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Panic attacks and Agoraphobia
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Panic attacks and Agoraphobia

I am 54 and have been suffering with panic attacks and agoraphobia for about 30 years now. I have had therapy and bio-feedback for years and it didn't help, they tried antidepressants on me and I've had very bad reactions to them, my tongue swells up and my thoat closes up, my heart races, my blood pressure drops and every muscle in my body hurts. My eyes even feel like they are going to explode. I must have tried every antidepressant out there and I cannot take any of them. My doctor put me on Xanax 1mg and it has helped greatly, but I still have panic attacks now and then and my agoraphobia comes and goes. I pretty much have had to try and beat this monster myself. Being agoraphobic its hard getting to doctors. Now I am having pains in my stomach in the morning and I have headaches all the time. My head feels like I have a tight band around it and I can't think straight half the time. I seem to worry about everything. I was doing really well for about six years and then I talked to a friend who also suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. He to was having alot of symptoms and headaches. He went to see a FILL in doctor and was sent for a MRI of his head and was surprised to find out that he had a brain tumor and grapefruit sized cyst in his brain. Now I'm starting to think that maybe thats what I have. I can't stop thinking about it. I talked to my doctor about it and he just said, you don't have a tumor and let it go at that. Could I be over reacting or could I have the same thing as my friend ? Its really got me worried.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry to hear that nearly everything you've tried has failed to help you, especially the therapy. You don't say how long it's been since you stopped therapy, but have you considered giving it another try? Maybe you just weren't with the right therapist, which is really important and can often mean the difference between success and failure. I hope you will at least think about it.
Xanax is a great med for panic but it is meant for short term use. (<4 months) Have you discussed perhaps trying Klonopin, which is a good long term benzo for panic? I would urge you to at least discuss switching the next time you see him/her.
I don't want to alarm you, but anytime we suddenly begin to have a lot of headaches, it really needs to be checked out by a doctor. The daily pains in your stomach should also be evaluated.
It's possible that your headaches and even your stomach pains are from anxiety after learning about your friends tumor. Those of us with anxiety are quite prone to being hyper-vigilant about our health and many of us can lean towards hypochondria. But you still need to have both those issues addressed by your doctor, so please don't put that off.
So, while it is very possible that you are overreacting due to your friends issues, only your doctor can give you a diagnosis.
I wish you the very best.
Peace
Greenlydia  

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Avatar_m_tn
I have tried seeing other therapist, but they pretty much did the same thing as the first. I was on Klonopin for six months and I thought the Xanax worked better.

Thanks for the info.
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349780_tn?1309637558
What exactly did you go through in theraphy? Did the teach you the relation between the mood, the symptoms, the reaction and the thoughts? Great to keep track of them all and see can you find a pattern. The mood being sad. The thought being ' oh my god here I go again '. The reaction might be to focus on some part of your body because it hurt the last time this same thing happened. Thus bringing on your symptoms. They all have a knock on effect on each other. The whole idea is to try and change either the thought or the reaction. Not easy at first. Practice makes perfect. As we tend to run away when something bad hits us. What could be the worse things that could happen if we stayed put? The more we run the more fuel we add to the fire. It makes our symptoms get a lot worse. Once that happens we will want to run next time as well. It is a never ending spiral that can lead one to become housebound. But if we just stopped and didn't run? We might feel crap. But I can tell you now the feelings would pass as quickly as they came on. That is the big thing we have to learn. That feelings can come and go. We just have to re train ourselves from the start. Old skills we once had. But we have forgotten how to use. I am sure there was a time you were fine. Life was good to you. You didn't worry about things. They are skills. We don't see them when things are going good. They stand out big time if things are going bad. We see them as negative things. But as the mind works against us, it can also work for us. I say this after spending a decade or more in the house. I go places now. Have fun. I like going out. But I had to get used to it all over again. The new feelings it brought with it. It wasn't done in a day either. It took time. A lot of time. And a lot of hard work by me to want to stick out those bad feelings when they hit me. Just speaking agoraphobic to agoraphobic here. What needs to be done if you want back out there. Your life is still out there. Just waiting for you to go out and get it back.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have tried every therapy under the sun. Some of it helped, but most of it I did myself.
Back in the early 90's the panic attacks and agoraphobia was almost completely gone. Then my mother got sick and she couldn't get anyone to help her out. She use to say, property rich money poor. She had two beautiful homes, one in the city and one at the beach. I tried everywhere to get her help, but in the end it all was put on my shoulders. So for six years I took care of her by myself, it was a nightmare. The panic attacks started again and the agoraphobia did to. The stress I was under was unreal. My mother's life for six years was in my hands. Just when I couldn't take it anymore, she passed away.  Seven years later I'm still trying to get back to where I was, but its been really hard, but I'm not giving up. I sold her home in the city and moved to her home at the beach. So I'm just taking things day by day. I just keep telling myself. Life is good ! And I push myself as much as I can and think back to the 90's when things were like a new life. I'll keep pushing !
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633284_tn?1271718018
Hi there I just want to say that I am sorry you have to do this it *****...I have panic attack for like 4 months straight now trying to get help. ANyways I just want to say that your doctor works for you! I would ask for an MRI I know its hard but just say I want an MRI of my head I need the reassurance...I have only been having these symptoms for 4 months and I am scheduled for am MRI next week to get of my head. So just remember your doctor works for you if he/she isn;t giving you what you want then switch doctors. If you need to fill peace in your mind that you don't have tumor than you need to stick up for yourself! goodluck and I hope this helps a tad!! :)
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