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New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

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Old 08-23-2011, 07:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Michigan
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chasendreams HB User
New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

Hi there,

I am reaching out to others in hopes that I find some resources to deal with my panic disorder. I am a single mom of two kids - 12 and 4. I have a well respected profession that I love. I stress about money, but who doesn't lately? Other than that, I love my life. I am not depressed. I WANT to go out. I have always been very active and social, until recently. I am overweight, and had a few health scares recently. I don't know if it's that, or the fact that the older I get, the more I see death of loved ones, friends, family, etc. Something has triggered panic and worry so bad, that it is all I think about. I think about dying as if God himself came down and told me it was going to happen any day. I'm afraid to drive my kids anywhere because what if something happened while I was driving? I'm afraid to exercise because what if I over-exert myself and I die? It is so ridiculous, but is very real for me.

My dr. has me on .5 mg of xanax as needed, but she doesn't want me to get addicted to it. So she has tried me on every anti-depressant under the sun lately. The problem is this...the panic makes me believe that the meds will eventually cause major health problems. I read horror stories about anti-depressants. Also, I am hypersensitive to any sort of of stimulant, so here is what I do when I start a new anti-depressant. I only take half of the prescribed dose. The MINUTE I start to feel "foggy" "shaky" or "groggy", I panic and I stop the drug and tell the dr. it didn't work. I am also in the beginning stages of talk therapy, but seeing a person once a week for 45 minutes is going to be a lengthy process. I can not live like this. I am also very snappy with my kids because I am always in worry and panic mode. These thoughts consume me and my mind never rests so that I can enjoy life. Please help me! If drugs helped you...tell me how. If you did it without meds...tell me how. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from other members.

By the way..I'm 35 years old with no major health issues.

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Old 09-11-2011, 06:57 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2011
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NC~Grl HB User
Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

Hi chasendreams,

In my opinion, drugs are not the only option. I am living proof that you can fight off panic disorder without taking drugs. It takes a lot of hard work but it is definitely possible. Drugs cannot cure your panic disorder, they can only take away the symptoms while you are having an attack (or, with SSRIs they make the panic attack less likely to happen in the first place). If you go down the road without drugs, you have to be willing to ride out a panic attack and retrain your brain to not fear the panic attack (because it is not at all dangerous in reality). So do I still have panic attacks? Yes, sometimes. But I let the adrenaline wash over me and it is all over within about 90 seconds and I can usually continue exactly what I was doing throughout the entire attack (it is really the fear that is debilitating so if you get rid of the fear of your panic attack, it is just somewhat of an annoyance but hey I can live with that). It does require a lot of work, but if you do the work you will be rewarded. Good luck with everything!!!

Last edited by Administrator; 12-04-2011 at 03:03 PM.

Old 09-12-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
Frank Furter
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Wink Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

Drugs aren't the "only" option but in my opinion you can't get over severe panic disorder without them. You need something to calm you down before you can learn to calm yourself down.

Old 10-05-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

In my particular case, drugs are the only way to control my PD. The attacks started up out of nowhere when my husband was extremely sick some years ago. I think that was the trigger.
I was on zoloft for a few years and it quit working. So I stopped taking it. Then I took nothing for a year, and thought oh boy I'm over it all. Then I had a DOOZIE of a panic attack and attacks every day for a month, they were so debilitating I literally could not leave the house.

So, went to the Dr., she put me on paroxetine and wellbutrin, daily dose, with xanax as a backup for breakthrough, and I get only one or 2 panic attacks a year now (knock on wood). The Dr. said since PD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, it has a physical cause and needs to be treated like any other disease, heart, diabetes, etc.

So far as I can tell I haven't had any side effects from the meds. I love taking the xanax because it makes me feel like a normal human, but I take it only rarely because I am afraid I would get to like it TOO much.

Behavior modification or talk therapy don't work for me, but I guess they do work for some people.

Old 10-05-2011, 08:33 PM   #5
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Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

When I started to have panic attacks it took a while for me to realize what it was. Once figured out I started talk therapy. That helped to a degree. After a while I started to take Imipramine. That settled the panic attacks down to where they stopped completely. I tried to stop the Imipramine a couple of times with no luck. Every so often my Doctor does a blood test to be sure I don't have too much of the medicine. The medicine helped calm me so that the talk therapy was able to be more productive when the panic wasn't there waiting to pounce on me.

It is very difficult; but try to be patient. It takes time to reprogram your mind. But, it will happen for you.

Old 10-16-2011, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

I am 50 years old. I have lived with severe PD and GAD for over 20 years. I am now on SSDI because I am unable to work due to these conditions. I have very mixed views about meds for the longterm management of anxiety disorders but I can certainly understand why people opt for meds. The benzodiazepines IMO are still the best meds for PD and GAD but they come with a huge pricetag if you choose to stay on them longterm like I did. If you take benzos longterm and start to experience tolerance withdrawal because the brain essentially becomes immune to the drug and you have to go thru withdrawal, you will wish a thousand fold that you never touched these drugs even though they might have given you many good years of relief from the hellish sx's of anxiety and panic in the beginning.

I have gone thru three horrible benzo withdrawals. I took xanax for 7 or 8 years. Klonopin chronically for almost 10 years, followed by valium for approx. 3 years. By far, xanax and klonoin are the most painful to withdraw from. The withdrawal is much worse than what heroin addicts go thru and can last for years in some cases. The pain is unreal. Your doctor is doing you a huge service by trying to find an SSRI that might work for you longterm and avoidance of longterm benzodiazepine management. The addiction, tolerance, and subsequent withdrawal is not worth it in the end from benzos.

The talk therapy will help. Pour a lot of energy into CBT. Also, learn how to meditate. This can be of enormous help in conjunction with the talk therapy. Also try to exercise (aerobically) moderately for 20-30 minutes at least 5 days per week. That will also help to manage this very painful emotional condition.

Old 10-18-2011, 11:02 PM   #7
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Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

I am posting just to relate. I started having panic attacks 8/10/2011 in which I went to the urgent care- thought I was having something like a heart attack or stroke. I am 29 years old. The urgent care gave me Xanax- which worked well for me to calm down. The Dr then decided to start me on anti-depressants. I do not get a long with these medications. I am as well very sensitive to medication (I hate medication but was willing to do anything to get rid of these panic attacks (they are so scary). I tried Buspar, Zoloft but the doses I was prescribed were too high. I am now taking just 10mg of Fluoxetine- this one works okay for me (it doesn't make magic though) wish it would. I don't really feel any better or worse from it. I heard that Lexapro is a good one and has very low side effects, if any. It's a new drug. However it is a bit spendy. I only take 1/2 a 0.5mg of Xanax otherwise it puts me out. I wish there was a quick cure for something like this. They are so hard to deal with... I try the mind over matter... I have had several Drs appts and the Drs tell me Im healthy. It's hard for that to register in my mind though. I think this is when we just have to be stronger than our minds... Its tough! and it sucks! We just have to face the anxiety straight on. Like facing your fear. Hopefully one of these techniques work for me.... Shoot.... it's so annoying!

Old 02-01-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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midval HB User
Re: New to Panic - Are drugs the only option?

I think drugs are very helpful but they won't cure it. There's a program called Panic Away that teaches you how to handle them. The one thing he teaches is to challenge the panic attack and say, is this all you got, bring it on. It's very helpful. I found that Zoloft works good for my panic attacks and so did Lexapro. I've had them for 11 years and they still terrify me when they hit.

Last edited by ms_mod; 02-01-2012 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Replaced "U" with "You" as per the posting rules. Ms_Mod

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