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1979360 tn?1328147465

panic attacks.

i've been experiencing panic attacks for the past year or so now. after they happen, i keep telling myself that it was no big deal and that i got through it just fine. but when they're going on, i feel like i am going to or about to die. i hate to say it, but i do not wish these on my worse enemy - if i even have one.

are there any techniques that you all use to calm yourself down during one of these? these attacks have caused me to not want to drive in traffic, for fear that i will have one and be stuck in between so many cars without a way to get out and get back home, to my safe place. and even though at home i am alone a lot because of my husband's job in the military - it has become my "safe haven" that i need to be in at all times. this has also effected my career. i'm a professional photographer and i've started to why away from doing what i love the most, for fear that i'm going to have a panic attack in the middle of a session or wedding that i am shooting.

any tips will help.
18 Responses
1699033 tn?1514116733
I'm going to throw this out there.

Ask yourselves what type of qualify of life you have.  Is it a good one?  Are you able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them without the anxiety, panic and fear getting in your way?  If the answer is no then you need to get treatment.  

You don't want to take mediciton, then fine.  Medication is tricky.  Some work better than others and you need to have the patience to find what works best for you.  And like JGMontgomery found out, it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks before you start to see the benefits.  At some point she will not even need the Xanax most likely during the day anymore.  

For myself, I would rather take the mediction for the rest of my life, regardless of addiction, than live a life inside my house unable to hold a job and do the things I enjoy.  

Having said this, okay so you are medication free.  Now what?  Well you need to go to therapy.  You need a therapist that specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy.  If you continue down the path you are on, how long before you never leave your house again?  

If you can't afford therapy, then you need to look into group therapy that is free in your area.  Get on the internet and find something that you can participate in with others that are in the same situation.  It may take some time to find but it will be worth it.  See if there are ongoing anxiety studies in your area at the local research hospitals that you can participte in.  These usually come with free therapy.  

In short, I'm saying that you have options that maybe you haven't pursued because you didn't know what to do next.  What is NOT an option is sitting in your house, losing your job, etc because of anxiety.  It is highly treatable.  You only have one life and only you can make it a good one.  
1699033 tn?1514116733
I breathe my way out of them and I also self-coach myself through them.  The breathing is to take a deep breath, hold it for 5 seconds, count this out in your head, and then let it all out through your mouth.  It slows your heartrate back down.  Sometimes I even hold my breath.  I also self-coach myself just like you were saying.  You have been through it before, you didn't die and you won't this time.  I hear you, they are not pleasant.  But what I absolutely do not do is stop what I'm doing.  If I am driving, I will continue to drive until it goes away.  

I battled one for 15 minutes this past November and I got it because I talked myself into it.  I was thinking about it and bam it happened.  I should have started breathing right when the thought popped into my head.  So there is lesson 1 for you...just don't go there if you can help it.  But in any case after about 15 minutes of white knuckling the steering wheel and singing to the radio and breathing it was gone and I was able to drive the rest of the way which was another 2 hours.  

If we give in, then we won't be able to do anything anymore.  

Also, my doctor did suggest that I take klonopin at that point but I declined.  I don't like to medicate with a benzo during the day.  I do take other meds though that I'm sure help me, wellbutrin to be exact.  Just some food for thought.
929504 tn?1332589534
What exactly are your symptoms??? Having a panic attack is one of the most scariest things to have happen. Although Anxiety disorder is not curable, it is treatable and depending on the person, treatment varies. Breathing techniques are very helpful in most cases, however if the panic attacks are starting to steal away your life, medicine may be helpful as well. Agraphobia occurs when you cannot deal with the situation and your safe haven is at home, you become afraid of the outside world, causing a drastic change in your career, job, social life etc....my advice is that you seek professional help to get a diagnosis and then weigh your options with treatment.  
1979360 tn?1328147465
every doctor that i have been to about this has always tried to shove pills down my throat. and i hate for that to sound mean and what not, but i do not take pills - i am a recovering addict to opiates, and medication is half the issue when it comes to panic attacks.
1875160 tn?1330613262
Well I can relate ! I usually breath in deep and exhale yell stop in my head and ill begin to read a book or anything I can find to get my mind off it its dificult and scary and just like you I wouldn't want no one to go through it
1699033 tn?1514116733
Have any of the doctors that have treated you for panic attacks taught you cognitive behavioral therapy?  The breathing I mentioned above is part of it but only a small part.  The self-coaching is part of CBT.  You really need to learn these techniques if you are to get a handle on this since you cannot take medication.  And in reality, medication probably does help some but it is more than likely the CBT that really does the job of stopping a panic attack.  
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