I started having panic/anxiety attacks out of nowhere about 4 months ago and had to leave college because of it. I moved back home and had couldn't even leave the house for about a month. Since then things have progressively been getting better. I'm still at home and in my "safe zone." I haven't had an attack in probably 6 weeks although I do feel general anxiety and attacks coming on sometimes.
Anyways, my doctor wants me to go on Paxil. His reasoning (which makes sense) is that even though I'm starting to feel better, panic attacks come back 90% of the time. Also, I'm in my safe zone. He wants me on the drug so that I can get on with my life and go back to school and go places without a family member. Right now I'm scared to go anywhere without a family member or far from home. I told him I'd think about it.
He keeps telling me that he really likes Paxil but it seems like people have mixed feelings about it. I've never been on medication (although I've taken Xanax a handful of times for the anxiety.) He knows that I'm cautious about going on Paxil but he insists it's the best option. Also, I'm starting to see a Psychologist this week to see how I respond.
What have your experiences with Paxil been like? What should I know about it? Are there any other options I should consider? Just for more information, depression isn't a concern for me, I'm pretty sure I don't have it.
I have Been on Paxil for a few months now and it seems to be working very well for me, although I still take Xanax with it which I will be stopping soon. I have heard that coming off of Paxil is very hard and gives bad withdraws but everyone is different and with any anti dep or benzo you have to wean off. In any event taking the meds will be totaly up to you, but if it is going to give you peace of mind it may not hurt to try it now it may take a few weeks before you see a difference as with some it could take up to a month to get into your system.
My son started having panic attacks immediately after arriving at college. He got to the point where they were lasting for hours and was so out of control he would end up out somewhere and not able to find his way home. He finally did go on this same medication and stayed on it for about six months. Going off is a slow process and when it's time, I'm sure you'll fine fine.
Just want to add that when this started happening, he refused to get help and so I contacted a psychologist so I would have some support. He was so bad that I honestly thought he might not make it. The psychologist shared with me that panic/anxiety attacks are becoming so common at universities that a huge percentage of the counseling is for just that. She said that 75% of her clients ages 18-25 are having the same problem. For many it's a temporary condition and cognitive therapy can be very helpful if you're agreeable. Just know that what you experienced is not uncommon, you are not weird and that you may still have a future at college ahead.
One final note, there are some excellent publications available that will provide self-help with cognitive therapy.
I think it is somewhat dangerous to generalize about any condition, because each of us has a different genetic make-up. I can share what the psychologist told me and that is here in Eugene, Oregon the cases she treated in that age range did not return 90% of the time after therapy and medication. That's not to say that there aren't many people out there who do suffer from this condition on a more permanent basis.
Panic attacks if gone unchecked always run the risk of going into a downward spiral where eventually the thought of having an attack can in fact bring one on.
As I became more involved in treatment options, I really believe that getting on medication so that you aren't afraid to try is a must if you've had more than a hand-full of attacks.
I am very much pro-therapy. When my son became ill, I contacted our physician and got him into counseling at the college as well as a cognitive therapy group in private counseling.
My "opinion" is that the sooner one responds to this issue, the better chance of turning it around.
I think you can find support here on the boards and of course from within your family. What you really need is a treatment plan so that you can be an active participant in your own treatment, separate yourself from your care-takers and begin the process of getting well.
I wish you the very best.
I was in the military and toward the end of my tour, I started getting bad anxiety and panic attacks at times due to the high level of stress that i was under. I started taking paxil and it worked wonderfully for me for the first 8 or 9 months, but then it seemed that my body wanted more in order to keep the same effect. I finally decided to quit the Paxil, see if i could handle the anxiety myself, then go from there. I did go through some very tough withdrawals. I think if you are on 20 mg of paxil or higher, you are at more of a risk for more severe withdrawals. However, i very slowly weened myself off and made it. I can control the panic attacks now, but just simply telling myself that whatever i was afraid of is not real. Good luck in your decision.
Thanks for the info. I'm just worried because I can't even leave the company of a family member without getting an anxiety attack. I assume that means I need to be medicated because this has been going on for 3 months or so. My doctor wants me to take Paxil but from what I've read, it seems to stop working and people needs to take higher and higher doses, which leads to more problems. Are there any other drugs I should look into? How do I know which is best for me, just trust my doctor?