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Mental Health

Fear of overexertion

01/15/2009

Question:

Hi, I have had unexplained fatigue and shakiness in my hands for around 2 years and my tests such as blood, urine, etc. came out normal. I don`t know what could be wrong, but recently I think I`ve begun to realize that I have a fear of overexerting myself. For example, I can compare it to my fear of heights or if I`m playing tennis, I want to run as fast I can to the ball, but I jog instead. The reason I say this is because my fatigue began after the end of an extremely difficult college semester, which left me physically and mentally exhausted for a few weeks. I think this incident left me psychologically scarred in a manner of speaking because I do get mental images of myself becoming tired. I did take 5 mg of Celexa for a month and a half, but no effect. Basically, my question is could there be such a thing as a fear of overexertion?

Answer:

Anxiety disorders have many different appearances. Anxiety disorders are common today and can range from very specific "phobias" (or fears, such as claustrophobia, a fear of small, enclosed places) to generalized anxiety disorders, which have been described as excessive worrying, occasionally to such a degree that people can worry about how much they worry.

Only a mental health professional, taking time with you to question you and listen to you can decide whether you have an anxiety disorder. However, the fact that 5 mg of celeca did not help in 6 weeks does not mean that you do not have an anxiety disorder. Most anxiety disorders take higher doses of medications (even SSRIs, which Celexa is one type), and 5 mg is considered a very small dose. They often take longer to see a benefit from the medication, often 4-8 weeks to begin to see benefit.

Therapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (or CBT) is also quite effective in treating anxiety disorders.

I encourage you to look at some of the weblinks for more information about anxiety disorders, and to make an appointment to see a mental health professional. If your symptoms are interfering with the way you want to live your life, then it makes sense to seek help to get better.

Good luck.

Related Resources:

anxiety disorders of america
NIH NIMH anxiety

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati