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03 Feb 2004

Hi,my mother suffers from Anxiety disorder-she had about attacks in the past 6 months.The problem is that at the Provincial hospital no doctor seems to want to diagnose it.She presents as follows:Severe abdo pains(tests have been done came back NAD),feeling that she is dying ,dyspnoea,constant use of laxatives because she believes her stomach is "dirty",she uses laxatives up to 5 times a week.She also hides her abuse.When she gets anxiety attack,she gets confused and becomes aggresive as well,has severe abdo pains.When she is taken to hospital her BP is usually elevated diastolic is usually 115.Doctor usually diagnose Hypertension due to not taking medication.Please assist I am at my wits end dont know what to do
Answer 473 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear bird,
You're describing a confusing picture -- anxiety, what sounds like panic attacks, and physical symptoms. Anxiety can be related to bellyaches ; and the severe anxiety of panic atacks may include feeling that one is dying or going mad, and difficulty in breathing normally during an attack.
But the abuse of laxatives, and this idea that her stomach is "dirty" sounds odd ( actually, one's stomach, containing fairly strong acid, is probably cleaner than mabny other parts of one's body ). When you describe an attack including severe anxiety, but also aggression, confusion and stomach pains, amd high blood pressure, this sounds more curious.
One possible cause which occurs to me is an odd tumour called a PHAEOCHROMOCYTOMA, which it might be useful for someone to ask her doctors about, as they ought to be careful to exclude this.
It's a tumour near the kidney, which produces excessive amounts of some hormones. It's symptoms can include --- a raised blood pressure ( either all the time or during attacks ) ; rapid heart beat, sweating, severe headaches, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, visual disturbances, and a gloomy sense of approaching doom. yet a physical examination may find nothing apparently wrong. Chemical tests of the urine ( for VMA, HVA and related substances ) can very clearly reveal the diagnosis. If this is the condition, it can be greatly improved by the surgical removal of the tumour, and other treatments.
So ask the doctors whether they have thought of and done the chemical tests for, this condition. It's a frightening looking word, but you can write it does from here, and it's pronounced "Fee-oh-crome-oh-sigh-toma".
And do, please, return with fresh messages to this forum, and let me know what happens, if and when the doctors hav checked out this possibility.
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