Subscribe for updates and to learn more:
Panic & Anxiety Attack
The public and the medical community either do not know why certain individuals experience panic/anxiety attacks or simply believe this to be a mental condition. Either way there doesn't seem to be a permanent solution. The patient may have to live with the fear of a panic attack that lurks in the dark, waiting to strike at some unpredictable moment. As if life cannot get any worse, this only adds to the problem.
A month and a half ago I treated a patient who suffered from panic attacks. This is an old patient. After I successfully treated her previous condition, she emailed me and asked if I could do anything for this issue, which has been on and off for years, but was getting worse this time around. Panic and anxiety attacks can be classified into the psychosomatic class of conditions. In Asia we call this "mind-body" conditions. In other words, it is a condition that involves the mind and body, both of which influence each other. As a result, clinically speaking the set of complaints can be widely various and influences multiple organ systems.
Sometimes however, it may seem instead vague. This patient's complaints were special and individualized, as should be the case with these types of problems. She told me she feels fine for the most part. But being around people can make her anxious. But the worst thing she's coming to seek help for, is her problem of not being able to cross the bridge without going through a bout of this. As she has errands to run sometimes, and lately more frequently, that involve crossing the bridge to the other side of town, her panic and anxiety attacks can be quite dangerous while she's driving.
Whenever she crosses the bridge, even if there are relatively very few cars and therefore ample space far and between, her panic attacks would come nevertheless. She would feel a tense tight sensation gripping in the pit of her stomach. Her body would feel stiff and shaky. As often is with patients like these, I asked if she felt any oppressive sensations in her chest or if there were any palpitations. But she said no. However, when I inquired if she had any funny sensations in her throat, she said yes, and was a bit surprised because even she did not personally pay attention to this sensation until I asked her. This weird sensation, which we call "globus hystericus", would disappear once the panic subsides. After I finished my assessment I explained that her condition isn't likely the work of her own mind but was instead a result of the body's systems being untuned.
There are some pathogenic by-products congested within the body that causes her to have this problem. I prescribed Chinese Medicine to help her circulation and promote her body to eliminate these "waste" products. I gave a week's medicine and told her I would follow up with her. She said she would be crossing the bridge again in another 5-6 days, so we'll know if the medicine works. Over a week later I contacted her to ask how she was. She was very happy.
Apparently, she felt as if this problem didn't even exist this time crossing the bridge. I told her to come back so I can reassess. When she did, I could objectively conclude that her improvement coincided with my clinical assessment findings. So I gave more medicine and told her to continue to take it in order to achieve more of a longer-lasting and stable effect. A few weeks later I learned that she had actually crossed the bridge multiple times without any problems. Not only that, her anxiety around people has also improved.
Some readers may not know what "globus hypstericus" from this case refers to. In plain English it means(you guessed it) "hysterical glob", not the most medically professional name one would think of. It is the sensation of something stuck in the throat which feels like a piece of food or a "glob" of phlegm. When one tries to swallow it, it fails to go down despite repeated attempts.
When one tries to cough it out, it won't either. When one tries to physically pick it off, they find nothing. Hence, there really is nothing there; it's simply a neurogenic sensation. Unfortunately, g.hystericus is an extremely annoying feeling and drives certain people mad. Most of the time, individuals who get this kind of sensation are those who are too tense in their daily lives. Although afflicted individuals may not be "hysterical" as the name suggests, but most are certainly more "neurotic" than the normal person. Meditation and walks in the park can all help. But when those are not enough, Chinese Medicine is a worthy consideration.