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    Old 11-06-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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    Unhappy Took my first ambulance ride last night

    Panic attacks are brand new to me. I've been suffering for about a month. I was diagnosed with pericarditis Oct. 4th when I went to the ER with chest pain for a week, and then new symptoms had crept up, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, arm numbness, etc. Both of these conditions came together.

    I was prescribed Naproxen and Alprazolam. I would only take the Alprazolam when I started feeling jittery.

    I had one good week without any medication after I had done my follow-up with the cardiologist. The pericarditis has cleared and I thought these panic attacks were over as well.

    Last Saturday I had a big one out of nowhere. By Wednesday, I went back to my regular doctor still with near-constant shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest "heaviness" (not pain) who prescribed me Lexapro. He also set up a CAT scan to check for a pulmonary embolism. I've been on a half tablet (for 6 days) then I take a whole tablet per day.

    So yesterday, I took my son to his basketball game. I felt the anxiety start to set in. It was near 11 am and I still hadn't eaten, so I ate some crackers and seemed to stave off the panic. I felt the typical post-panic fatigue.

    Last evening I noticed a pain in lower chest just beneath my rib cage, sort of to the left. Had a little shortness of breath and decided to take a Naproxen and Lorazepam to stave off the seemingly impending panic (Lorazepam seem milder and hasn't worked well for me, but I had a few left) I sat down to read the paper and felt the familiar ice cold sensation run through my arms to my hands. Too late.

    I stood up and did my usual pacing, dizzy, nauseous, cold and sweating. Then I felt like something "snap" in my body and I suddenly had FIRE coursing through my whole body. I was TERRIFIED. It BURNED. My senses began to narrow and go. I had tunnel vision, I couldn't hear, I got a horrible taste in my mouth and it was so dry. My tongue was huge and dry. I rushed into where my husband was on the computer. I thought this was it, I was for SURE dying. He tried to calm me down, but I said something was drastically wrong this time. I'd never experienced this before. He called 911.

    I knew it was going to be a horrible for me to have to sit still for the paramedics to assist me. I also knew I would have a hard time sitting still, let alone being STRAPPED in a stretcher. I got through their assessment and they brought me to the ER. They mostly unbuckled me so I could swing my legs back and forth to cope with the panic.

    Of course, as soon as I get to the ER--I realize that all that is wrong with me WAS the panic attack. I had begun to calm down, the burning sensation had only lasted a couple of minutes and didn't return. I felt so foolish. I did have an idiot ER doctor who thought I might be having GI problems (that pain in my diaphragm area) and he gave me some concoction to drink. Whatever.

    I'm just so angry about this. I want my life back. I've only been on Lexapro for 4 days at half strength. I do hope it works for me, but so far---things have been getting worse. I NEVER had panic attacks during the day. Only late at night and in the middle of the night. Lexapro didn't work for my dad (taken for general anxiety) and made him more jittery. Maybe that's an indication it won't work for me? I'll keep using it until I see my GP on Nov. 17th again.

    So has anyone else experienced the burning fire sensation in a panic attack before? At least I know if it happens again, it's "normal" and we don't have to call the paramedics.

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    Old 11-06-2005, 03:17 PM   #2
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    Re: Took my first ambulance ride last night

    Hey Amy, I know this post is going to find you late and you'll be over that specific episode. But I had to let you know that I have had the exact same sensations that you are experiencing and then then some. I'v done the ER and not had a stroke or heart attack nor do i expect to have one...I dont know exactly what causes all the sensations, I know its a combination of the fight/flight reflex and psychosomatic suggestion that the exhausted mind is powerless to repel but what i do know is that just dosent matter. I know that if go searching for medical explanations and find out that they are harmles side affects of stress my anxiety would just find another terrifying way to manifest its self, in the physical as it were (I'v had to many to mention). You just have to belive and i mean really belive that you are absoultly fine. The relife that comes from just letting all your worries go and realizing that your not going to die is so profound, although not easy and will require monumental courage, initially.
    I know every one is different and that they can act as a crutch during the tuff times but your recovery will not come from drugs alone. Ultimately they wont make you better only you can do that, as, on some level your actually doing this to your self with fear. The drugs wont change that they will just numb (no pun intended) the fear until the next time and it could go on for years.

    Also try all the basics eat well, light exercise, go to bed early with a book. Take vitamin B and fish oils omega 3&6

    You'll be back soon

    Old 11-07-2005, 09:49 AM   #3
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    Re: Took my first ambulance ride last night

    Hi Arizona
    look up fight or flight response on the net also look up GERD which is common with panic attacks
    alprazolam or any other valium type med in a large enough dose will greatly reduce any panic attacks and works fastest if disolved under the tongue, klonapin wafers are especially designed for panic attacks but may not be available in your area

    the lexapro takes 2 to 6 weeks to work and sometimes never works, yes if it didnt help your dad it may not help you, but there are several other types of antidepressants to try that may help, however at present you need valium type meds which sadly many docs wont prescribe
    there has been much brainwashing of the medical profession to prescribe antidepressants only for panic attacks and anxiety , sadly
    a psychiatrist specialising in panic attacks at the ER would almost certainly have given you an injection of valium which works like magic

    stay with us, when panicky, breathe deep and slow, above all avoid rapid shallow panting which can bring on hyperventilation, adding more problems
    Life is not a dress rehearsal

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