Concerning Women

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I feel like I must be going crazy. My heart feels like I am having a heart attack, and I feel dizzy. But my family doctor says there is nothing wrong with me. He says it is all in my head. Lately I am worried all the time and I can't seem to concentrate. If it is all in my head, then am I crazy?


I am glad that you have gone to see your doctor. If he has examined you and is sure your heart is normal, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Panic attacks are a sudden strong feeling of fear with physical symptoms like a racing heart, upset stomach, trembling, dizziness and sometimes chest pain. Panic attacks are not in your head, but are a combination of emotional and biological symptoms. Panic attacks and other anxiety disorders can be caused by increased stress or by a combination of life circumstances. They can be treated by psychotherapy, by learning relaxation techniques or by a combination of treatment. My advice would be to call and make an appointment with a psychologist to get some help in diagnosing your problem and some help in treating it.


Deborah G. Alicen, Ph.D., is a private practice psychologist who lives in Plainfield, Vermont--a transplanted Southerner who still can't say "cows" the way real Vermonters do. She has spent the last twelve years working mostly with children, adolescents, and adults recovering from sexual abuse and domestic violence.



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