I was once diagnosed with the same 2 disorders and you should know that what he is going through is worse than a horrid death each time it happens. It took me a couple of years to fully get rid of most of it and I still deal with the anxiety which comes off and on. But panic attacks are not something to take lightly. Imagine, you're sitting, feeling fine, relaxed, not a care in the world and suddenly you feel as though you had 2 sweat outfits on, wrapped all over in plastic wrap with a pillow tightly over your mouth and nose then had to run in 120 degree heat till you nearly died. Imagine just suddenly feeling that way out of the blue, for no reason at all. You REALLY feel like you will/are going to die so, please, be as good about this with him as possible. Trying to rob anyone of their happiness is not the intent of people with this disorder. It's just that we REALLY REALLY need someone ANYONE to be there more than ever in our life. It's the scariest feeling anyone will ever feel because there seems to be no real cause/reason for it... It's just "in your head" as they say yet it's so powerful, like meeting death & doom over and over day after day. If you've never had one........ No matter how hard you try.. You can never imagine how bad it really is unless you've been cursed with this horrid thing. So what ever the worst feeling you can think up... It's 999999999 times WORSE.
It's good that he has tried to natural rout first to see if it did anything for him because each person is different and will react to each medication, herbs, etc., different. So what works for me may or may not work for you. If you are having a hard time dealing with this then for sure see a shrink to help you through it too. I had my mother - THANK GOD she stood by me and never gave up on me! I'm SURE I wouldn't be here right now if she didn't. Some day, God forbid, you might fall in some way and will need someone to give up a lot in their life to help you.... Right now, he really needs you.... To be kind, understanding, patient, forgiving..... I am amazed he can even work with this combo of disorders - I got to where I couldn't walk out of my house for fear of death!
I took zoloft. They started me out on too high of a dose for my small body weight and it made me talk a mile a second and wayyyyy too excited so I started over on it at 12.5mg for a month or so then up to 25mg for a few months then to 50mg. My panic attacks did stop after 2 to 3 weeks. I had a lot of side effects from the zoloft for the 1st 2 months such as moody as HELL, I thought of killing random people once or twice (i forced that out of my head though), sick stomach, blurred vision (like looking at the world through the cardboard from toilet paper rolls), I could hardly deal with my thought, emotions, feelings.. much less have to worry about someone elses feelings through this - no way could I have pulled it off.
After 2 months of hell adjusting to zoloft I woke one day and felt GREAT!
That lasted for a few weaks and then I slowly started feeling nothing. My dad died right in front of me and I cried for about 1 minute and that was all I felt about that. I got to where it felt so pointless to even talk to people, waste of time and air. I could care less about anything at that point. I was not feeling "bad" OR "good". I was like a zombie. Floating through each day without feeling or emotion or care for me or anyone around me. SO, this was if i remember correctly around the 4 to 6 month on zoloft mark. I decided to get off because every time i told the dr anything they just wanted to UP THE DOSE, more mg's and the more i got in me the more dead I felt. I was a human shell. empty and unable to feel. The dr will tell you ther is no withdrawal or very little withdrawal.... WRONG! All ssri's will almost drive you nuts trying to get off it. I really believe I would have had an easier time getting off heroin than an anit-depressant. Just ask anyone here who has come off of one. After a year or so i got off the ssri thank God I made it through that! It was hell. So, you're both in for a long and crazy ride to made it through to the end of this. It can be done (for some people). While I was on zoloft (the whole time) I studied and practiced CBT a LOT, it helped a LOT. The breathing exercise alone (once I got it right & it's a pain to get just right) that alone would make my panic attack go away within 10 seconds or less. It took a lot pf practice when I was not having an attack to prep myself for it. My mom helped me. I'd say mom, here it comes... she'd get me an ice pack I had ready in the freezer to cool me down and some tissue to clear my nose (helped me feel as though i could breathe), mean while, I'd sit down, close my eyes, relax my body (even though my heart was jumping out of my chest) and do the breathing exercise with all of these things to help rid me of a few of the many other bad feelings of it. I got it right after a few tries and it worked 100%. EVERY person is different though so like I said, what works for me, or him or her or them..... may or may not work for you. You just can't give up. Zoloft did help me through all of this. I don't think it's a med most people can or should stay on forever though... More of a stepping stone (if it works for you), it's like getting a rest long enough to get it together!
One more thing that WILL help him or anyone - I fully believe this! Is, a book, called "Neural Path Therapy". This book is sort of like a practice book to follow as you read and in full detail explaines how our thought patterns strengthen our response to things/triggers/etc. It helped me learn how to take my pattern of fearful thinking and litterally make that thought weaker and weaker till it didn't trigger panic attacks anymore. It's weird, but it works! Believe me, I have been to hell and back with these 2 disorders and read every book on earth about this. This book - IS - the one. You have to follow and practice though (which to me is a pain in the arse - i hate study along books) it's the only way though. For me anyway. God bless you both. You CAN get through this.
Send him here so he can vent and get insight from those of us who have the same problem. This board is where I started when my disorders started and it (along with my mom) saved my sanity and my life.