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Thread: Bladder infections and panic?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Marina, CA

    Bladder infections and panic?

    Hi all,

    It's been quite a while since I've posted here. I had something happen a few weeks ago that was a wake up call, and I realized that I don't really talk to many people with spinal cord injuries and maybe that needs to change.

    I had a bladder infection that got pretty bad. I didn't have my usual symptomatic reaction, so it flew under the radar for quite some time until it peaked one Sunday. That Saturday night I said to my cats, "Something's wrong with Mommy. I don't know what, but something's coming to a head. Don't be afraid when it comes, because that means it will be over." I had had the feeling for a few weeks that something was not right in my body, that something was keeping me in a mental and physical state of sickness, and that night I guess that was the start of the "feelings of impending doom" that I hear can be a symptom of infection (I didn't recognize it as such at the time).

    Sunday morning I woke up with high anxiety and vomiting that wouldn't stop. I called my mom, and she came quickly. Thankfully she took over and did what I would not do: call 911. By the time I got to the hospital I was having panic attacks that would peak every ten minutes or so, followed by vomiting, then a few minutes of calm before the panic started to rise again. This cycle lasted for almost five hours, mainly because I refused to take more anti-nausea meds until I got the anti-anxiety meds because vomiting was the only relief I got from this uncontrollable panic. Well, as many of you know, it can take hours to get a medication in the hospital, especially the ER -- then you have to wait another 30-45 minutes for it to kick in. Also, I'm a young-ish female, and I'm aware that this may have influenced their thinking (possibly, "Is she still whining?"; "She's being really dramatic!"; "She wants *more* Ativan??").

    Have any of you had the experience of intense anxiety and panic due to an infection? SCI Nurse, if you have an infection has not gone systemic, is it still possible to have panic attacks from it? I mean, I've had anxiety attacks before and at this point in my life I've trained myself to cut them off at that pass...but this was a whole new animal, way out of my league. I tried so hard to calm myself and breathe slowly, but it felt physiological and therefore uncontrollable.


  2. #2
    yes it is possible to be so sick that you can have an anxiety attack. It happened to me once. I had a severe sinus infection, probably bronchitis too. I had trouble getting my breath and felt pressure on my chest after starting antibiotic treatment for less than 24 hours. When I returned the next day the PA told me I had an anxiety attack. I was kind of insulted that she told me that. I was pretty sick, I think they gave me a nebulizer treatment in the office and sent me home. The antibiotic finally kicked in after 48 hours and I felt a lot better.

    If you have anxiety attacks regularly, ativan (or another benzodiazepine) should only be used in emergency situations, like for example if you were really sick like . You should be on an antidepressant that can cover depression and anxiety. It sounds like you have also had some therapy which also helps with modifying your reactions/coping skills.


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