Mood Disorders Expert Forum
Panic attack
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Welcome to the Mood Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by Peter Forster, MD and topics covered are anxiety, bipolar, depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and stress.

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Panic attack

Hello!
I really don't know to which category my question can be relegated to, so,
I'll just ask here.
From time to time I experience some sort of panic attacks. Mostly, they result
of sounds, but they also can appear without any exact reason. That is, when I hear
the sound of vibrating wheels of our car, or working blender, or even my own heartbeat,
I panic. I panic when I hear my husband snoring and can't sleep. Without any disturbing sounds,
I get scared when I start thinking about processes in my (and somebody's) body. If I feel any minor
indisposition, I always anticipate some serious reason. In the mean time, I realize than it also could be something simple, so I push myself to relax.
I guess, it started when I was about to leave for college. I observed my family understanding that they don't even try to watch for their health, don't take any precautions while having some issues with diseases. I looked at my younger brother and thought that he had so thin legs they could break if he ran too fast. I know that a human body is strong, but I can't stop thinking that it could simply fail any moment.
I can't sleep well. I can't drive long with my husband. These episodes appear occasionally and I didn't find any trace of period. The only medicine I took is valerian root, but it doesn't help. I don't want to try anything else without doctor's suggestion because, again, I'm having another panic attack thinking what this medicine does to me.
I really need help. One the one hand, I understand that all my panics are not reasonable, one the other - I suffer.
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There are several things that can help with this kind of anxiety.

Therapy can help for many reasons and in many ways, including that it is an opportunity to "get out in the open" some of these fears so that you can work through them and have an understanding of the parts of the fears that are realistic and the part that aren't, and get support from someone who is knowledgeable about the body and about fears.

Medications may also help. Specifically, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors seem to be very helpful in counteracting the feeling that "something is wrong"... which can sometimes get out of control... I think of this as kind of like having the scary movie music playing randomly during one's life... that sense that something is about to happen that is bad.

The thing about serotonin medications is that they can have transient side effects themselves, so for folks such as yourself, who are likely to be sensitive to side effects, it is often helpful to start at very low doses.

So... I definitely think you should go see your doctor and discuss either getting a referral for psychotherapy or trying a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or both.
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