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What causes sleeping difficulty and pins and needles sensation on the scalp?

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Posted on Wed, 26 Oct 2016
Question: Why do I have difficulty sleeping, feel pins and needles on my scalp, face, neck and back, and my cheeks, mouth, tongue, and throat randomly feel numb?
I am a 18 year old girl. Height: 5'2" Weight: 123. I do not do drugs or consume alcohol (except a couple times) and I rarely have caffeine. I am an athlete so I am very active. I have never had any serious sports related injuries; no neck, back, or head injuries. I am not sexually active. Now to the problem. I have no idea whats wrong with me and I don't know if any of my symptoms are related so I'm just going to share all of it. My entire life I have had difficulty sleeping, even as a young child (confirmed by my parents). I can't remember my sleep patterns too far back, but in my adolescent years I get around 4 hours of sleep on a good night and on bad nights I go a few days without sleep. When I do sleep, I wake up constantly through out the night. I sleep with the lights on and a movie playing on a computer behind me. This is because I'm terrified of the dark, to the point of full on panic, and I am uncomfortable when I don't hear other people. I see shadow people at night, not only in bed but also when I'm up and around. There was a point, three month long period, when I could manage trying to sleep in the dark, but I still ended up getting the same amount of sleep. Currently I take prescription medication for sleep, but it doesn't help too much. It just leaves my in a state where I'm awake and not able to think or function. I do take my meds late because I have responsibilities up until around 11 and my meds make it nearly impossible to stand due to lightheadedness. For the past three years, my doctor has changed my meds and dosages multiple times and I've given good attempts at changing my sleep habits. There was no improvement. I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, PTSD, Bi polar disorder, anxiety disorder, and ADHD. I've spent a lot of time in psychiatric facilities (been out for 2 years now) mostly to sort out behavioral issues and learn to function with the rest of society. All of that is under control other than the occasional anxiety attacks when under extreme stress, primaraly school related, and difficulty concentrating in all aspects of my life. For the past year now, I've been getting a pins and needles feeling on my scalp, face, neck, back, and sometimes thighs. It ranges from a similar feeling to when your foot falls asleep to very painful stabbing needles. Sometimes it happens frequently, then go away for a few weeks, and then come back. It seems random; no pattern or trigger identified. I have seen my primary physician concerning this issue and I was told to talk to my psychiatrist to see if it was my meds. My psychiatrist said that none of my meds should cause this so I went back to my doctor. She tested to see if I had a B12 deficiency; never got a straight answer on that. I started taking vitamins and there have been no noticeable changes. After that, the problem was dismissed. In the past few months, my cheeks, mouth, tongue, chin and throat randomly feel numb. I don't completely lose feeling though. I have no difficulty breathing or swallowing, however my throat feels weird. I can't find the words to describe. I went to the ER and they checked my potassium levels. When it came back normal they sent me home telling me to contact my doctor if it continues. It continued so my mother scheduled a neurologist appointment. That's going to happen a month from now. I've been getting a lot of "well that's unusual" and "I don't know what could be causing this". I'm not sleeping, I feel pins and needles all over my body, and my face goes numb. I'm really curious what is causing this. Any ideas?
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Answered by Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe (58 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Consultation

Detailed Answer:
Hello, and thanks for your question.

What you are describing are consistent with classic somatic symptoms of anxiety. This includes numbness and tingling, strange feelings in the throat, sleep difficulties, etc. Definitive treatment of anxiety is either with an antidepressant or psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Please feel free and do let me know in case of any further queries.

Regards
Dr. Sheppe

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Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe

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Practicing since :2014

Answered : 2238 Questions

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What causes sleeping difficulty and pins and needles sensation on the scalp?

Brief Answer: Consultation Detailed Answer: Hello, and thanks for your question. What you are describing are consistent with classic somatic symptoms of anxiety. This includes numbness and tingling, strange feelings in the throat, sleep difficulties, etc. Definitive treatment of anxiety is either with an antidepressant or psychotherapy or a combination of both. Please feel free and do let me know in case of any further queries. Regards Dr. Sheppe tinyurl.com/DrSheppeAnswers