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Feeling disconnected from the world, heart palpitations, breathing difficulty, chest pain

hi, i m 21 female and for about a year to 2 years i;ve been feeling disconnected from the world like i m in a dream or not reality. about a month now i ve been having heart palpitations and having a hard time breathing , it happens alot more when i m laying down. i also have cheat pains along with the palpitations. i have been to see my family doctor but he doesn t take me serious because of my age. i m at the point if something does go wrong that i may need medical attention i dont think i will go to the hospital because the doctors dont believe me. just wondering if someone could maybe help me out?
Thu, 7 Jun 2012
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Psychiatrist 's  Response
Hi and welcome to Healthcare amagaic. Thanks for your question...

The symptoms you describe of feeling disconnected from the world, as if you are in a dream and not in reality are suggestive of 'depersonalization' - which is a kind of psychological symptom. It is often associated with stress / anxiety and can be also part of a psychological disorder called dissociative disorder. The other symptoms such as palpitations, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness can also be anxiety-related.

Now, I understand and fully agree with you that your symptoms are quite real and quite distressing indeed. I presume that you have had a medical examination and assessment to rule out any serious medical problems, and that is the reason your doctor is not suspecting any major medical causes for your symptoms. But you should be also open to the fact that these symptoms can be due to a psychological cause. There is a close link between our mind and body, and sometimes, psychological problems such as underlying anxiety can manifest as bodily symptoms.

I strongly suggest that you have a consultation with a psychiatrist and discuss your current problems. He / she would be able to assess you in detail and suggest an appropriate management plan. And remember, just because you are seeing a psychiatrist, it doesn't mean that your physical symptoms will be ignored and you won't get any medical attention. Psychiatrists are also medical doctors with sufficient clinical skills to detect and treat medical problems, if any are present.

All the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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