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Old 01-19-2006, 12:44 PM   #6
CFD 333
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 544
CFD 333 HB User
Re: Panic Attacks due to Phobias, not Panic Disorder?

Originally Posted by GatsbyLuvr1920
I was just wondering if anybody else has "panic attacks due to specific phobias"? I know I don't have full-blown panic disorder because I KNOW what will trigger a panic attack- in fact if an event is happening the next day that I'm freaked out about, I know I'll have a panic attack. I know, too, that I have actual panic attacks and not just normal symptoms of nervousness; when I'm waiting, going to the dentist, or taking a test, I'll experience racing heart, mild hyperventilation, really bad stomach cramps, a smothering/choking sensation in my throat, freezing cold hands, a flushed face and (if it's an incredibly stressful situation- AKA the dentist) shaking/tingling hands and legs. Also, I've been on Zoloft for two years now, and it does absolutely nothing for my panic attacks, though it helps immensely for my OCD. I've had panic attacks since I was three, as far back as I can remember, and though I'd much rather deal with them than OCD (in fact, in certain situations, I don't know how I'd react without having a panic attack), I just wanted to know if anyone else has had the same situation as me.
I am in a very similar situation as you are. I don't feel that I have panic disorder because my panic is VERY specific...I know exactly what I will react to and when with very little deviation from that.

In my case and in yours, I happen to think that it is probably phobia related. The term for this would then be Agoraphobia which literally means, 'fear of the marketplace'. It encompasses a general feeling of anxiety and panic whenever we are threatened with the thought of having to go to public places or being in situations where we have once experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety in the past. It also emcompasses a fear of being in places that an exit from isn't easily obtained without feeling embarassed or humiliated. Any of this sound familiar to you?

You mention that you have a lot of anxiety about going to the dentist, which almost everyone has at least a little bit of anxiety about. However, if the feelings and fear are so bad that you may actually have a panic attack in there or avoid going, then this is a phobia.

Since Zoloft isn't working, I would suggest one or both of the following if you haven't already. First, have you tried Effexor? It is slightly different from Zoloft in that it may help control anxiety better. Second, have you tried seeing a Psychologist? They may provide a solution that doesn't involve medication like coping skills, how to deal with panic attacks, and (maybe most importantly) give you a sense of hope.

Last edited by CFD 333; 01-19-2006 at 12:45 PM.