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Double heart attack during physics test....

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Doc Henry, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    So I was taking a physics test the other day and I had THE WORST physical anxiety symptoms ever. I had pains all down both arms that were what I imagine heart attack symptoms would feel like. My hands were cramping up so much I could barely write!

    The funny thing is that I am a senior in college and got over my extreme test anxiety during my freshman year! In addition to usually being a good/calm test taker, I was also extremely well prepared for the test. So I have no idea what brought on such horrible anxiety.

    I pushed through it for a while and it finally went away after about 40mins, but holy crap it was annoying!

    There is no real point to this post, although I wonder if this is a hint of what might happen during the MCAT???

    FYI- I got an A on the test in the end:D
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  3. Welcome to panic disorder. Now add throwing up, feeling dizzy, and being terrified that you're going to die, let it happen once or twice a day for six months straight, and you'll have an idea of what I went through a few years ago.

    BTW, good job on the A.
  4. mdvargas

    mdvargas Crystal ball reader 2+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    Ah, good ol' days I certainly don't miss; for me it was in Orgo, one time the Prof. reminded us it's not the end of the world or sometimes he'll say K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid), and did well afterall. As for the MCAT, I can't say for sure. I found anxiety kicking in as soon as I thought the test determined my destiny, then made myself think "it's just a damn test" "It'll be over soon, beer is waiting for you at home", calming down soon after. Just keep positive on MCAT day ;)
  5. Dr. C. Troy

    Dr. C. Troy Member 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2006
    Wow, maybe going into such a stressful field (medicine), is not a good idea if you have symptoms like that already.

    Have you talked with any healthcare professionals about it?
  6. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    the weirdest thing, that i didn't mention, is that mentally I did not feel anxious . I was ready and excited to prove how well I knew the material...The physical pain just came out of no where.
  7. I see your anxiety disorder, and raise you PTSD with all the symptoms you describe plus flashbacks that used to be triggered by things like the smell of jet fuel, low flying aircraft, grilling pork chops, and cut grass.
  8. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou 2+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2006

    Not to bag on you Dr. C. Troy, but I just always find it interesting how most advice translates into "Give up now. One less person I have to run over during my fight to get into med school."

    It's a common theme on the site.
  9. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    I appreciate where you are coming from, but I know medicine is perfect for me. I have worked in numerous healthcare settings including the ER and have had to deal with patients coding, strokes, choking etc. and have never had a problem.

    I haven't talked to anyone about it because (a) this is a first time thing, I know I mentioned bad test anxiety during freshman year, but that was just typical nerves (b) I was able to work through it and it didn't hurt my performance and (c) I assume they would suggest meds and I am not interested in that option.
  10. foofish

    foofish 7+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    That's actually also a possible sign of a panic/anxiety disorder--when your physical state doesn't "align" with your mental state. Not saying that's what you have/happened, but I'd have a chat with your doctor....regardless of the cause, shooting pains and heart flutters aren't good.
  11. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    yea, 'nam was bad for me too. j/k fo course. That really sucks and I'm sorry you have to deal with it! Good thing you have a sense of humor (based on your avatar and shirts)
  12. Why are you not interested in the option of medication? I highly recommend you talking to someone about it. This is coming from someone who has been in your shoes. Feel free to PM me.
  13. Actually it's largely why I have the sense of humor I do. I just need to remind people from time to time that it's more of a coping mechanism than anything else. ;) BTW it is not much of an issue anymore.....treatment does work and has vastly improved things in my case. :)
  14. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007

    Thanks for the advice. It actually made me remember that I had this happen one time at work.

    Again, no mental anxiety...My HR just sky-rocketed up to like 130-140 BPM and I had horrible pressure on my chest. I was working at OHSU, so the ER was nice and close. The doctors would not stop asking about my drug use (of which there was NONE). It was embarassing. I was only 19 at the time (22 now) and nobody could figure out what happened. They ended up blaming it on the catch all "dehydration", gave me tons of fluid and sent me on my way...
  15. Dr. C. Troy

    Dr. C. Troy Member 2+ Year Member

    May 5, 2006
    I'm not bagging on anyone either, but when taking a physics test induces acute tachycardia, pains and muscle cramps, you gotta at least take a step back, and ask yourself why you are this stressed out!

    But it sounds like the OPer is dedicated, so it just sounds like he really should make sure that none of this is going to put his health into serious jeopardy. I mean, I never had these kind of anxiety attacks, and if I did, I'd hope that I would at least make sure that it wasn't going to harm me somehow.

    That's all :cool:
  16. Tired Pigeon

    Tired Pigeon 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    If you're having physical symptoms, why would you be uninterested in treating them? Using appropriate medication is not a sign of weakness; to the contrary, it suggests a willingness to deal with a problem in a constructive and effective manner. Not saying you definitely need meds, but it seems self-defeating to categorically rule out that option. In any case, good luck to you.
  17. sejin8642

    sejin8642 5+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    This is why we need 8 hours sleep before any test.
  18. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat 7+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2002
    next stop; sexual dysfunction
  19. LeafNinja

    LeafNinja 2+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2006
  20. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Acute tachycardia, eh?
  21. IceMan0824

    IceMan0824 Holy crip, he's a crapple 5+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2006
    Wow, I am so inspired now by your courageousness. I'll never let anything stop me now, and I'm make sure to post it on SDN to motivate others.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
  22. beenthere2

    beenthere2 5+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    This probably is anxiety, but never overlook the possibility that this may indeed be a physical problem (ie: tachycardia/arrhythmia, endocrine, etc. etc.) Go see a doctor. Don't make diagnoses without all the facts.
  23. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    State of Delirium
    finally, my psych minor has allowd me to understand something that I didn't learnin premed. Ah, conditioning and anxiety attacks :)

    People who suffer anxiety attacks often continue to get anxiety attacks simply by stimuli association.
  24. kingtz

    kingtz Caffeine for Life 2+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Los Angeles

    I think I'll take a heart attack... :cool:
  25. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon 7+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2003
    Until you understand these issues either from a physician's standpoint or a patient's, try not to make assumptions about what triggers them. Having a panic type disorder (if that's what this is) is not a sign of weakness, or inability to handle stress, or inappropriately high levels of stress, or anything else. It's a medical condition, typically neuro/endocrine, and it can be pretty debilitating. Attacks can occur with no stimulus at all, although yes, stress can lower the threshold. It's also not uncommon. I've met physicians with this sort of condition who manage just fine, and I've made it through most of MS-1 year with a panic/dysautonomic condition. Just like anything else, you just have to take care of yourself. It's time the stigma of people with 'mental' or 'psychological' or 'nerve' problems being weak and incapable comes to an end.

    As far as the OP's comments are concerned, I encourage you to seek out medical assistance. There are many treatments that can help this condition, if it becomes more frequent. Either way, it's important to have CV symptoms checked out, just to rule out other possible problems. Young people CAN have acual heart disease and things like that, even if it's not particularly common. If you did happen to have a panic disorder, I hope you won't dismiss meds out of hand. It's not a sign of weakness, and there are many possible treatments that don't have the major side effects you may be worried about. Also, therapy, self-conditioning, and support groups are big helps. Take care of yourself bud, and get checked out! If anybody has questions about my own experiences, feel free to ask, either here or by PM, doesn't really matter to me either way.
  26. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days... 10+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I just remember that I sometimes get the **** beaten out of me each week in practice, and that this piece of paper in front of me can't really hurt me, and in fact, I could seriously beat the **** out of it, and there's nothing the paper can really do to stop me, and it calms me down ALOT.
  27. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon 7+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2003

    I'd rather get punched in the face than get a bunch of papercuts (assuming you're not Mike Tyson) :)

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