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    Old 05-18-2004, 09:02 PM   #1
    Meagan312's Avatar
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    Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    It started only a few weeks ago, except for one episode following my father's death 4 months ago. Then I got ill (bad flu) and the lingering symptoms were giving me small panic attacks. But now they're getting bigger and bigger, they don't go away, and I feel like stress hormones are being released all the time. I can't sleep and wake up with my heart pounding.

    The other night I ended up at the emergency room, with chest pain (possibly from lingering bronchitis), plus blood pressure that was fluctuating wildly, weakness, lightheadedness, and feeling I'd pass out.

    I don't think this will get better by itself. My doctor says I should see a therapist, but that's not going to take care of the physical symptoms anytime soon. Please help!

    P.S. What's the difference between panic and anxiety attacks? Thanks.

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    Old 05-18-2004, 09:37 PM   #2
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    Hi im sorry about your problems,
    Probably what you are haveing is post traumatic stress syndrone, which causes anxiety attacks. To me anxiety attack is haveing all the symptoms of panic but not going into a panic state (as in fear of dying). Panic is being scared that you are dying or ill or going crazy. But in my opinion they are both the same because they both have the same symptoms. Seeing a theropist is the best option, amazingly enough all the physical symptoms come from anxiety, and getting past your fathers death will be the job of the therapist.
    But let me say that I am not a doctor, and please see a doctor right away.
    Good Luck and God Bless.

    Old 05-18-2004, 09:52 PM   #3
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    Hi! I started my battle with panic attacks in march, by going to the ER. The difference between anxiety and panic is this: Anxiety can just be stress, or situations that cause uncomfortable feelings and nerves to rise. Panic is when you reach an anxiety level that you cannot control i.e. racing heart, shortness of breath, chest pains.
    You can have anxiety and not have a panic attack, but you are not going to have a panic attack unless your anxiety level is so high that you cannot control it.
    My advice to you is this: see a therapist, and see if that helps. You have gone through a traumatic episode in your life, which is what normal starts this. If therapy alone doesn't help, you may need to get on an anti-depression/anxiety medication for awhile to help you cope. It's not something I was crazy about at first-I went the no-med route for two months, until my anxiety was sooo high that I constantly felt like I was having an attack. I am 8 days on my meds, and while I don't feel all the anxiety gone, and I still have some symptoms, like the racing heart, I am not having a panic attack when those symptoms arise
    I hope this helps you, and best of luck

    Old 05-19-2004, 01:32 PM   #4
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    I have panic attacks and anxiety. I don't call the anxiety 'attacks' because I have those symptoms most of the day. With my anxiety I feel weak, lightheaded, shaky, sweaty palms, just really icky, off and on throughout the day(more on than off).

    However a panic attack is when it finally gets to the point where you begin to panic-where you feel the need to 'rush to the ER' or 'get help'. Usually that is when your heart races, and you feel like something serious is going wrong in your body-i.e you are going to die or go crazy.

    Panic attacks and anxiety can be very disabling, and often lead to depression and can cause Post traumatic stress disorder(worrying about the panic attacks).
    Therapists, self help books, meds, are all good methods. You have to find the one that works for you, which can sometimes be a long trial by error process. Hope this helps some.

    Old 05-19-2004, 11:31 PM   #5
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    Thanks for the replies, guys. I now understand enough about anxiety and panic attacks to know that I seem to have transitioned from the former to the latter. I finally saw a therapist, and I don't think he's doing any good. Just classic psychobabble from him, with no real advice. Just talking to him makes me more anxious, not less.

    Meanwhile the panic stage seems to set in more and more often. Sometimes out of the clear blue, other times when I think of my father. I just don't know what to do. I *do* know it's just stress hormones, but I can't control them. No amount of self-reassurance can bring the symptoms under control. Trying to think of something else just doesn't work. That's like saying "don't think of pink elephants."

    What to do? How do you regain control? Sorry to keep insisting, but I sense many of you have more experience, and this is all new and scary for me. Any further advice would be much appreciated.

    Old 05-20-2004, 01:08 PM   #6
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions

    to megan,
    all the info and advice you need is in books and tapes on recovery from agoraphobia or panic disorder, these can be bought or borrowed from a library, you can tell them you are trying to help a friend....

    any valium type meds will help a lot but many docs want to prescribe antidepressant meds only for your problems, these do eventually help often but the early side effects cab be severe. ask your doc for a benzo, that is a valium type med, and always carry a few tablets with you when out, very reassuring to have them with you

    some therapists who are familiar with anxiety problems do offer useful advice but many only offer psychobabble which doesnt help you cope

    panic attack is the medical term, anxiety attack sounds more polite but they really are the same thing

    you may be better with another doc, its unusual that he hasnt prescribed any meds for you, inderal may stabilise the bloodpressure and also reduces anxiety

    theres no need to go to the ER for a panic attack, breathe deep and slow, relax as much as you can, dont tense up against the panic and dont fight back against it, work your way thru it, wait a while then continue with your day, dont go home

    Old 05-21-2004, 05:07 AM   #7
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    Re: Panic state getting out of control - help, questions


    Sorry for the loss of your Dad. Alot of people suffer attacks over the death of a loved one, particularly if they were extremely close. It is beneficial that you do find one that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. Also a grief support group might be your best option right now, you will find so many facing the same situation. Having others to converse with and understanding is crucial, plus during the times you are experiencing an attack, they are the best to call on for talking you through it, it is extremely hard in the beginning to talk one's self out of an attack, its our normal fight or flight syndrome. But having someone to understand and they can help rationalize what is happening ie, I was thinking about my Dad...when all of a sudden, etc. then you will understand how the fear and feeling anxiety can mushroom into a full blown attack. Also being sick as you mentioned you are recovering, plays alot into more anxiety, just try to eat on a regular basis, no skipping meals, avoid caffiene also much as possible, and rest.

    Was your Dad the type of person that you normally would call for good news, or he was the one who cheered you up when down? Your friend as well as father? Im betting it was that type close relationship, and its hard to grieve, and will take time. Many of us have a "safe" person that we just feel better having them around, spouse or parent normally, and if we lose them or if they are suddenly having to leave were we feel we are alone to fend off an attack, the more apprehensive we become, and the panic follows.

    I would recommend at least going to your general doctor for a blood work up, over your bronc and generally well being, the BP , I find mine extremely high going to the doctor, just putting on the cuff, yet when Im home, its more normal, he will take it twice, once again before leaving, and it drops after we have talked, it maybe still be elevated, but not near as high as the first inital reading. Also note that if you get the shortness of breath feeling during an attack, that is the hyperventilation syndrome, and will cause your BP to spike, and can take as long as 24 hours to return to normal after an attack.

    I agree that a benzo, small dosage of xanax or ativan would be your best bet right now to help tremendously with the attacks, anxiety and rest, along with a support group, and the right therapist.

    Prayers are with you during this difficult time,

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