Viewer Comments: Panic Attacks - Effective Treatments

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Panic Attacks:

Panic Attacks - Effective Treatments

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your panic attacks?

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Comment from: Leslie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I have had panic disorder for 16 years. I have found that I cause my panic attacks by the way I am thinking (negatively). It took a long time to come to this conclusion. I was prescribed Xanax initially, along with therapy. The therapy has been the most helpful (talking, journaling, etc.). When I feel overwhelmed, the anti-anxiety meds help. I watch what I think and what I say. I have taken words like "worst," "horrible," etc., out of my vocabulary so that I can talk myself down. For example, "This may not feel very good, but it will go away." My panic attacks now last a few seconds at most. I grew up in an abusive home and discovered that the little girl in me needs to be loved and accepted. I try to make time for me every day: taking a bath, journaling, walking, working out, etc. These things help immensely with my self-esteem. I am still working on my agoraphobia now. I keep pushing the edge because I want to be totally free. The last thing I have to conquer is flying and driving alone. It's hard, but it feels so liberating when I succeed!

Comment from: Cheryl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

I have General Anxiety Disorder with Panic Attacks. I have always been an anxious person, even as a child. My panic attacks started about 20 years ago and like others it was very debilitating. To me they are the worst feeling that you could ever imagine having. After my sister died in 2003 I started going to therapy to deal with the loss of my sister and discovered that it was very helpful also with my anxiety. I was against medication because I thought it was a sign of weakness and couldn't understand why I couldn't stop the panic attacks myself. I was so miserable that I decided to try Lexapro. I knew several people that were taking it for various reasons with little to no side effects. It has been a Godsend for me! I wish I would have started it a long time ago. Within 2 days of taking it I felt so much better. I have accepted and realized that I will probably have to be on something the rest of my life. So if you are experiencing panic attacks please don't give up! There is help out there for you! Every type of treatment is trial and error and what works for one may not work for another. I'm no longer embarrassed about my condition. I talk to others about my experiences so that maybe I can help someone else.

Comment from: Nick, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 06

I suffer from panic disorder four years ago. At first, I didn't know what it was and thought I was dying but the doctors told me I had nothing physical and they sent me to visit a psychiatrist. I could not go to work because I had agoraphobia and my father had to take me to the psychologist. I started treatment, psychologist and medications (clonazepam and escitalopram), and started to improve. After two years I got bored of therapy because we couldn't find explanation for my attacks so I leave it, but I could not stop taking clonazepam. Everyday I take a small dose to reduce symptoms of anxiety, dizziness, unsteadiness, muscle tension, breathing short, etc. I think I got addicted to it, even though I started taking 1 mg per day and now took only 0,125 per day and no antidepressant. I had no problems of child abuse or anything like that, but I have family history of mental illness since my father has OCD and is medicated since birth. Today, what bothers me most is the anxiety, fatigue, lack of desire to do things the dizziness and instability. Therapy helps me but I feel anger that is so expensive. Hopefully someday they will find a cure or at least find out what the cause is. A greeting to all and good luck with your treatments. Don't give up.

Comment from: DealingWithThePanic, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 05

I started having panic attacks about 9 years ago. It took me about 2-3 years to figure out that they were cause by drinking coffee. I was 32 at that time. After not drinking coffee for a few years, I started drinking it again and was fine for about 6-8 months. Then I started having them again. I stopped drinking coffee and rarely drink anything with caffeine. However, in the past few months, I have been under a tremendous amount of stress over personal things (relationships, lack of work, bills, bad work conditions, etc) and the panic attacks came back. After reading information like here and following the advice given, it has really helped me to deal with them and they are less in power. I don't want to take Xanax or any other pills for this as its expensive and I could become addictive so dealing with Panic Attacks naturally is preferred. I'm very grateful for this article as it has really helped me to know more about it as well as not feeling like I'm the only one out there or that I'm losing my damn mind.

Comment from: Mariellyn25, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I've had panic disorder for eight months now. Panic attacks are the scariest thing I've ever been through. Every day is a struggle, but I've been dealing with it so far pretty much on my own. My treatment so far is Xanax, only when I need it, such as when the attack is very bad. I do not always want to depend on pills to get me by, so I only take one when I cannot stand it, or when it's at its worst. I find also that the more I know and learn, the more I'm starting to except that I'm not dying, my heart is fine, etc. So find out as much as you can about panic disorder. The more you deal with your disorder, the less likely you are to call 911 over and over. I also find lying down and breathing deeply and slowly helps a great deal. Buy or get some books on hypnosis, they helped me. It calms you and that always helps. As silly as this sounds, if you are lying down and feel one coming on say, "Come and get me," or "I'm fine," and get up and do something, the dishes, or call a friend. This can sometimes help. Lying around all the time is not a good idea. I have a hard time driving and going somewhere public, such as stores and restaurants. But I make myself (when I'm feeling decent) drive a short distance every day or go to the store. The more you stay in and lie around feeling sorry for yourself, the more you'll have attacks and feel sorry for yourself. Fight them, and make due. So, relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, Xanax, shoulders to lean on and friends to talk to, physical activities, and acceptance are my treatments, for now at least. Give them a try.

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