Since 7 or 8 months ago, my close friend has been experiencing particularly unusual symptoms, seemingly without pattern.
The first time he called me, he was in bed feeling so unpleasant that he truly was afraid he might not wake up (he's not prone to hyperbole, so it did genuinely concern me). He woke up the next day (thank God) and eventually recovered fully over the day.
He has since had this unpleasant feeling with an apparent relative increase in regularity.
He is a 24 year old man, 5ft 8inches and slim build. There are no previously diagnosed conditions.
Anyway, here are the symptoms as best as I can understand them:
Each time, the feeling has begun with a sensation in his throat. It's not a pain, just 'a feeling', which he describes as reminiscent to a need for something - water, food, a cigarette, whatever. I've heard him describe it as a kind of emptiness/hollowness before. He can't place it. This feeling then over a few minutes, travels down the centre-line of his body, through his chest, down to his stomach, then all the way back up to his head. This is consistent with each experience.
When the above feeling starts to get stronger in his throat, he begins to feel weak and just generally 'ill'.
He experiences a feeling similar to nausea, but never productive.
His feet go cold.
He feels shaky.
He gets incredibly, unquenchably thirsty at points.
He gets cold sweats.
The feeling can take upto 24-48 hours to go.
There is no overtly noticeable external manifestation.
He can get very fatigued and quite irritable during these episodes.
There are some occasional stomach cramps.
Now in background, I feel it appropriate to mention that he has been drinking, smoking and taking various types of street-drugs from being a young teenager. The drugs (apart from a very weak joint every few nights) have slowed down immensely and have become a very occasional thing. The drink is regular from the point of view that every night, pretty much without fail, he will at least have a beer and a large glass or two of Wine. He may then get actually drunk either one or two times a week (though sometimes not at all).
He is a regular smoker of about 20 a day. His diet is good, consisting of a lot of vegetables (not much meat though) and a lot of water.
He jogs approximately once per week.
Now it could be worth mentioning that two instances that I can remember, have been a day or two after particularly heavy intoxication. One was a couple of days after taking MDMA, and one after a medium-heavy night of drinking. I forget the circumstances surrounding the other two.
Now I would like to be able to put this all down to intoxicants, but would like to make clear that there have been many equally heavy/more heavy nights inbetween episodes, so there's not necessarily a link.
On two occasions, chocolate has helped, but not on the most recent.
He has been to the doctor after the occasion before last, had nothing strictly suggested, but did a blood test. Nothing came back however, so the doctor clearly did not find what they were looking for. My problem with seeing a general practitioner, is that they would stand a much better chance of diagnosis if he was there while poorly.
OK, I thank you for reading this far and hope you've managed to bear with me. I just felt it necessary to explain as much as I could remember and list all circumstances that may be relevant.
Please please try to help if possible - I'm extremely worried for him as it's particularly troubling to see such a normally healthy and energetic young man so affected. I'd be extremely grateful for and interested in all plausible suggestions, so please fire away!
Many thanks in advance,