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jfrank17

Eating as an activating factor (increasing anxiety or symptoms)

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jfrank17

This has puzzled and distressed me for a long time. Whenever I'm having trouble with anxiety, I find that after eating a meal the anxiety heightens strongly for a time. I try to wait until I'm pretty relaxed to eat, and not think of anything worrisome or stressful while eating, but after I am done a few minutes later I just feel the anxiety really kick in. Increased heart rate, sense of something wrong, sense of gloom and fear. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat.

 

I am so confused why this happens and wonder if anyone else has experienced something similar.

 

I think I did read something once that said a person's heart rate picks up after eating as a part of the digestive process but I'm not sure if this is any relation or explanation or not. I believe it said under normal circumstances a person isn't really aware of the increased heart rate.

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Nadia

I only had that happen to me once, when my body was in an extreme hyper-alert state, but I have heard other people mention it. I think once you're in anxiety-mode, ANYTHING can be a trigger for anxiety... and given the amount of neurotransmitters we have in the gut, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a a connection.

 

Have you tried eliminating processed carbs and maybe eating smaller meals more frequently?

 

Sometimes I think the best thing to do when your body screams "danger" at some random thing is to do your best to ignore it and see if it resolves itself. Especially if the thing that sets it off is necessary for survival! And by ignore I really mean notice, accept, let it pass. Tell yourself all is OK.

 

But at the same time it's probably a good idea to stay away from stimulants like sugar, excessive carbs, etc.

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jfrank17

I do think sugary/carby or large meals can be worse. When I'm dealing with high anxiety I do try to keep it to small amounts. But even salad or a bit of celery with some hummus can set me off if I'm already in a severe state. I have some foods I find easier to eat with seemingly less activation, like vanilla yogurt not too sweetened, boiled eggs, generally blander things.

 

I'm thinking somehow our systems naturally send out neurological signals for digestion and with our already intense neuro-sensitivity it may trigger some adrenaline for some people.

 

Very odd thing and sometimes it makes me reluctant to eat. I take in more fluids when this is going on, water, herbal tea, etc.

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Barbarannamated

That's very interesting, Jfrank. I was about to post a thread about severe fatigue brought on by eating. It's rare that I eat and dont have to sleep immediately after. Ive heard of this with dysautonomia and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).

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KellyS

I am going through withdrawal so maybe I am just hyper-sensitive right now. But when I eat anything that has ANY sugar or caffeine in it I get anxious within minutes of eating it. I think its just because of my withdrawal but I could be wrong. I never felt this affected by food before I stopped my anti-d meds.

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jfrank17

It definitely seems eating/digestion has effects on those of us with this heightened neurosensitivity. I know I'm definitely staying away from caffeine or sugar right now as I try to get more stable again. Any eating seems to affect me to a degree but some foods seem worse than others, and eating smaller amounts seems to make it less severe.

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Altostrata

I'm thinking somehow our systems naturally send out neurological signals for digestion and with our already intense neuro-sensitivity it may trigger some adrenaline for some people.

Yes, this is probably it -- when we eat, our systems call up a lot of hormones to help with the process. Most of our serotonin is in the gut to help with digestion!

 

The change in status, and tendency for the nervous system to slow down during digestion, probably causes these strange reactions.

 

I've seen this reported before in withdrawal syndrome; it does go away after a while. It probably indicates very high withdrawal-induced sensitivity.

 

Pushing the system with sugar and caffeine, though, is not a good idea. These are definitely neuroactive.

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Rhiannon

Yes, I've heard people report this before, with benzo withdrawal. It's not one of the more common withdrawal effects, but you're not the only one.

 

Definitely try to find the foods that your system finds more calming. You may find it beneficial to learn about the GAPs diet, which is designed to normalize intestinal flora; recent research shows that intestinal flora can have an effect on anxiety states in mice, at least, and I think there's more research along those lines that I haven't really looked into yet. My own lazy version of the GAPs type eating does seem to help keep me more stable.

 

The digestive tract has its own nervous system and it sends way more signals TO the brain than it receives FROM the brain. If you want to learn more about that you can Google "enteric nervous system" or "gut nervous system" or "gut brain." I find that when my gut is upset or unstable, I get intense emotional signals going from gut to brain. (They say it's via the vagus nerve.)

 

Also, read up about MSG and the other names it goes under. Dietary glutamate can cross from your bloodstream to limbic structures (which are not protected by the blood/brain barrier). Glutamate is our primary excitatory neurotransmitter. There's a ton of free glutamate--some of it labeled as MSG but most of it labeled as "vegetable flavoring" or "natural flavors"--in processed foods, soups, sauces, even canned tuna. That might be something worth looking into. http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm

 

Just some directions to look. I used to have a lot of trouble with MSG and other sources of free glutamate, but as I've become more stable and onto lower doses that's settled down a lot and I can eat seaweed and some processed foods without crumbling into an anxious, destabilized mess now.

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Frank

Don't underestimate caffeine. It is way more powerful (and its effects last longer) than most people think.

Of course some people can drink coffee all day long and still sleep like a baby at night, but some of us are not that lucky. I experimented on myself than even going from 1 cup of coffee every day to zero can have a big impact.

 

At ~750 mg/day the tolerance is complete, meaning caffeine ceases to provide any benefits. Lower dosages generally induce incomplete tolerance, but side effects already occur at ~200 mg/day, including increased anxiety. Sleep disruption is also very common, as caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours, meaning a strong cup of coffee (120 mg) taken 10 hours before bed still leaves 30 mg caffeine active in your system. People don’t experience these effects this way, because human psychology is set up to detect only differences in our mental state and is generally poorly equipped to detect absolutes. This causes you to think caffeine is only working when the effects are still accumulating, which takes 30 to 90 minutes, and think it’s wearing off when it’s only just past its peak. (Juliano & Griffiths, 2004).

 

Withdrawal occurs at dosages as low as 100 mg/day. That’s just one typical cup of coffee. One study (Field et al., 2003) even found that abstaining from just 41 mg/day for 30 hours decreased blood flow to some parts of the brain by 19-32%. The most common withdrawal symptoms are headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded-ness.

from Caffeine is a Femme Fatale

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Shanti

I went through this too for a while in the roughest part of my w/d. So as you can see you're not alone! On my website I recommend people to eat small meals more frequently rather than large meals less often.

 

And yes Caffeine can set me into w/d symptoms even now. I really wish I could drink some coffee :( Even one cup! I need it for low blood pressure as well as help me with energy a bit.

 

I also recommend against MSG (monosodium glutimate) and Aspartame (nutrasweet and equal) as they are agitating to the nervous system as well. MSG is in a lot of packaged food and soups. Aspartame in diet drinks and food.

 

(Edit to add that I see Rhi already mentioned MSG)

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Nikki

This is happening to me right now. It was just about a constant problem when tapering Lexapro.

 

Drinking cal/mag citrate fizz settled it down.

 

My heart is pounding and then I get scared and it gets worse. I have been having this for a few days now. I changed my doses again and I have been eating alot of carbs.

 

I am afraid I am having a heart attack when this comes on. Kept me awake for a few night.

 

Try the fizz, it really worked :)

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alexjuice

I've experienced several flavors of gastro issues, including increased anxiety.

 

My problem though, as I looked at it more carefully, was not about eating but about what I ate. Glutamate in processed foods and even some natural foods, triggered me. Sugar affected me too though not with anxiety. Other foods and drinks produced predictable reactions. I had to avoid some foods for a while, sardines and fresh flax seeds for instance bc of high anxiey.

 

I found homemade chicken broth very calming. To a lesser extent, homemade ginger tea (boil some fresh, peeled ginger slices in water) gives same.

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Phil

I have trouble with eating, too. I presumed it was something to do with the body needing to digest the food, so leaving less energy for the rest of the bodies functions.

 

I've also read that hypoglycemia can cause anxiety problems after eating, and hypoglycemia itself can be caused by stress. It stands to reason that during withdrawal we are extremely stressed, so maybe that's the cause?

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Phil

 

And yes Caffeine can set me into w/d symptoms even now. I really wish I could drink some coffee :( Even one cup! I need it for low blood pressure as well as help me with energy a bit.

 

 

Have you tried cocoa or dark chocolate? I sometimes have a small amount of cocoa mixed with hot water to give me a little boost, or high cocoa dark chocolate. It's less activating than coffee or tea, but apparently contains some caffeine.

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Shanti

MMm, that sounds good. I can add a little cocoa to my decaf coffee.

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jfrank17

I had forgotten to check back with this thread for awhile. I'm really glad for everyone's input and experiences. I definitely have to be very careful with how I eat when I'm having a lot of anxiety waves. Unfortunately sometimes just the thought of eating sets off anxiety and that doesn't help. Something like chicken soup sounds comforting though. I may make a big batch in my crock pot and freeze in containers.

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Altostrata

I subsisted on chicken soup and cooked chicken for quite a while when I was most hypersensitive.

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lexhex

Jfrank17 - The issue with food you describe is exactly what I go through EVERY DAY. I eat, and then I have RAGING anxiety and an increased heart rate for almost two hours until it settles down. The early morning meals are the worst offenders - it gets easier as the day progresses. I usually don't move util the two hours passes because its impossible to function or think about anything else but crawling out of my own skin. The only think I can think of to explain it is that the neurostransmitters in the gut become dysfunctional (particularly serotonin) and digestion becomes a state of hyperarousal until the food moves out of the stomach and into the small intestine. I have been in withdrawal for a little more than 7 weeks and this is a persistent problem (among the 10 others I could list that are driving me nuts.) You are definitely not alone here. I alwys have eaten fairly well, but since this started, I am even more cautious. NO SUGAR. NO CAFFEINE. No REFINED Carbohydrates. The best diet is a a low glycemic index one that doesn't cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It's not going to make it go away, but overall, it seems to take the edge off.

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aza

When I was in withdrawal at it's worst I experienced anorexia like symptomes, eating made everything so much worse, it got so bad I was afraid to eat. For me this was the worst part of my withdrawal.

 

At that point I had to reinstate before I could eat and feel relatively normal.

 

It wasn't untill I took magnesium that I was able to eat without feeling like food was the last thing my body wanted. Then I was able to continue and finish my taper.

 

I have allso made big changes to my diet, 1/3 less coffee, 75% less sugar, flouride free water, no processed foods, more whole foods, more water, a better formulated multivitamin and magnesium every day.

 

I know these dietary changes have made a huge difference, I have fewer and milder headaches my arthritis doen't flare up. Much less pain.

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Daveguy2015

I'm almost 5 months into withdrawal and I have this symptom where after I eat any type of food, I feel this tense anxiety feeling.

 

It's causes my anxiety to go up very high because I fear I've been drugged or something like that. 

 

Has anyone had this before? Is this a normal part of withdrawal? It's so frustrating because I'm fearful of eating out now. 

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Jaywill

Yes I am 31 months off and still really sick. I am totally gluten and dairy intolerant and can't have many foods or drugs. I have lost 25 pounds and I didn't need to lose. I also have major sensitivities to perfume etc. Life is pretty bleak right now as i am so tired of being this sick for so long

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Mort81

Hey Dave, I am in month 7 of WD and I am starting to notice a big improvement on how my body recieves food. My gut was painful and when I ate it's almost like I was having an allergic reaction. Basically my whole stomach was so tense and painful. But it's getting better now without a

doubt!

 

JayWill I am sorry your still feeling like that! I lost 30 lbs in my first 2 months of WD and I too didn't need to lose the weight. I also cut out dairy, gluten, eggs, sugar etc.. The list goes on and on. I think my go too meal that may have helped my gut the most was a homemade chicken bone broth soup. I use a whole chicken than after 2 hours I get all the meet off the bones and leave the bones back in for 10 hrs. Here's a link though

 

http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

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Daveguy2015

Hey Mort81, I don't really have problems with my gut becoming painful, it's more of feeling tense, and panicky after I eat. Did you feel like this before?

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Mort81

 I really got the tense feeling before and during eating . It was like my body wasn't accepting the food. I did get anxious after I ate because my food wasnt digesting properly and just  my overall eating experience was bad. This has since improved , I still get the tense feeling before and during eating but its significantly less tense than it was before. I do not get the anxious feeling after eating anymore 

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Mort81

Is it your gut that tenses up first before eating ? or just after ? I also came off of Lexapro so I think Gut related issues may be pretty common.  

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Daveguy2015

No my gut isn't affected at all. With me I feel like tense, spacey/dizzy, and nervous after I eat. I really don't know why. My stomach feels fine.

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Mort81

hmmm no sure what that might be , could that be that your senses are so heightened during WD that even something like digestion is causing anxiety type reactions , Is it consistent like after every meal ? has it gotten better at all?  

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Daveguy2015

After each meal I feel tense and panicky for about 20 to 30 minutes after I eat then it subsides. It has gotten a lot better over the last 2 months. It seems like when I'm in a wave it gets worse but then when I have windows it eases up. Its never quite gone but it just eases up to the point where it's managable.

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Mort81

Hmm not exactly sure but that's a great sign that it'd improving, in time it should go

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Daveguy2015

Ohh ok. I hope it goes away completely. It's 1:27pm and I just ate lunch about 20 minutes ago and I feel good for the most part. I feel a little stimulated and spacey buts it's managable. the food hasn't triggered a wave like it has in the past.

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Mort81

Thats very good news , things are def going the right way

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btdt

I went through this too for a while in the roughest part of my w/d. So as you can see you're not alone! On my website I recommend people to eat small meals more frequently rather than large meals less often. And yes Caffeine can set me into w/d symptoms even now. I really wish I could drink some coffee :( Even one cup! I need it for low blood pressure as well as help me with energy a bit. I also recommend against MSG (monosodium glutimate) and Aspartame (nutrasweet and equal) as they are agitating to the nervous system as well. MSG is in a lot of packaged food and soups. Aspartame in diet drinks and food. (Edit to add that I see Rhi already mentioned MSG)

I was reading you site did you actually take Gold or just read about it?

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btdt

There is this new site by a supposed doctor calls him self a doctor his statements

"The Leptin Rx is my version of how to retrain the hypothalamus to account for the electrons and photons from food that are delivered to the mitochondria.  I do this without using any electrical stimulator, because the vagus nerve and the patients light perception pathways are intact in most people who I employ this on. "

 

"in the last 10 years I think I came up with a way to do this using circadian rhythms, light, timing, and the stretch receptors innervated by the vagus nerve in the gut that controls our entire gut plexus."

 

it sounds like he is dancing all around our issues but in my head it is blah blah blah... I need Alto... here as her brain works this way mine does not...

 

"These findings are all adaptable by the brain as light levels change as well.  The evolutionary reason for this is that carbs were not available in most places as winter fell because of growing season changes.  This would be more pronounced as one moves from the equator, and less pronounced closer to it.  The circadian rhythm of vitamin D levels is also accounted for to judge light levels as well. Those closer to the equator would have much higher levels of Vitamin D and would be able to account for a higher carb level they face. Many current day leptin resistant folks find out their vitamin D levels are low when they finally test for it. We are best adapted to eat carbs in high light conditions and not in low light conditions, and this is why leptin is signaled at low light conditions in the brain. Its not magic its evolution at work. This is also the reason why I want my Leptin Rx patientssupplementing with D3 to optimal levels and limiting carbs when they are trying to lose weight.  This input radically causes the hypothalamus to reorganize based upon the new sensory “non leptin” signals and not rely on the newly adapted leptin receptors in the damaged hypothalamus.

It is time to get back to Prolactin secretion, and how our circadian rhythm works side by side with the leptin receptors in the brain.  Prolactin plays a huge role in setting the system up via our circadian rhythms. The first step in the process is leptin levels rise slowly for fours after our dinner meal, and the second phase of insulin released is completed and over.  This generally occurs by midnight in a normal person.  At midnight, leptin then should enter the hypothalamus and bind to its receptor.  Once it binds to the leptin receptor two things occur.  The first is a second messenger is sent to the thyroid gland to up-regulate the  T3 production.  Increasing T3 then  stimulates the uncoupling protein 3 in muscles to burn fat liberated from our fat cells as we sleep.  So we are designed to lose weight as we sleep.  This is how the brain regulates calories intake and excess.  Leptin raises our metabolic rate during the first two stages of sleep.  If one has a sleep disorder, this will not work.  This is another way leptin and sleep are coupled.  The fats liberated from adipocytes are then burned both as energy producing ATP to drive repair programs in sleep, and they are burned to free heat at UCP1.  If one is LR, you cannot do these things.  This is why calories don’t really matter when one is leptin sensitive and matter a lot more when one is leptin resistant.  Hormones completely control how we account for calories.  If you remember reading the Leptin part three blog, fat burning requires leptin sensitivity and proper thyroid function at the muscle level for this to occur."

and he could be a quack

http://www.jackkruse.com/how-does-the-leptin-rx-work/

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WiggleIt

Hey Mort81, I don't really have problems with my gut becoming painful, it's more of feeling tense, and panicky after I eat. Did you feel like this before?

Holy moley, I have this and have not found anybody else with it until now. It does not happen all the time, but enough to be a problem. I've been trying to figure out if it happens more with certain foods.

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WiggleIt

I really got the tense feeling before and during eating . It was like my body wasn't accepting the food. I did get anxious after I ate because my food wasnt digesting properly and just my overall eating experience was bad. This has since improved , I still get the tense feeling before and during eating but its significantly less tense than it was before. I do not get the anxious feeling after eating anymore

Feeling like your body does not accept the food... I used almost those exact words on my thread recently.

 

Like I said to Daveguy, mine hits randomly. Not with every meal, but what you both describe happens to me and it happens enough to suck.

 

I'm in month 7 off meds. Off a tricyclic and off a benzo.

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Lovofsun

I was about to post a new post about this.... I'm 2 and a half months in to a drop from Paxil 20mg to 10mg and I'm getting all these symptoms!

 

I eat and then I have extreme fatigue for about 10mins then anxiety kicks in for about 30 mins.... Then I'm ok :(

 

I also get pains in my left arm after eating which I got checked out and the a&e team said its not heart problems and said its more likely anxiety causing muscle aches...

 

My heart beats super fast and feel irritable too....

 

 

I find the symptoms I get are the same after exercise too....

It's either the heart or wd that's all I can think off :(

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