Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Fearing of Paralysis


Dear Dr. Alan,
I am 45 years male with mitral valve prolapse since 5 years & suffering from severe health anxiety since 10 years. I have been living with different fears from time to time related to health, especially heart. I have been to so many cardiologist & neurologist to get assurance from different fears. I did my cardio test also.I walk daily for 40 minutes & eat health food. I know all anxiety symptoms & was living with anxiety. My problem is My symptoms comes without any anxiety, provoke or fear. I feel my nerve making pressure/vibrating on chest,left face & jaw, head, leg & elbow. until now i have been facing without fear. sometimes i feel something on my left face, Now i started fearing that i will get paralysis. this fear is making me severe anxiety & i am obsessing about it.
i know anxiety & panic is causing numbness, tingling feelings in leg, hand face etc. but still i am not able to convince myself i am obsessing it is paralysis.
i am afraid to google about paralysis and need some help about paralysis, so i can fight with this symptoms. i need to know that, i want to know how paralysis is caused it should be some serious disease or stroke. plz help me so i can convince my mind that this is all anxiety and not the symptoms of paralysis. I went to neruologist, they started me on cipralex and told me this is all anxiety related. i want to tell my mind through cognitive therapy that this is anxiety symptoms & for paralysis you have to have so & so problems, then only it will come.
i will be grateful to you & god bless u.
Thanks & regards.

Hello Afzal

First let me congratulate you on your excellent English.

Statistically, most people with a history like yours outlive their counterparts (probably because they live healthier lives), but I'm sure you know that.  And if you want, you might inquire about recent surgical advances that replace prolapsed valves.  

As for your anxiety, a small measure of it is quite protective, but of course an obsessive measure of it is debilitating. But it is so common that there are effective techniques that can be taught to alleviate it.  I don't know what mental health resources there are in your community, but the ideal would be a clinical psychologist who has training in cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety.  

I hope you can find such a practitioner.  If not, look for a cardiac rehabilitation program that you can participate in, and suggest that that they provide a psychological component as well as the monitoring, advising, and exercising.

If even that is not feasible, remember that most of our thoughts and actions are guided by habit. You adopt a role of a worrier and you have to break this habit just as you would for any other bad habit that you have to change. You ask what circumstances bring it on, and try to change them.  You see if replacement or distraction works. (These are typical strategies discussed by a clinician.)

Thanks for asking us, hope that helps a bit, and the best of fortune to you.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

©2016 All rights reserved.