Talk to ur doctor... They have alot of advice & therapies that can help. Its nothing to be ashamed of... I saw my doctor, he said 1 in 5 people he see's a day come in for anxiety/depression.. More common than strep throat or other stuff! See ur doc, you'll be happy you did!
I had panic attacks for 20 years. I no longer have any of significance today... and found that medication didn't help me more than a short while when I did take it. I used REBT and journaling as a way to get them under control.
I disagree with the chemical imbalance theory, although drugs may help you in the short term... and give your plan a one-two punch.
I believe mine is also a chemical imbalance. I went through a lot of therapy sessions and since I have no "baggage" or anything, and had a normal childhood, happy life, etc, the doctor suggested a chemical imbalance. This makes sense, because it runs in the family. Many people believe don't believe there's such a thing, but I do, and medications have helped me a lot. Good luck. It can be very very scary! And unless a person has had a panic attack, they don't know what we go through! Good luck and God Bless!
Def agree w/aruba! Ive had a normal life so I know how it feels! The doctor explained things to me so well & made me feel really good about my decision. To the orign poster- if you do decide to try medication dont ever be ashamed about it just bc some people dont "believe" in it. Everyone is different & if it works for you go 4 it! Good Luck 2 you!
i used to have panic attacks regularly, but once they reached the point where i ended up in the emergency room, i decided to take a break. my dr forced me to take a couple weeks off of school, and after those couple weeks, i wasn't quite ready to go back, so i took my time and bit by bit tried to adjust myself back to a normal routine.
i tend to agree that a chemical imbalance is a poor explanation for anxiety attacks. my father was diagnosed as bi-polar, but i see him using that more and more as an excuse to escape his responsibilities in life, rather than simply facing the things that trouble him.
u don't necessarily need to have any "baggage" or bad childhood experiences to make u stressed out. simple things in life can get to anyone. relationships, money troubles, work, school, watching the news... anything can make u feel overwhelmed and trigger a panic attack. if anything, i think maybe it's a good thing, because it shows we haven't all become completely desensitized to the world around us.
for me, i just had too many things to handle all at once. so i picked the one thing that i could take time away from, and, well, took time away from it. i found i was just thinking way too much. i had a lot of things to deal with on a daily basis, adding worries about my homework, grades, school relationships was just piling too much on top of what i already had to cope with... then once i realized i was having panic attacks, i'd start getting scared that i'd have them at school, or out in public, and that made me more nervous and anxious, and even agoraphobic. having panic attacks made me feel i had lost all control of my own life.
i just had to take some time to be my own psychologist for a little while. i took some time away from my usual responsibilities and tried to analyze what it was that was causing me to be so stressed. i'd pick out individual things, and one by one, i'd face my fears and insecurities. i had developed a fear of being out in public, so i called one of my friends on the far side of the city and would arrange to go visit them. it forced me to take the train by myself, but knowing someone was waiting for me on the other side and was expecting me by a certain time, it motivated me to push myself to get there. i'd take things with me on the train that would keep me distracted and occupied so i wouldn't start thinking too much, and once i reached the other end of the line i'd feel so relieved and proud of myself for overcoming a fear. i kept doing this until it became something normal again for me to be out and about.
after a while i managed to push myself to go back to school, but rather than focussing and stressing about my grades and homework, i patted myself on the back for overcoming my fear of being there. it took a couple years to really get through it, but it was worth it because it worked. i never set a deadline for myself, i had to be very patient and just stay relaxed about all of it --reminding myself that God wasn't about to strike me down with a lightning bolt for not having perfect grades....
in the end, i don't have panic attacks anymore at all, and i've now flown around the planet a few times all on my own as well. something i found worked very well as motivation for me, too, was choosing things to do where i felt i was doing it to help someone else. whenever i've felt someone else needed me for something, i couldn't worry about myself, my focus fell on them.
...my only real problem from all of this now is that my medical records are the first thing any dr checks, and whenever they see i used to have anxiety attacks, they don't take any of my health problems seriously, they tell me it's stress and to go home and relax. not all psychological issues are the same, and i really wish medical doctors would clue in about this and stop treating anyone with a little stress in their life like they belong in a padded room. stress is a normal part of anyone's life... when it comes to anxiety disorders, it's simply a matter of learning to manage it and find some time to yourself to get away from life's troubles and worries.
as far as medication goes, my dr prescribed a very low dose of lorazepam (pardon my spelling if it's wrong) for me... but i never really took it. i kept it in my purse to make me feel more secure, that if anything were to happen when i was out in public, i had a remedy on hand. it was just psychological. just keeping it near by was all the added security i needed to make me feel i was in control of my own life. i think, in any case, if u're ever given prescription medication and u can avoid taking it, if it's something that's not absolutely necessary, don't take it. our society's become way too medicated, and it's a horribly unnecessary crutch. just because something comes in a pretty little package doesn't make it a miracle cure for all that ails u. try your best to handle things naturally, and have a little faith in yourself, and hopefully in God too. :)
i'm wishing all of u suffering from anxiety attacks all the best, and hopefully encouraging u to overcome them by showing u it can be done. :)
I agree with a lot of things you wrote, and disagree with a few. I'm so glad to hear that you're doing well. The thing I've always wondered is: if it's not a chemical imbalance, then WHAT is bothering me?! That's just the thing...we were never able to pin-point anything. I mean, yeah, I have stress in my life, but I very RARELY have ever felt so overwhelmed with things I had to do. It was usually just that I'd be at home, relaxing, not thinking about ANYTHING, when all of a sudden I felt like I was about to die. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations and also wound up in the ER a few times. If I could get off medications and NOT have any symptoms, I would LOVE it! I would much rather NOT be on medication. But I tried that for a year, did great, and then it all came back. I would absolutely love to be pill free. I take Effexor XR every day, and I also have a low dose of Xanax (which is pretty much the same thing as lorezepam I think) that I keep with me and take only as needed...which is MAYBE 1 - 2 pills a week. I agree whole-heartedly with you that just having it with me helps as a security thing. And I also agree that many doctors will not take you seriously if they see you've had anxiety in the past. Especially when you're a female in your 20s! But yeah, I still believe that it's possible to have a chemical imbalance. Especially if anxiety/panic disorders and depression run in the family...that is proof enough for me, anyway.
well, i'm certainly no doctor, so who am i to rule out a chemical imbalance? however, i'd still try to search all other avenues before falling back on such a non-descript diagnosis.
how's your diet? different vitamin deficiencies can cause u to manage stress poorly. likewise, there are different health problems that can cause the same symptoms as an anxiety attack.
if u're wanting to get off of the medication, it's worth doing some research into other possible causes. who knows what u'll find. it seems like doctors these days are so quick to blame everything on stress... they end up overlooking more serious problems sometimes. it could be your thyroid or some other hormonal problem that's instigating them.
for years i kept going to the dr and various specialists. everyone kept telling me it was stress, and it was actually a serious blood disorder. because i had a history of panic attacks, i went into the hospital complaining about chest pains, and they said i was having a panic attack... it turned out to be a severe stage of my blood disorder and EVERYONE overlooked it.
with the actual panic attacks i had before, i was always such a mellow and relaxed person, but i guess, somehow, because i never really released my emotions, they needed to get out somehow. when they originally started, it was like u said. i'd just be sitting around and relaxing, maybe even in the process of falling asleep, and it would just hit me. that's how i ended up being agoraphobic. i never knew when to expect an attack, so i started to be paranoid about having no control over it.
my whole life i've been watching my dad popping back pills for various things, and i've watched it destroy his life. i've had friends with panic disorders as well, and while i was working mine out, bit by bit on my own, they turned to meds and it really changed their personalities, and until now, they still haven't overcome the problem. i know everyone's different, but whenever i can discourage using medication, i will... especially with anything related to your moods or temperment.
i've also worked overseas in "conflict zones". i've dealt with so many people who have anxiety disorders, but it's usually from horrible life experiences. i've seen people completely snap out of reality and have fits of rage for no reason whatsoever. it can be scary to witness, but somehow thanks to facing down my own demons, i can usually talk someone back to reality and calm them down, whatever the emotion. in my own personal experience, this seems the usual method of treatment on the other side of the planet, yet if that same person were to have that problem here, they'd be medicated for it. i'm sure in some cases, medication must help people, but i'll still be cheering u on and hoping u can get off of it.
maybe it's bad, or just biased, that i'd be kicking myself whenever i did take a pill hoping it would calm me down, but i think it's a healthy way to think if it keeps u away from prescription meds. i'm sure taking these types of medications can help, but in the long run, who knows how it's going to affect your body. most of the time any type of medication will treat your symptom, and cause another one. just be cautious, not ashamed, and keep pressing on and fighting it knowing u're far from alone in this world. this is a problem that's been gaining more and more recognition over the last few years. i think one of the biggest problems i had before was that no one seemed to really know what a panic attack was when i first started getting them. now that it's become so common, the new problem is how quickly people turn to medication to fix it, but i am sure there are cases when it's needed.
thank u for posting back to me and wishing me well. it was very nice to see a response waiting for me. :)
take care and God bless...
..and what's with those drs singling us 20 something women out anyway!? they should be more sympathetic and sensitive to us than any one other group... we're the mothers of the next generation, and we're the ones facing the biggest life changes. we deserve the most attention. ;)
I'm sorry, I misunderstood and mis-stated your position in the matter. It wasn't my intention to cause more grief! I hope the meds do work for you, but generally speaking I stand by my assertion that meds only delay (at best) the discovery and resolution to problems with anxiety. You and your doctor are working together to resolve your non-suffering and that's a good thing. Congrats!
He he he! Yeah, we're working on my non-suffering, all right! Yeah, I really would like to not take any medications, and I'm sure the long-term effect of them isn't good. We're figuring things out, seeing what my body reacts to and such. I've also found that focusing on others has helped as far as my health anxiety goes...and I DO believe that that's also helped. Hopefully one day there will be a specific answer, other than a theory, as to what can cause a sudden attack of panic attacks in a person who normally doesn't conciously feel over-whelmed. Good luck to you!
You know, I had so many tests done myself, and they've never found anything. I always wonder, too, if they're missing something. But like I said, that in itself was causing me so much health anxiety that I just forced myself to beleive that nothing was wrong. Did they specifically look for a blood disorder when they finally found out you had one? Because to be honest with you, I'm not sure exactly everything that I've been tested for. Before the age of 22, I had NEVER had a blood test. Then in the last 3 years I've been poked and prodded so many freakin' times I've lost track! ha ha! I know they tested my B-12 levels, and they tested my thyroid, and did numerous tests on my heart (only because I had to practically FORCE them to) and never found anything. I guess I just got tired of all the tests and feeling like a hypochondriac, that I've just accepted that it's just a chemical imbalance causing my panic attacks. But even on meds, I still get strange chest pains every so often that just go on unexplained. It's just so frustrating sometimes, isn't it? I'm so glad that you're feeling better. And it's comforting to know we're not alone, isn't it? Have a great day!
Thank you sooo much for taking the time to write about your experience with anxiety! I love your hopefullness and willingness to consider the true cost of meds.
Part of an anxiety attack the is sense of being out of control, but this is only a feeling, not a reality. Taking meds to supress that horrible feeling creates a whole new reality for those who take them. The person who responded to you yesterday clearly was suffering from that whole new reality: BEING out of control. The meds become the control, and it is a frightening thought that they should stop taking them. I dare say that you won't find a large number of Medical Professionals nowadays who agree with you that meds should not become the control. It is not only a lucrative proposition for the Medical Professionals to prescribe meds, it is also a way for them to "fix" the patient (a very heady feeling).
Putting the focus on others is such a wonderful alternative. I am so glad I'm not the only one to adopt that treatment method. I have discovered that volunteering my time and energy to help others has helped me take the focus off of what might not be going well in my life, and put all that energy into something I can do quite well. As opposed to developing a dependency on Doctors and pills, I've become a real contributor to society.
Real life is real scary, but my Grandmother taught me a lot when she battled cancer. She continued to volunteer for both her church and a Children's Home. When she had time alone, I know she was terrified and suffering horrendous pain(I was there, trying to help her get through it), but she made herself get up and live her life with value. She touched so many lives in her last five years, that when she died, the Mayor of her city named a day in her honor. I want my life to be worth that much!
I wish you love, happiness, and most of all, a peace-filled mind.
Medication seems to be what's helping me right now, and I'm using it under a doctor's care...I am not currently "suffering" from anything right now. I'm just willing to try anything to feel better. I'm not afraid to try and come off medication again, but at this point and time, I've only been on this medication not even a year yet. My doctor is more than willing to help me come down and slowly wane off again to see how I feel. May will be a year since I've been on Effexor, and I'm going to try and come off again. Like I mentioned above, I had BEEN off ALL medications for a full year and felt good. Then it started over again and my doctor suggested I get back on. So, just to set the record straight, medication does not control me, I'm just trying ALL my options. I have a very open mind about what will make me feel better, and I'm not against trying ANYTHING.
I wanted to just thank you for all that you have written about your life experience with anxiety. The way you have faced your fears have been an inspiration for me.
Just to share, my problem is or was that this year for the first time in three years I decided to get a complete physical because I felt a few problems here and there but before I had the physical I self diagnosed myself by reading a medical dictionary. For every symptom that I found in my body, there were twenty or more sicknesses or diseases and I had every one of them from cancer to hiv so even before I made it to the doctors office I was already worried about what the results would be. I was in the doctors office for close to three hours and they did everything from blood presseure to heart monitor to urine test to blood test. Everything came back negative other than my cholestorol being high but I was already panicked because I felt that because I already diagnoised myself that no matter what the doctor said, I still was sick with something. I even had to research other things to assure myself and eve though I found them to be correct and true, my mind still was at a loss.
My doctor feels that because I decided to now better take care of myself at the age of forty and realized that I am nolonger a teenager, I shocked my body and mind by thinking something was wrong when it's not. So now I have to find a way to control my mind and not let my mind control me. Pray and a close walk with GOD, has been great for me, but there are still times when my mind just goes back to something being wrong when nothing is wrong. I will be facing my fears as best as I can and hopefully be in control before they take complete control of me.
You have not said if the MD found anything physically wrong. You need to get your thyroid checked out. Among other things, the Thyroid controls the mechanisms that cause uncontrolled anxiety/panic responses in the brain. Any imbalance in the thyroid hormones can cause symptoms of anxiety or panic to occur. I used to get anxious at the thought of just leaving the house. If I was going on a trip, I would get panic attacks that would send me into a corner. Medications made them better, but I wanted them to go away!!!
My blood tests showed normal values, so I looked to my diet. The Thyroid "runs" on dietary iodine. Most dietary iodine is from eating fish or iodized salt. I ate no fish and added very little salt (iodized salt is different from the salt in chips or crackers). My MD told me to get some kelp with an iodine at about 200mcg, take one each day. She said it could take anywhere from a few hours to a month for my Thyroid to react, if that was my problem. OH MY GOD!!!! in about 2 hours I was so much better you wouldn't believe. It took me about a month for the Thyroid to adjust to having iodine after none for a long time, now I no longer take meds for anxiety or panic attacks, just my little kelp tablet each morning. I feed my thyroid instead of taking meds to mask the attacks. I am calm, my blood pressure is waaaay down, I can leave the house without qualms. It's a whole new life.
Now, you have to be VERY CAREFUL about eating iodine. Your body only needs a LITTLE of it. My doctor said no more than 220mcg each day. Too much is just as bad (if not worse)as too little. You first need to see your MD and get a thyroid function test. You might think about an ultrasound as well to check for Thyroid cysts. Then AFTER talking with you MD, check with the pharmacist to see if iodine will effect any other meds you are taking. THEN try it. Don't just go out and buy kelp and start eating it. Do it the right way.
Or you could eat fish and let your body decide how much iodine it would appreciate! If it made you feel better you could continue to eat it, if not, you could always stop or try something else.
If one thinks low iodine is the problem, one certainly doesn't need an okay from the good doctor, nor any expensive test, to order fish off a menu. It's far more palatable and easy to find than a supplement with the appropriate dossage level too!
Can anyone recommend a more natural solution to panic attacks? I am now 20 weeks pregnant and do not want to be on any medications if I can help it, but lately these horrible feelings of losing control and panic are more frequent and more harsh. Thanks.
Hello anxiety ....WOW this website is so amazingly helpful and interesting... I was diagnosed with anxiety approxiamtely one year ago at the age of 38, and life prior to this was "fine, and easy going with all the regular life stressors and ho hums." So all of a sudden one nite at the movies with hubby, and I feel this amazing discomfort in my left arm, and then PURE FEAR, I stood up as nonchalantly as possible and told hubby "I have to leave" from there we went to the car and he was completely perplexed as this was so not me, and demanded I go to the ER. Well we did, and as you all know all the blood tests, EKG's etc.etc... and it was "anxiety" they gave me a shot of ativan and boom I was fine..............WOW this was March of 03, for approximately one and half years there after I was in the ER a thousand times or more,,,,completely convinced I was going to die, and sure enough every time, I would come out of it and move on. I am not a medication person what so ever, just because I am stubborn I guess, but after seeing a reputable therapist, and several talks to friends and family....ativan changed everything for me....WELL at least it helped me get through the attacks.
I coincidently (previous to all this) had a fairly lengthy history of muscle aches, fibro, pinched nerve in neck, back problems, herniated discs in my neck, etc, etc...So I am still to this day being told that this is what is causing my anxiety issues, because when I have the symptoms of everything I just listed it most definitely mimics anxiety and anxiety most definitely mimics "cardio" soooooooooooooooooo..Oh and I forgot to mention I am in the mental health field and have been now for over 15 years...so I do have a solid inside perspective, however quite simply ...it sucks....
I also I forgot to mention I have seen cardiologists, just to rule out the big one...I have had several heart tests done, and yup you guessed it ....all fine, in fact the cardiologist actually said to me "You have a very healthy 39 year old heart, keep up the good work" At the present I have been having (for appx 3 months) a lot of discomfort in my left arm....docs say it's tennis elbow, bicep tendinitis, and or c tunnel. Wow
Anyhow, I a therapist and close friend of mine, back about a year ago recommended an herb called valerian root and melatonin..Since that day I don't miss a day without one or the other....amazing....
Also the cardiologist back in August of 05 recommened atenolol ...yup you guessed it....my first thought was WHY I thought you said my cardio was all good???????????? However after extensive badgering with research I have found out that it works wonders with people with anxiety and since he prescribed it I have done sooooooooooo much better....
Well I can't thank you all enough for reading and responding, it really helps to talk and ANY posts are truly appreciated! we can all get through this together!!!!!!!
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