View Full Version : Driving anxiety and agoraphobia

12-02-2005, 05:16 PM
I've had anxiety issues most of my life and it got worse when I got married. I became Agoraphobic and couldn't leave the house for a couple of months. My husband had to drive me everywhere and I couldn't sit in a loud restaurant or store. I saw a shrink for awhile and then I got better and could even drive on the freeway again. Now, I'm scared to death to even drive on surface streets b/c I have panic attacks when I'm stuck at a long light or sandwiched in between trucks, etc. I have to take a .25 mg. Xanax just to drive someplace. Today I had to go pick up my car b/c it was being serviced. My husband drove me down there and I drove my car home. Well, every light I came to turned red, the traffic was horrendous. I had to keep telling myself NO over and over, and do other things to distract :confused: myself. It was a horrible experience. There's one intersection in particular that I have to drive through to get to Drs. appointments etc. I was only having bad panic attacks there, but then the last time I drove to the DDS, the same thing happened on THAT street. I know I have to force myself to drive, but it's so scary. I've had a lot of dental appts. lately b/c of braces/TMJ. Next month, I have to see my Internist for my physical and sure enough, I have to drive through that awful intersection. It's really bad when I'm in the left turn lane waiting for the green turn arrow. I've just gone through menopause and wonder if my hormones could be contributing to these problems. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thanks.

12-02-2005, 05:51 PM
I'm sorry you're going through this scary anxiety while driving. I also have panic attacks that occur while driving -- mostly on freeways. I tried a lot of things -- sniffing lavender, chewing gum, deep-breathing, snapping a rubber band against my wrist. These helped a bit at times, but other times didn't. I eventually went on paxil for two years, which stopped the panic attacks completely. Went off it this spring, and my panic attacks just returned in the last couple of weeks, so now I'm getting back on it again.

One thing that a psychologist told me about having panic attacks while driving, which comforted me some: my biggest worry was that I was going to pass out, and she said that was extremely unlikely since my blood pressure was up during a panic attack, not low. Also, with me, when I avoided driving in certain situations (say, in the left lane) because of a panic attack, I would just start having them in other situations. It seems like avoidance really can make things worse.

I hope this helps a bit... :)

12-02-2005, 10:16 PM
Thanks mackenzie. You have helped me. I think I'll talk to my Dr. next month about going on medication. Good luck to you too.