I was wondering if some of you smart people would mind helping me research a problem I have. I am only asking for ideas, not medical advice, of course (disclaimer:) Maybe links to relevant articles, etc.
I am looking for a link between sudden onset of cataracts in both eyes (within a two month period from when I first noticed a problem, diagnosis, and near complete blindness) and first-time psychosis. The psychosis happened within a month of the cataracts(within two weeks of first eye surgery).
I know this is a lot of personal TMI, but I want some ideas to present to my doctor the next time I see her. I also realize there may be no link at all, just getting ideas here for further research.
Some things that might be important:
Young for cataracts (37) at the time
No prior serious mental health issues
Low vitamin d level (may be linked to both problems)
No head injuries
No known illnesses
Scan for seizures, with negative results(I don't know what kind of scan it was, and I don't know the accuracy of it )
Most hallucinations are tactile/and olfactory (very few visual or auditory)
Delusions mostly during insomnia periods
Memory problems/confusion/mental function problems increasing
Several different diagnosises, with the doctors disagreeing with each other on what it is (bipolar, severe insomnia, schizoaffective, General anxiety disorder, and a suggestion of PSTD)
Thanks in advance for any ideas or help with this issue.
It would help to know which came first. I have a rapid-developing cataract and I'm young (38) (We're pretty sure of the "cause" even though the doctors won't officially link it.) It can cause me to catch things in my vision that I know aren't there just because it distorts light. (I know it's not the same thing as actual hallucinations)
I also have an anxiety disorder and those false objects are jarring sometimes, which leads to additional stress, which leads to more panic attacks. The stress of possibly losing eyesight (which I understand, trust me) is enough to trigger really any mental disorder. Stress sucks.
Can't help with actual research on a link, but can perhaps provide a bit of help with the cataract.
Cataracts are a fogging of the lens in they eye, and should not have any physical connection to psychosis. Every person will get cataracts, if they live long enough, yet few will have any psychosis.
On the other hand, blindness has a definite effect on mental well being; just the thought of going blind is tremendously scary. I have watched as 3 people (including myself) have gone through that, and can testify that the effects of going blind have a very definite effect on mental health; to the point that I can well believe that psychosis could be a side effect. Plus, of course, as Melissa points out it is possible that cataracts might cause "hallucinations", ballooning to psychosis in some people.
Thanks. That's been suggested to me before. It's hard to take though, because it's three years later, and getting worse.
I also often see connections where there are none, so this could be a simple case of that too.
And I see in your answer to Melissa that the hallucinations began months AFTER the "surgery"; I presume cataract surgery. By that time you should have convinced yourself that you aren't going to be blind, and there is no reason for the fear. So my comments probably do not apply to you.
Nah, the effect of that stress is still there. Rationally convincing yourself of something doesn't make that go away. You feel the effects of the fear long after the fear is gone. It's like you get scared that the fear will come back. Then there is the feeling that you just went through something horrible that you were powerless to stop. Remembering those feelings is sometimes worse than feeling them the first time.
It is hard to take, blindness is wicked scary as is surgery.
My anxiety disorder was largely dormant. My cataract got diagnosed as a side product of another diagnosis but has progressed wicked fast and (combined with the other diagnosis) I've lost almost all of the vision in that eye in less than a couple months. A few weeks ago my largely dormant anxiety disorder put me in an ambulance because of a wicked panic attack.
Both the cataract and the other diagnosis will be taken care of in the next couple months (hopefully), but I imagine I'll be back in therapy for the anxiety disorder for some time (as my friends and family can surely attest, I've completely flipped my gourd)
Unfortunately, the mental part usually takes way longer to fix than the trigger.
I think we might be twins;) I just went to the ER with an anxiety attack. I thought it was a stroke this time(it wasn't) usually I think I'm having a heart attack (never am of course).
How do you deal with all this without going crazy?
Oh, right now I schedule my crazy moments, completely flip s*** in 30 minute periods, and then apologize for being human to my exceptionally wonderful friends and my husband (who now qualifies for divinity). Then I maintain some level of normality until my next crazy moment.
For me, the embarrassment over being obviously crazy is worse than the crazy itself. Way worse. In addition, knowing that my craziness is an inconvenience to those who have chosen to hold me up right now is pretty uncomfortable. Still, I'm fairly certain that those wonderful people aren't going anywhere and one day I will happily hold them up if they lose their marbles for a while.
Otherwise, breathe. Those embarrassing trips to the ER are completely understood by those who work in the ER. They see them every day and know that essentially a panic attack feels exactly the same as a heart attack/stroke to the person having it.
Yoga helps. Random screaming helps. Walking helps. I live in my bathtub lately. And cuddle with someone/something. If you can't find a person, find a cat/dog, barring that go find the biggest softest teddybear you can find. And stop drinking coffee/tea/pop.
Thanks for the tips. It's helpful. Especially the reminder to not drink so much coffee. It can't be helping with the insomnia. I should probably just quit altogether, because I go to decaf, and then slowly work my way back to full caffeine.
I'm over the embarrassment (mostly), but I feel bad for my family, who has to deal with it and take care of me basically. I don't have a social life, but they do. At least I've never done anything too weird. Once I wanted everyone to hold hands and think loving thoughts to ward off the End of the World. Most of my weirdness I save for the Internet forums, where I can't embarrass them any further.
I just generally cuss everyone out like a drunk sailor with tourettes.
Just remember that by now, your biggest anxiety is likely the fear of feeling anxiety. Yeah I know, sucks right? A great therapist is ridiculously important. I'm hoping you have one. (That wasn't meant to be insulting) if you don't have one (and I mean one that you are very, very comfortable with) then I would make it your very top priority.
Melissa, if you are looking at cataract surgery, consider reading a series of hubs of mine. I documented the experience, from finding the cataract to results from surgery. I KNOW how scary it is to think of getting your eye cut into - it might help to read those hubs.
I will do that Wilderness. Thank you. I'm hoping if I beg enough they can pair it up with another surgery I have to have and I can sleep blissfully through it. Probably not going to be so lucky though.
All in all, the actual surgery wasn't much of a problem for me. And with my level of anxiety is probably on par with yours, I'm sure you will be fine. They doped me up really well:)
Wow - I got a local and a touch of something (I think) to relax me. That was all, though, and I was glad of it; it was fascinating to watch as he slid the new lens into place and bingo I can see again!
I had also done research and knew what was going to happen - when he broke up the old lens I could see the ultrasound gizmo and knew what he was doing. Then knew again when a giant pipe came into view and all the little pieces began to disappear. It was pretty neat, but only AFTER I gave up and placed my eyesight in the doctor's hands. Total trust, but I figure that's the best way to get the best results. Do the doubting before, but by the day of the surgery give it all to the doc and let him do his thing.
In my case, I let them know well ahead of time how freaked I was about it. I told them I doubted I would be able to sit there patiently without moving while they worked on my eye. I'm not sure what drug they gave me, but it was from an I.V., and worked REALLY well. I barely knew what was going on.
Not I. Totally awake the whole time, but the only problem I had was when he irrigated the eye - that water was C O L D and I flinched every time he used it. Even suggested at a follow up visit that he warn the patient before irrigating - I understood the reason and all, just couldn't keep from flinching when it came from nowhere.
Well, you are obviously a braver soul than I am:) My dad managed it too without much of any anxiety drugs as far as I know.
I actually have to have part of my eyelid removed and then rebuilt. I think I'm going with flat out unconscious.
Probably would have to have a general anesthetic for that kind of thing, yes.
I'd go with that, too. An eye flooding with blood every little bit, a scalpel coming down onto my face - it seems a little hard to lie still. At least in the eye I couldn't see anything until it was inside, and I knew that. At that point, better lie still!
Hey! Thanks for the visual! You're a doll.
What kind of a scan… MRI? Did some symptoms come afterwards? Could cataracts be caused my microwaves?
Computer use? If so, I'm out of here. Or would polaroid lenses help.
Don't have a microwave because I heard they cause cataracts. Maybe just the older models.
In any case I no longer have insurance.
I don't know what kind of scans they were. I had two hospital stays of around two weeks each (about a year and a half apart) so I was pretty mentally confused at the time. The machines seemed to be different though,and on the first one, they gave me an IV with some purple dye in it. No IV for the other one.
The scans came after the episodes started. They were checking for seizures on one of the scans, I simply don't remember much about the other one. I can't think of any specific symptoms that came afterwards though. Except for maybe the memory problems.
I've been researching cataracts, and it looks like a variety of reasons. All kinds of things. But I can't remember reading anything about computer use. Just don't know about that though.
… your case is such a mystery isn't it. Hope you can find some answers.
I'm not too worried about it though. The eye problem is fixed. The main reason I wrote the post is because I'm in the "Am I really crazy or just having a spiritual experience" phase. I was trying to figure out a why and how for If I really am crazy.
Over it for now though, I'm back to "spiritual experience" already.
Yes I know, I'm a bit nutty:)
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