When does it become normal for a active and healthy 28 year old male to have frequent and major panic attacks?
My husband, who is a very healthy individual, just recently had one of the WORST panic attacks I have ever seen someone experience. We went to the emergency room and there was nothing they could do for us. He recently just had his blood work done. We have not received the results back yet. His symptoms are listed below. Anyone who has history with these or expert, medical advice are welcome to comment. Like I said before, he has NEVER had a panic attack until now. Its horrible because I am his wife and feel helpless to his needs. :(
tingling sensation from head to toe
unexplained crying fits
fear of death
PEACHIE, you posted in the correct place, and I can tell you that you would be amazed at how many people have panic disorder, which is what I have. It comes straight out of the blue, extremely unnerving experience, and for the person who has a panic attack, it is like being trapped in hell, to be sure.
But there is HOPE for your husband! In fact, he can return to being a regular person! But he will need to see a group practice of psychiatrists and psychologists, and they will put him in with the one who is most expert in panic disorder. I go to an Institute (not a looney bin, rather nice office building), where you sit down in a pleasant office with the expert, you talk to each other for a little while, and they explain how they are going to help the person. My docs use the behaviorist approach, which is to say you BEHAVE your way out of panic attacks. They don't care so much how come you got that way (altho I now know why I had them), as much as they care about getting you to control them completely, to where they just go away!
When I first went to this group, the psychiatrist I talked to immediately recognized what had happened. She told me about panic disorder, she told me she was going to give me a tranquilizer that works very well to prevent panic attacks, and she assigned me to a psychologist who saw me (and eventually my husband) every week. He took me through "exposure therapy," which is NOT what your husband is going to want to hear about except from a pro. But it's all about the doctor identifying your "triggers," that is recognizing precisely what set off the attack to begin with. Then you deliberately set off your own attack at a very low level and stay there in it, apply behaviors to it to make it slow down, which is called "standing in your fear," and you stop it whenever you want, and then after this gradual approach, whatever triggers panic will no longer be a problem.
For example, deep breathing is one of the very best and most rapid ways to reduce your scary feelings. In my case, my panic was complex, but one of my troubles was fear of heights, that was a huge trigger, but not the worst! So, I had to gradually go up higher and higher, so for me this started out one afternoon climbing a ladder in the driveway to the roof, with husband holding onto the ladder. I got about three rungs the first time and freaked out! Until one day I did the impossible, I stood on the top floor of the highest building in town, looked straight down from the window, and I felt no fear. It was amazing. And of course I ended up enjoying going up on the roof of the house! Ha! But with medication and therapy, I overcame panic attacks, and one day I never had another one.
I tell you all this so you will be able to understand how to encourage your husband and help him out, because men can be stubborn, they do not like to turn control over to a perfect stranger, and they will not be as willing as the female to keep up with "assignments." Like for me, I had multiple tasks I had to do each week, report back and talk through the whole situation, to where the psych could give me more and more tips on how to handle it next time. I can even remember one time my doc got a big mirror out of the closet in his office and he had me stare in it for a while. He goes, "Just stare at yourself until you get uncomfortable, and then tell me." I looked in there, and within about 30 seconds, I started to get VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. The doc took the mirror away forthwith and asked me to talk about what I felt like. Stuff like that builds trust between the patient and doc.
Your husband is not insane. He is not going to have to deal with this forever. He will not be put in a psych ward. He is simply going to need some medicine and counseling from the right people. And within a very short time, he will actually WANT to do the exposure therapy because he will get positive results almost every time. Depending on how deep-seated his various fears are, is how long it will take. But it does take months to get thru the situation. But there is absolutely no way to get around this thing without help. So, you are charged with finding a group practice in town, or if you live in a small rural place, you will have to go to a larger city.
Now, you CAN go to whatever the government psych clinic is in town, it's cheap to go to those, usually it will be listed in the white pages under either the name for your state government or name of your county government departments. Also, you CAN look in the yellow pages under Physicians, and under that heading find Psychiatrists, and then you'll find both group practices and individual docs. Go for the group, might be perhaps just one, maybe two or more. You can call ALL these diff places, ask a few questions about if they have experts on Panic Disorder, and make a decision. Nearly all psych places will arrange to see people after work hours, just so it can be kept private and personal at first or whatever length of time. Most people when they first encounter this sort of thing don't want ANYONE to know, and it's even hard to spill the beans to a psych doc. It's such a fearsome thing, panic attacks, it's VERY hard to talk about it in any rational way.
Do post back if you have questions, or if you need more guidance, or whatever. Even simple questions are good, because while I know all about it, I may have gone over it from too specific a point of view, to where you do not understand what in the world I'm talking about. Oh, and one more thing. That actress that was married to Alec Baldwin, her name is Kim Bassinger, she has panic disorder! Imagine that. But she gets around and is in movies and everything. And I am able to do ALL the things I used to do before this happened to me. Actually, it kind of crept up on me, I did not understand how come I was limited in some activities, why I didn't want to travel in cars to places, all sorts of things, until it exploded into a full-blown panic attack. But I am confident your husband has panic disorder and he WILL get better very quickly. And will he ever be relieved! GG
TSCHOCK, I was posting at the exact same time as you were, for when I finished mine, I discovered yours! If I had seen yours first, I would have reworded what was really just a figure of speech, "You came to the right place!" Smiles to you and thank you for helping people in this forum. GG
I am about the same age as your husband and I have experienced panic attack for the first time couple weeks ago.
I am not an expert but I am sure your husband is going to be just fine. In my opinion not knowing that you are having a panic attack is much worst than having one. You don't know what you are dealing with, at first symptoms don't look good so, it's like having a heart attack.
After blood test, and all check ups I felt much better. The results have shown that I am perfectly healthy so that's when I realized that I had a panic attack. After that, I still have anxiety moments "out of nowhere" but I know it's just panic attack and the intensity is much lower. No more emergency visits.I found out that I feel more anxious after eating sugar, even brown sugar.
I am not using medications i exercise instead, reading and trying to understand why and what is going on with me. It really works for me.
After reading your post I just felt like sharing my experience, hope it will help. All best!
It does sound like panic disorder, and he is in a common age for onset, but I just thought I'd plant an idea to think about if he develops new symptoms, such as neurological symptoms that aren't consistent with panic attacks, muscle or joint pain, GI issues, chronic shortness of breath, or heart issues separate from the other symptoms. Lyme Disease and another insect borne disease called Bartonella are known to cause neuropsychiatric issues in people with no previous history of such issues. I have both and I developed some serious anxiety and obsessive thoughts as part of my illness, things I'd never had before. I've read about others having full blown panic attacks as part of their illness. It's not as likely to be Lyme as a Panic Disorder, but I thought I'd mention it just in case other strange symptoms appear.
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