can be seen in anxiety disorders. Now, this does NOT that you are simply imagining these symptoms mean and that 'everything is in your head'. Not at all. It has been found that anxiety disorders are associated with certain neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain and this can cause the person's pain and sensory threshold to get lowered and he / she can become 'hypersensitive' to sensory stimuli, and therefore have all these physical symptoms. The underlying anxiety also causes a person to become more worried as to why his / her problems are undiagnosed after multiple tests, and then this worry / anxiety itself then starts worsening the symptoms more. Soon this becomes a viscious cycle, leaving the person with more symptoms and suffering.

Often anxiety disorders get "triggered off" through a stressful or frightening experience - psychological or physical. It is likely that your initial fear about STDs, the hospital visits, anxiety about the test results, etc. have been the trigerring factor for your health-related anxiety. anxiety. Marijuana is a major culprit in triggering or exacerbating anxiety disorders / panic attacks, especially in first-time users.

From the description of your problems and the severity of the distress which you are in, it is my opinion that you definitely need professional help to tackle this. When these fears and worries have become strongly embedded in your mind, it may be quite difficult to get rid of these without help. Unlike many people think or would have told you, it is not very easy or simple to just "not worry unecessarily", when you have such intense anxiety. So, I would advise you to consult a psychiatrist for a detailed psychological assessment and further treatment. There are effective treatment options - in the form of medication or counselling / psychotherapy which will help you overcome your problems. Medication may be needed in the initial phase, because of the severity of your symptoms and to mitigate your distress quickly. Also, there are certain specific psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which are specifically designed to handle such negative thoughts / beliefs and can yield very good results.

There is no need to be suffering in silence when we know that help is available and that such problems are treatable. So, please don't hesitate to see a psychiatrist for further help. With appropriate therapy and co-operative efforts from your side, I can assure you that you will be able to come out of this bad phase soon.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Severe panic attack, fear of death and concerned of having cancer. Does anxiety cause any mouth illness? 1 hour later
Thank you Doctor for your helpful response. Do you think my anxiety will be gone after I get a full medical examination? or will it take years to be gone? Because I took this year off from school due to the anxiety, and I don't think i could go on with school with this severe anxiety. Also, is this a case of Hypochondriasis?
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 9 hours later
Hello again,

Since you anxiety has developed acutely after a stressful health-related event, there is a good chance that it will resolve after a full medical examination, but I would recommend that you take professional help for your anxiety since this has been quite severe and disabling (so much so that you were not able to attend school).

Well, hypochondriasis is defined as a psychological condition where the person has persistent belief or preoccupation of having a serious disease, despite adequate medical evidence against it (in other words, despite all medical tests being normal). So, though you may be having some hypochondriacal 'ideas', at this point it may not be appropriate to make a diagnosis of hypochondriasis, without a proper medical evaluation.

One of the most important prognostic factors in anxiety disorders is the 'insight' of the patient, i.e. the realization that they may be having a psychological problem which needs to be addressed. Since, you seem to be having a fairy good insight into your problems, recovery is going to be much easier. So, don't worry, with appropriate therapy, soon you will be able to overcome this anxiety.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Severe panic attack, fear of death and concerned of having cancer. Does anxiety cause any mouth illness? 12 hours later
Thank you so much Doctor, I really appreciate your in-depth analysis of my condition!.
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 4 hours later
You're welcome.

Kindly leave a review if you are happy with my answers.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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