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Panic Attacks With Agoraphobia
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Panic Attacks With Agoraphobia

Hello.  I have panic disorder w/agoraphobia.  I am fascinated by the posts I've read here.  

My panic is really bad some days.  I was in church yesterday, and nervous the whole time, and when we had group talk I got very hot and sweaty and wanted the attention off me ASAP.  But last week I had no problems talking to the people in small group.  I just never know what's going to happen w/me, but when it's bad it's highly uncomfortable.

Real depression is setting in.  My world feels so small.  

I read a lot about medications.  Seems SSRI and benzos the the 2 ways to go.  I've read that SSRIs are better for daily, long term use.  But I also read that SSRIs can actually make panic disorder worse, initially.  Yikes!

Has anyone on here been on benzos daily and for a long time?  If so can you tell me about your experience please?
Still effective?  When benzo instead of SSRI?  How long have you been on and how much do you take per day?

My life is terrible with this disease and I have to cure it soon.  I'm beginning to think I will never board another plane ever again or take a trip anyway.  That makes me extremely depressed.

God bless all of you.
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My advice to you is stop trying to overanalyze anxiety treatments and pick what's going to work for you ahead of time.  The BEST approach is to seek the help of a psychiatrist, allow him to thoroughly assess you, and offer some suggestions.

Go in with an open mind.  Don't go in with the mindset that YOU are going to tell the doctor what you think you should be on.  That's not how it works. You have to be willing to try different things, and you have to be patient while they start working.  If you have never tried any meds, then there is no reason you couldn't try a typical commonly prescribed antidepressant.  Usually, the use of a benzo in this case would be short term, during the adjustment phase of the AD when there MAY be some increases in anxiety.  Once the AD starts working, you will need the benzo less and less, until you don't need it at all.

You want personal experiences, that's fine, just don't put too much importance on them, as everyone is different.  One person's horror story is the next person's success story.  I've had great success with Zoloft and Lexapro (at different times) and "as needed" Ativan.  Once the ADs started working, I needed less and less of the Ativan.

When people go into treatment with so many preconceived notions, most times, they have a much more difficult time being patient, and being open minded.  You will convince yourself that you will have bad side effects, even though you may not.  It may even get to the point where you will worry so much about side effects, that you basically make that happen...a conditioning of sorts.

Just reach out, seek help, and be willing to give meds a try.  Sometimes, you will have great success with the very first regimen (as I did, and as many other did), or you may have to deal with a bit of trial and error.  Therapy is a MUST also.  Find a p-doc who will refer you to a good therapist (preferrably CBT).

You have to do something.  You're already experiencing secondary depression, and that's not good.  Also, just so you know, there is not a "cure", but there are treatments and therapy that will help you regain your life.  I was housebound twice in my life...meds and therapy gave me my life back.

"Just go with it" a perfect saying for you.  Please let us know how it's going!
Thanks for your help.  Therapy is gonna be hard for me to get based on money issues, but I have read about what's involved with CBT, which is mainly exposure in the case of agoraphobic people.  Do you think if I work on my own CBT and keep pushing myself that this would be an adequate substitute for a therapist?  After all, all a therapist can really do is tell me to go out and do the CBT.  It's up to me to actually go out and do it.  I mean in the end we have to be on top of ourselves to get better and make this work, right?  There is not magic word a therapist can say to make this go away.  Would you agree?   If there's something I've overlooked, please let me know.  This is just how I interpreted therapy. I realize I may be way off base.  
Long term benzo use with PTSD and depression.  SSRI's are effective along with therapy.  Medications alone are slow to improve symptoms and reversing the disease process takes a fair amount of time as the medications take some time to build up in the brain tissues.  

I have issues with agoraphobia, don't attend church anymore due crowds so I applause your efforts!  The panic disorder got substantially better when I started therapy.  It was beneficial for me to see where I was at compared to others.  Group therapy was most effective. I hope that your depression is not too severe, the anxiety can really push you down though.  So much energy is spent just trying to be safe and feeling normal.

I would try both medications with your doctor.  I had tried several SSRI's before I found the best for me so be patient with your treatment.  It is good to keep a journal for each of your symptoms and see how good or bad they are getting.  Remember, your doctor is only going to see you for 10-15 minutes so you need to be clear on what is going on with you.  He will adjust your meds ( or not) based on your responses.  Use your time wisely.

I hope that this helps you.  Good luck and God be with you.
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