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MRI Claustrophobia

Call me Mary! but I had a panic attach while getting an MRI today. It was one of those open MRI machines too.

I had to reschedule for next week. Going to the primary physician for a anti-anxiety pill!

Anyone else have this happen? And yes, I was embarrassed!

by Anonymousreply 7109/27/2013

Funny. My mom had the same thing happen a few weeks ago. She had to go back after taking meds. I think it's fairly common.

by Anonymousreply 106/05/2012

It is fairly common. Years ago I accompanied a friend who is claustraphobic when she got one. It helped to settle her down, but it was still too much. She had to take a tranq.

For a while some clinics were advertising "open MRIs" which are supposed to be easier for some.

by Anonymousreply 206/05/2012

Isn't the open MRI completely open so your head is exposed?

What is claustophobic about the open MRI machine?

by Anonymousreply 306/05/2012

R3 yes, it's open. But, it super tight around the side and it s completely closed in around your sides. Its like being stuck in a tunnel.

by Anonymousreply 406/05/2012

Well, it's better than this sad story -

by Anonymousreply 506/05/2012

R4, are the torso and legs enclosed on top (so one cannot see the torso and legs)?

Or are the torso and legs enclosed just on the sides?

by Anonymousreply 606/05/2012

My mother said the worst part for her was the noise. Awful clanging sounds that unnerved her.

by Anonymousreply 706/05/2012

is it like the one at R5?

by Anonymousreply 806/05/2012

Last time I went I was in an MRI like the one at link, and they gave me a little menu of music I wanted to listen to. Everything from classical, hip hop, metal (!!?), easy listening, classic rock.. Even a dedicated Beatles "station" which is the one I chose.

by Anonymousreply 906/05/2012

I got one in a large round horizontal machine with open sides. I felt like a hamburger patty between the top and bottom bun.

I was pretty seriously high by the time I got in because I was given several valium by my PCP and then the people who performed the MRI gave me some liquid valium. Even so, I had a brief moment in which I was not sure I could continue.

by Anonymousreply 1006/05/2012

It's okay if you are prepared. The doctor who scheduled my MRI insisted that I take valium, listen to music and, above all else, keep my eyes closed. I also was told to expect noises. I got through it without a problem. I really think choosing music that holds your attention helps tremendously.

by Anonymousreply 1106/05/2012

This is not an uncommon thing, which is why the open-sided facilities advertise pretty heavily. Most places have an eye mask you can wear that helps a lot. So does the music. I went to one that had a fan blowing soft breezes, a bright light shining at me (which I could just get a glimmer of through the mask) and Hawaiian music playing. You close your eyes and pretend you're at the beach. It was the only way I could get through it after having a panic attack in the closed kind and it worked like a charm. Do your research and find one that will work with you.

by Anonymousreply 1206/06/2012

I had the same experience, OP. They gave me a washcloth to put over my face to keep the light out but it just freaked me out. I took it off and kept my eyes open but it was a VERY tense 20 minutes (or however long it took.) To make it worse, I'm broad-shouldered and overweight so it was a tight fit inside the tube which made it feel even more like the walls were closing in.

by Anonymousreply 1306/06/2012

I didn't mind it, but it wasn't as "open" as I thought it was going to be. What's somewhat worse, they chose to give me a dye injection while I was in the machine. My arm was able to stick out and rest on side. I could barely see the guy giving me the needle. It was a weird sensation, kind of cold and hot at the same time in my arm. They didn't give me a choice of music. I had to listen to whatever crap they put on. All in all, it wasn't that bad, but Christ, it sure did take long. After awhile, I kind of grew accustomed to it, and began to fall asleep. It's weird being in a dimly lit room all alone with technicians behind glass in another room, while you're lying in a tube. I never had one of those casket MRIs. I can't image what they're like. Do they even have them anymore?

by Anonymousreply 1406/06/2012

When I had mine in a closed MRI I just kept telling myself I can easily scoot out the end if I need to. Just knowing I could get out seemed to do the trick. To be honest, the noise bothered me more than the size. That constant banging was hard to handle.

by Anonymousreply 1506/06/2012

Just deal with it. People have no self control.

by Anonymousreply 1606/06/2012

I don't get claustrophobic in an MRI but the banging noise - that's a problem.

by Anonymousreply 1806/06/2012

Almost can't believe you posted this today as I've one scheduled for this afternoon. I've had one before and while I found it somewhat uncomfortably constraining, I wasn't claust. Hope I'm not later today.

by Anonymousreply 1906/06/2012

Going on Friday to my Primary Care Phy. for anti-anxiety meds. Looks like that will help, after reading posts from other sites.

by Anonymousreply 2006/06/2012

First time I had one I freaked out, started trying to kick and they had to cancel my appointment. I was embarassed, but the tech said it happens all the time and doctors should give everyone the option of taking a sedative.

I had to reschedule, went back doped up on valium and they had air blowing in my face and music. They should have had that in the beginning and maybe I wouldn't have panicked that I couldn't breathe.

I've had several since then, and no longer need to sedate myself, but do. I fell asleep last time.

by Anonymousreply 2106/06/2012

I know that I'm claustrophobic, so my doc gave me valium before my closed MRI. But even with the valium, I freaked out as soon as I got inside and made them take me out. Luckily their open MRI machine had a vacancy at that time, so they just moved me over to that one, and I was fine. In the future, they would have to totally knock me out to get me into a closed one.

by Anonymousreply 2206/06/2012

I'm the poster from earlier in the thread who took all the valium anyone offered me. I started to pass out, but the tech woke me up immediately and said I had to be awake.

Is it possible they never do MRIs on patients who are unconscious? I find that hard to believe.

by Anonymousreply 2306/06/2012

I didn't freak out, but I can understand the reaction. My ankle was being scanned, so my head wasn't confined. It took [italic]forever[/italic] and the noise was hard to ignore. My doc didn't prep me at all, so I wasn't prepared for the duration or the noise.

by Anonymousreply 2406/06/2012

That happened to me during Zoom whitening. I was strapped in and a machine was torturing my teeth very painfully. I kind of lost my shit.

by Anonymousreply 2506/06/2012

Drugs. As much as they'll give you. Listen to music (or self hypnosis tapes). And keep your eyes shut. My mom freaked out twice before she managed to get through it. My bf still has nightmares about his experience. Good luck OP!

by Anonymousreply 2606/06/2012

When I get anxious in there I distract myself by listing things alphabetically. For example, Star Trek species: Andorian, Borg, Cardassian, etc.

by Anonymousreply 2706/06/2012

Most open MRIs have shitty low magnets. The standard for MRIs nowadays is 1.5 Tesla, 3.0T gives even better resolution. Many open machines use 0.7 or even 0.3T unfortunately. Most family docs are not aware of the difference between open and closed MRI and are doing their patients a disservice. Neurologists, for example, will insist on at least a 1.5T for imaging the brain. Spine surgeons will not even bother looking at a low magnet spine MRI because of poor resolution, esp in deciding of the patient warrants surgery.

by Anonymousreply 2806/06/2012

I was having mine to see why I was having constant migraines so yeah the noise was hard to handle. Oh and I have to agree with zoom thing. I got those awful shocks and thought I would die. I know drama much, but seriously if you've ever dehydrated your teeth you'd understand.

by Anonymousreply 2906/06/2012

I had a pelvic MRI, so my head was able to stick out in the funnel opening. I still freaked out whenever the table moved to suck me in further. I got through it by keeping my arms over my head and by tilting my head back at a weird angle, so that I could still see a portion of the wall. I also told them when they were sending me in to go slow, inch by inch, because I couldn't handle going in too fast.

When the noise started, I just closed my eyes. I was more annoyed when the noise stopped, because that made me open my eyes and remember that I was freaked out.

by Anonymousreply 3006/06/2012

I was fine in the beginning of the one I had, listening to my favorite radio station, thinking oh this isn't so bad. Then near the end I opened my eyes before it was quite done. The sides were so close, I just wanted out. I closed my eyes again and managed to stay in until it was finished, but was just on the edge of freaking out. If I have another MRI, I definitely need not to have my head covered.

by Anonymousreply 3106/06/2012

I totally agree that the clanging noise is the worst part. I'm not a claustrophobic person but getting a (closed) MRI freaked me out way more than I expected it to. The whole thing has a real dystopian sci-fi vibe to it.

by Anonymousreply 3206/06/2012

I had a surprise MRI and it was one of those old school tubes where they shove you in head first. I didn't think I'd be able to do it because I'm terribly claustrophobic. However, when they got me on the tray you lie down on, I took a deep breath and said "wait!" Then I closed my eyes and asked myself, what would our queen do? Why, she'd just lay their and think of England, of course. Worked like a charm.

Once you're in character, remember to tell the attendant "you may push us in now."

by Anonymousreply 3306/06/2012

I've had a similar experience, OP. I nearly freaked out and was going to ask to be taken out, but I calmed myself (closed my eyes, deep breaths) and stuck it out. I figured my agony would only be prolonged if I had to go in AGAIN.

by Anonymousreply 3406/06/2012

An MRI wouldn't bother me. But I don't like being in an area with alot of people. Theatres, restaurants, etc. I never used to be like that.

by Anonymousreply 3506/07/2012

I freaked out yesterday, OP. The machine hadn't even started. I'm getting sweaty palms now just thinking about it and having to go back in.

The radiologist implied they do take people completely knocked out, so I'm going to insist on it. I don't think simply having Valium is going to be enough for me. Surely they can do the same kind of drugs they use for colonoscopy, yes?

by Anonymousreply 3606/07/2012

Funny- I've had 2 MRIs and fell asleep during both of them. The noise actually puts me to sleep, and the techs have to wake me up because I'm not staying still enough for the scan.

by Anonymousreply 3706/07/2012

[quote]Call me Mary! but I had a panic attach while getting an MRI today.

What is a panic attach?

Is that like having the AIDS?

by Anonymousreply 3806/09/2012

OP here: update: had my rescheduled appt this morning. Was pretty zonked out on Xanax. Had my partner sit in the room and talk to me the whole time. I was able to complete the test! Woohoo!!

by Anonymousreply 3906/14/2012

Was finally able to complete mine in a closed tube unit on the 2nd try with 3 mg of Lorazapam.

by Anonymousreply 4006/15/2012

They gave me 3 valium and I thought I was at the beach.

by Anonymousreply 4106/15/2012

I too suffer from MRI panic. I can take the open MRI's without sedation, but I still do feel a bit uncomfortable. The only way I can take the completely enclosed MRI's is if I'm sedated with Xanax or with Versed IV. You're not alone. BTW...I have a problem with elevators too!

by Anonymousreply 4206/15/2012

With a history of claustrophobia--I don't like elevators--I requested Xanax for my first MRI and did OK.

Subsequent MRIs with no medication and no problem. Sometimes I have to actively meditate.

They want you awake because the process requires that you remain absolutely still. It's too easy to twitch or move during sleep.

by Anonymousreply 4306/15/2012

I had some kind of full-mouth MRI at the oral surgeon yesterday. I stood inside a frame wearing a mouthguard while a big apparatus circled around my head. Totally unprepared for having my head inside this thing but I kept my eyes closed. Glad it was over in less than a minute.

by Anonymousreply 4406/15/2012

I can't do it. I even have trouble with the open ones. Once they place that mask over my face, and strap my head in, it's over for me.

by Anonymousreply 4506/15/2012

I'm a cancer patient. When first dx'd I had MRIs every 4 months or so (as well as PET, CT & bone scans). Thankfully not too much going on, so I don't have the MRIs==just the other scans, now about every 5-6 months.

MRIs suck. Imagine shoving your head near the exahust fan on the back of your refrigerator while a steel drum band plays inches from your ears...

I ask the tech to to a running countdown--halfway done, 10 mintutes left etc. it does help.

by Anonymousreply 4606/15/2012

Has anyone heard or seen the new MRI scaaner that is out in some imaging centers? This MRI allows you stand or sit it's called the "Stand Up MRI Scanner"!!! And it does exist, cause I have seen here on the internet and the facility is located in Beaumont and Houston at the Altus Heatthcare Management Services. I did try and go but my doctor refused to allow me to have it done at the location. I feel its time for doctors to move up to modern day equipment that is better than traditional equipment. Corporate Office in Pearland, Tc

by Anonymousreply 4710/09/2012

OP, I've had many MRIs because of MS, and never had a reaction until the one before my last one. Bang. I though I was going to lose my mind. (Close MRI required, with dye, so you go through two rounds. Lately it has been brain only, but still it feels like a long time, with the contraption immobilizing your head.)

I postponed my MRI until telling my neurologist, and he just prescribed a Valium. I hate downers, but one dose did the trick. I got through without panic or claustrophobia - just kept my eyes closed and fell asleep.

Also, you've got a panic button so you're not out of "power" in the situation. That helps.

by Anonymousreply 4810/09/2012

[quote]Staying Strong and Being Positive Aint Enough

I agree, R46 -- but it can't hurt, & it can help the way you feel about things.

Hang in there.

by Anonymousreply 4910/09/2012

Mine was a head MRI. I'm not claustrophobic but here's something interesting.

The machine I was MRI'd in - I watched it being built. Consider the MRI machine was right down the hall from my office at the time.

Fascinating process. Got to see the magnet without its protective shield - it's humungous.

Yes, the noise is interesting. High current magnets do make a racket when being switched on/off.

But I find MRI tech fascinating. A completely non-invasive method of scanning not requiring a contrast dye. Oh sure there is Gadolinium contrast but it's just a metallic contrast agent.

But the way it works is by aligning all the atoms and then zapping it with an RF beam and reading the echoes from that beam.

I just wish it were faster. And that I know is a function of computing power. Soon enough there will be handheld MRI units.

by Anonymousreply 5010/09/2012

Oh and I should mention reading these stories I get the feeling that a lot of the freak outs is because they weren't prepared for what to expect in the MRI.

Being a technology geek - I knew EXACTLY what to expect so had no problem.

And the unit I was scanned in was a 2T scanner.

by Anonymousreply 5110/09/2012

I find it helps if you close your eyes before they scoot you in and keep them closed until they scoot you out otherwise it feels like you're being buried alive.

by Anonymousreply 5210/09/2012

If you have tatts, don't go into an MRI. The metallic ink will cause your skin to burn.

by Anonymousreply 5310/09/2012

I guess I'll just have to die.

When my father was still alive he had to undergo one and he freaked and had it stopped. He had been a gunner on a B17 during WWII and had to go through sone tunnel-like thing to get to his position and he said it reminded him of that.

Now how he got through a whole damn war doing something similar on a regular basis but couldn't go through this short test makes me scared to death of it. I think they gave him something so he could get through it the 2nd time.

Like I said my health insurance policy is knocking wood.

by Anonymousreply 5410/09/2012

How long does the scan last? ANd are you strapped in for that entire time? If you take an open one can you speak to someone whilst being scanned? Thank you

by Anonymousreply 5510/09/2012

Elevators bother me much more.

With an MRI there's always someone right there watching you.

An elevator, not so much.

by Anonymousreply 5610/09/2012

I always check elevators for the escape hatch in the ceiling and try to figure out if I can open it.

by Anonymousreply 5710/09/2012

[quote] Once they place that mask over my face, and strap my head in . . .

WHAT!! Forget. it. Not happening to me. I've had a nice life and, well, you can't live forever.

by Anonymousreply 5810/09/2012

I just had an MRI of my brain, inside a closed machine, no sedatives, and I was fine. The technician put big cushiony headphones on me to muffle the noises, and she told me "Keep your eyes closed because that helps with the imaging." I suspect it has nothing to do with the imaging, but it kept me calm, which is the important thing. Since I couldn't see how small the space was, I didn't panic. If I'd relaxed my legs a little more before the test started, I could almost have fallen asleep inside the machine.

by Anonymousreply 5909/21/2013

I had one where its fully closed. I thought I was not claustrophobic but I guess not.

by Anonymousreply 6009/21/2013

That's enough to make someone claustrophobic. Sign me up for the open air one (hope my insurance covers it).

by Anonymousreply 6109/21/2013

I went a different hospital than usual to have three done consecutively, which meant I'd have to be in that thing for nearly two hours. Before each of the two MRIs I'd had previously, they gave me some drug that rendered the claustrophobia nonexistent.

But at this hospital, they told me my doctor would have to have prescribed it prior to my going for the MRI. She hadn't. I tried it. I couldn't get out of that damned tube fast enough. I walked, and never went back.

Fucking doctors. Fucking hospitals. Fucking medical care.

by Anonymousreply 6209/21/2013

Now you know how I feel!

by Anonymousreply 6309/21/2013

I like the MRI, it's like a cocoon. So comfy.

by Anonymousreply 6409/21/2013

I wish I felt that the MRI was a comfy cocoon. Nope, instead I had a panic attack 10 minutes into a 30 minute session. Yes, I was embarrassed but I won't beat myself up over it and the tech was so incredibly nice. He assured me that it's very common. I felt a little better knowing that some people bolt after the first 3 minutes. My ENT will determine if he really needs to have it done and if so I'll try it doped up. Good luck to all having problems with MRI and good health!

by Anonymousreply 6509/27/2013

It's so common that most prescribing docs will offer to prescribe a one-time anti-anxiety med like Xanax or Valium when they order the test. I've had several MRIs for different issues and the different doctors that ordered them all offered anxiety meds when writing the script.

by Anonymousreply 6609/27/2013

[quote] Just deal with it. People have no self control.

Exactly. Like the people in the curry thread demanding that nobody should bring tuna casserole or fish or popcorn or curry for lunch because their delicate systems cannot tolerate such abominations. Next, the vegetarians will claim that the aroma of meat in the workplace microwave smells like murder.

I think of the second world war refugee pictures I saw when I was a kid. (My grandparents inexplicably had a two volume WWII picture book) The Blitz. Belgium. Rubble. Starving kids. Auschwitz. Normandy. Hiroshima.

I can't imagine what these squirming, squeamish marys who require three doses of Valium for an MRI would do if confronted with real mortality issues.

by Anonymousreply 6709/27/2013

The answer is they'd be fine R67. All the little shit is just bringing drama and meaning to the ho-hum of daily life. Such people crave adrenaline rush and are probably at their best in a crisis.

by Anonymousreply 6809/27/2013

Hey (r67) you mean real mortality issues like cancer? So what if people have anxiety or panic attacks. You obviously have no concept or capacity for compassion. Many people suffer from fears but it doesn't mean they are weak. You don't have to have been in a concentration camp or experienced WWII first hand to have fear issues. Maybe people, like yourself, who are quick to judge others are squirming and squeamish when confronted with people who choose not to hide their emotions and worries. Anger management might be the way for you to go.

by Anonymousreply 6909/27/2013

Have had two MRIs. Closed machine.

Hated every second of the experience.

I'm not espeically claustrophibic, but being in that tiny space was horrible.

I said the serenity prayer over and over the entire time I was in there.

by Anonymousreply 7009/27/2013

I'm not normally claustrophobic, but I did almost have a panic attack the first time I had an MRI. It's the sense of not being able to control your situation. You really do feel trapped. I had to keep saying "mind over matter" to myself over and over to get through it.

by Anonymousreply 7109/27/2013
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