Health Anxiety

Some symptoms I experience are shortness of breath, chest tightness, chest pain, numbness and tingling in hands, choking feeling in throat and lightheadedness. I have been to many hospitals as well as emergency departments because I felt faint and had heart palpitations and pains. After having xrays, ct scans, blood tests done, there seems to be nothing wrong with my body. However, these symptoms are still occuring. Hence I tried doing some research and it all links to health anxiety. I will just like to confirm if its really that and how should I even get better because I did try breathing exercises etc.


Hi @anonymous21, thank you for writing in! I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing these symptoms. I can imagine that it would be frustrating to go through this yet not have a proper explanation for it.

The thing with health anxiety is that it can be tricky to recognize. It happens when there is a preoccupation or excessive worry about developing a serious illness. The nature of anxiety itself can cause physical symptoms like the ones you mentioned, and those with health anxiety might mistake such symptoms for physical illness. With that said, I am unable to confirm if this is the case for you as I cannot provide professional diagnosis. Instead, I would encourage that you speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist if you would like to have a formal evaluation for it.

Alternatively, if these symptoms are typically lasting for anywhere between 20min to an hour, it might just be a stress response called “fight or flight”, which can happen as a reaction to a stressful or frightening event, or due to excessive mental stress (e.g. thinking about a stressful situation). Assuming this to be the case, it might be worth figuring out what is causing the excessive stress so you can better manage the situation. Perhaps you have a deadline coming up and you feel underprepared for it; could you be going through a transitional period like moving or switching jobs; or perhaps you simply have too much on your plate and it is causing you to feel overwhelmed? It might also help to take note of when these symptoms occur (e.g. before/after a specific event or thinking about a situation) and their duration.

Whichever the case may be, taking better care of your physical health and lowering your stress levels can be a good starting point in alleviating your symptoms. Caring for physical health (e.g. by getting quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise) has been shown to boost mental wellbeing and increases our capacity to cope with daily stress. To lower stress levels, you could try relaxing hobbies such as journaling, coloring, doing puzzles, or even meditation. You may wish to try the tools listed here to help with this:

I hope this helps! o( ❛ᴗ❛ )o

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I second that! Maybe you could speak to a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders. They can help you understand your anxiety and develop coping strategies.

Please know that you’re not alone, and there is help available.

Hey, thanks for sharing! I feel concerned hearing that you are going through this, how have your symptoms been affecting your day-to-day?

It must be very worrying not being able to know what exactly your body is experiencing. From what you have shared, it seems like you have been through a lot to find out too, and still not having an answer must be quite anxiety-inducing. It’s great to hear that you have been seeking out alternatives to support yourself, did these help you feel better, even if just by a little? How do you find the breathing exercises, or other self-care exercises?

I am sorry for not being able to confirm if it is health anxiety as I am not well-versed in that aspect . What do you think about consulting a private GP or a mental health professional for a clearer idea of what you might be going through?

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Thank you for the replies, really appreciate it. I have managed to get a psychologist appointment. The symptoms are occuring less often and I have managed to find ways to cope it. :>


that’s amazing to hear! glad you found the help you needed. We’ll be here to support you if you need a listening ear.

That’s wonderful !
Keep us updated with your progress !

I can always be a listening and empathetic ear if you want one.

Thank you

Hi, I need some advice again… So after my psychiatrist visit in June, I did not get diagnosed with anxiety. The psychiatrist just said I that it was because of the covid I had prior, which had caused to have difficulties breathing, and my mind and body was still somewhat living in that past. However, after that session, everything got worse. I had panic attacks every single day for 2 weeks. And after that stopped, I had a usual common cold, but this made me freak out because I was worrying that my lungs had issues due to the phlegm and blocked nose. Soon after I recovered, I felt like all the progress I have made on my physical symptoms went to waste. Because I had developed new symptoms that I have no idea how to cope with. First, it started off with a a tingling burning sensation at my legs that has lasted continuously for 3 weeks. Next, I have sudden sharp pains that went down the left side of my back. This also occurs at the left side of my neck. I also have migraines and facial pains at the left side of my head. I also get chest pains, tremors and tightness, all at my left side. Additionally, I haven’t been able to swallow. It feels as if I’m being choked or I have forgotten how to swallow. I’ve tried a lot of things to work on my “anxiety” by doing breathing techniques, exercising regularly, managing my sleep schedule, eating well, but nothing seems to be working and my symptoms seem to be getting worse and this makes me feel as if I have a serious illness and I’m fighting the urge to visit the emergency department. Moreover, I became very afraid of getting sick. Things that did not bother last time freak me out now. I have a tendency to keep washing my hands, because I was scared of any surface I touch having germs. I also became scared of using soap. For example, I have a tiny cut on my hand, and I would just overthink that the soap would go into my wound and poison me. Theres many more things that happened but I can’t remember much. I seen some videos that suggest to resist going to doctor’s because reassurance will not help me. I don’t wish to end up in an endless loop, but what if its really more than physical “anxiety” symptoms? What should I do?

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Hi @anonymous47 ,

I’m truly sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a difficult and distressing time, and I appreciate your trust in seeking advice. I’m proud of you for coming back here to seek support, it’s good to have you back. I also want to affirm you that your experiences and feelings are valid, and it’s understandable that you’re concerned about your physical symptoms.

Firstly, we are all so proud of you for being proactive in seeking help, and it’s good that you consulted with a psychiatrist in June. It’s actually common for physical symptoms to manifest as a result of anxiety or stress, and it’s good that you received an explanation for some of your symptoms related to your previous COVID experience.

However, I can see that your symptoms have escalated and are causing you significant distress. While I can’t diagnose or assess on this platform, but I can share with you that sometimes our stress and anxiety can lead to physical sensations and symptoms, often referred to as somatic symptoms. These symptoms can be very real and intense, but they are often related to heightened anxiety levels. The mind-body connection is powerful, and emotional distress can manifest physically.

The panic attacks, tingling sensations, sharp pains, migraines, chest pains, and difficulties swallowing are all symptoms that individuals with anxiety can experience. Given your current state, it might be beneficial to seek a second opinion from a medical professional, particularly if your physical symptoms persist or worsen. You could consult with your primary care physician to rule out any other underlying medical conditions. They can also provide guidance on how to manage these physical symptoms.

In parallel, it’s essential to address the anxiety and distress you’re experiencing. Seeking therapy from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist, can be incredibly valuable in helping you cope with and manage anxiety and the associated physical symptoms. Therapy can teach you effective coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and provide a safe space to explore the underlying causes of your anxiety.

For the time being, I would recommend you trying out these activities to help you in moments when you feel overwhelmed:

I want to affirm you again that seeking help for your anxiety is not about seeking reassurance; it’s about developing a deeper understanding of your emotional experiences and building resilience to manage them effectively. Indeed, when you have the right support, you can work towards finding relief from both the physical and emotional symptoms you’re facing.

Last but not least, you’re not alone - remember that we are here for you and this community will continue to support you. Please take care!

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