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Recurring Panic Attacks

I was in between jobs, without health insurance, when I became very ill and developed occipital neuralgia. Not only are the headaches so bad I can hardly function on 8 Advils/day and can't go jogging, I started having panic attacks.

As a 33 year old female with no prior anxiety issues this is truly scary!! My neurologist prescribed Xanax but is there any other long term medication that would help?  I'm scared to go shopping alone and am supposed to start a new job in 2 days.

Any advice from fellow sufferers would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!
5 Responses
Avatar universal
There are antidepressants which help with this as well, and longer acting anxiety medications.  Xanax doesn't last long in your system and this is why it's normally prescribed on an "as needed" basis.  You need something to control this 24/7. Anxiety can, and does hit us right out of the blue which makes it very confusing.  Often, anxiety can have a root cause which is normally something traumatic that happened in our past which we have forgotten about.  It comes back to force us to deal with it in the form of anxiety and/or depression. Yours may have been caused by all you've been dealing with.  I would contact your doctor and explain to him what you did to us, he will understand and know what to do. I wish you all the best, and good luck with the new job!  Take care.
Avatar universal
I had occipital neuralgia at the start of my illness. I got Lyme Disease that has triggered CFIDS/ME (also known as CFS).

CFS and/or Lyme can cause all the symptoms you describe.

My quality of life has gone seriously downhill since all this.

If you don't get better, I would look into these things. Exercise is known to raise the anxiety state, and if exercise feels bad for your health, you may be right.

Look out for post-exertional malaise. That means excessively tired after exercise. In fact, it may land you in bed for days.

Chronic Lyme and CFS are both serious. Chronic Lyme isn't well accepted by the medical community and the testing is poor. CFS hasn't been well accepted either. However, recently, they found a retrovirus (think of it as a cousin of HIV) is causing this mess.

It is believed that stress can trigger CFS. It is more common in women because of certain hormones that activate an otherwise latent retrovirus.

If you get worse and symptoms are chronic and persistent (though they can wax and wane), you may have a true physical cause to your illness.

Everyone else here wants to tell you there is nothing wrong with you. It is now my duty in life to spread awareness of serious neuro-immune diseases that evade your standard lab tests.

My "panic attacks" were very severe. Heart rate was 200 bpm for many hours. I was severely ill, and people who lived with me knew that and knew I changed overnight for no apparent reason, but my physician wouldn't believe me. I couldn't even climb the stairs/

I looked through my medical records, and she said I had anxiety from day 1 and I was non-compliant with her suggestions of a counselor and exercise (despite my erratic heart rate and blood pressure). I knew she was wrong. And I am proud that I listened to my instincts, because I was the one that was right.

I have been declared physically disabled as well, and I am only supposed to walk up to 1 mile a day. I am 24 years old, and I used to mountain bike nearly every day.

Anxiety isn't gone, but is a lot better with certain non-pharmaceutical treatment protocols. Ativan helped me. Klonopin is better for long term, and is used by physicians for the symptoms of CFS.

I know I am going against the grain here, but people need to know their illness may not be all in their head. When people told me that all they did was confuse me or irritate me.
Avatar universal
Also, there is currently no treatment for CFS. Only symptom management.

Most likely they will use HIV drugs after proper trials.
Avatar universal
Also, have you taken a fluoroquinolone lately?

Examples: Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, etc

They are often used for bladder/kidney infections and other infections as well.

I had adverse reactions to these drugs after I was sick, and they cause panic/anxiety, fear of being alone, possible tendon problems, etc.
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone! kday - once I get my medical insurance, I'll schedule a physical exam which I haven't had in ages....

I'll call the doc on Monday and tell him that the Xanax is only providing immediate relief but I'm anxious all day and need something longer lasting.
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