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Worried sick? Probably!

Aug 31, 2004

Hi there Dr Bob and all the worried wellers!

I, like many of your correspondents, am worrying myself sick (literally) over what you have repeatedly catagorised as a very low risk encounter (in my case, insertive oral sex).

I've got syptoms, oh yes. And the thoughts keep going around in my head. BUT I am trying to be logical about this and so I thought I would send you this list of the syptoms of anxiety I found on the BBC website and perhaps you will post it to help people like me realise what the much more probable cause of their symptoms is (i.e. anxiety / guilt). Here it is:

Symptoms may include:

Panic, fear, apprehension Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts Repeated flashbacks of traumatic experiences Nightmares Ritualised behaviour such as repeated hand-washing Problems sleeping Cold or sweaty hands Palpitations Shortness of breath Inability to be still and calm A dry mouth Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet Upset stomach Tense muscles

I notice that I have eleven of these symptoms (!) and none of the typical signs of ARS (fever, sore throat, rash etc.) that are usually described. So, despite the fact that that little devil sitting on my shoulder keeps suggesting the worst, I know that the most likely scenario is that all I have is a bad case of post (not very likely) exposure stress.

I'm only sending this because I hope it helps others in my situation. If you don't think it will, Dr Bob, then don't worry - I won't take it personally!

You are a great human being by the way!

Take care.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Worried Sick,

You have 11 out of the 14 symptoms you listed??? Who are you? Cheney's cardiologist??? Bush's speech and language coach???

Thanks for taking the time to write in. I should mention the anxiety/depression/guilt symptom list you provided is the abridged version. The full list is much more extensive! I also want to remind everyone anxiety, depression, and guilt are all very treatable conditions. The treatment, by the way, does not include exhaustively "googling" HIV/AIDS symptoms hour after hour, or getting repetitive unwarranted HIV tests. Anxiety-prone folks should discuss their problem openly with their physicians and get the psychological or psychiatric help they need. That advice also applies to you Mr. 11-out-of-14 symptoms!

Feel better. Get well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

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