You simply have to be honest with your new psychiatrist like you have been here, and have a discussion with him if there is a disagreement...at the end of the session you should feel comfortable that there is a complete understanding between the two of you.
I know what you are going through. I, myself have had a similar lifestyle. You have to educate yourself totally on anxiety. Get all the self help books you can. One that really helped me is: From panic to power. It's a great book. Take your ativan and focus in on what is important in your life. Do something for yourself. Do you work? Keep telling yourself that it is just anxiety that is a physical symptom and you, yourself can fight it! I know it is hard because I have it everyday, but people like us are more prone to becoming successful because of it!
Medications can be an important part of someone with chronic anxiety (like I do too, from the age of five or possibly earlier; I just cannot remember) but these disorders can be cured.
But like the previous poster has said, you need to understand the biological and psychological basis of your disorder. These disorders can actually be cured. For some it will be weeks. For others a year.
The book I recommend is "Self Help for Your Nerves" by Dr Claire Weekes, MBE DSc MBBS FRACGP. Dr Weekes made such significant contributions to anxiety disorders (and this was before Valium was available, the first edition was published in 1962) that she was made a Member of the British Empire for her contributions to medicine. If she was a male doctor, she would have been knighted. This book gives you a thorough understanding of anxiety in its various forms - simple anxiety neurosis, anxiety neurosis complicated with bereavement, shame, guilt, and things like that. She then proceeds to tell you about the four comfortable things you need to do to get rid of it and keep practicing until it goes away.
Yes, it is quite possible to be cured of anxiety and panic attack. There is an automatic response - anxiety situation, adrenalin rush, fear, take a tablet. You can cut the line between anxiety situation and adrenalin rush, and effectively cure yourself. Effectively you will teach yourself that the adrenalin (causing the uncomfortable side-effects of panic attack/anxiety) will no longer come, and eventually it will not come anymore.
I am 27 and have been taking Valium since I was 16. Then when I was 24 I watched my mother die in agony for three years from advanced stage lung cancer. I cuddled her in bed, went to the hospital in the ambulance with her, stayed with her in the emergency department, visited every day on the spot, whatever I could do. She was drinking morphine from the bottle in the end. Then I had a very violent run-in with the police just three weeks after my mother died in my arms. That came to nothing, but it shook me up so badly that I ended up on 14mg Xanax a day. My doctor shook his head and said I could add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list! (But it's weakening now because I have found at least one source of happiness in my life: reading and hobbies). It is vastly important that you not only understand what you have and treat it, but to also occupy yourself with hobbies and things you enjoy. For me it's electronics and amateur radio. It is also important to get a lot of exercise. Walking is best. Every day. Walking or exercise in general tires you, relaxes you, and releases endorphines in your system which will combat anxiety.
My doctor took me off the Xanax quick smart because I was just going to take more and more, and stabilized be on Valium. I have stopped the Valium (up to 30mg/day) to trial Ativan. I take 3x 2.5mg Ativan tablets (only available in Australia I think) at the moment, and they don't seem to make a dent, in terms of feeling the "high" effects of Valium or Xanax, but they appear to do the job. I expect this will be monitored for a while.
You must really understand your condition. You do not have to accept it. Your life is your own. Really. A good psychologist (a real one, not a counsellor) and those self help books will eventually give your life back. I have just started and the benefits start to kick in immediately. But you must concentrate and believe in yourself. It's your choice: meds or none, or a controlled combination of both (e.g. most of the time no meds, meds only when you genuinely can't cope).
And don't let any doctors tell you that you have anything other than a "simple" anxiety neurosis or a "complex" anxiety neurosis until they can show you otherwise. You will read about yourself in these books, I am sure, especially "Self Help for Your Nerves" by Dr Claire Weekes. It can be purchased cheaply from http://www.amazon.co.uk.
I will try to keep this simple: I was on Paxil (40mg in the morning) for about 10 years (since the age of 15) and was doing fine (diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety disorder). Then, in fall of 2003 I came down with what doctors finally diagnosed in December of 2003 as viral spinal meningitis. Either the recovery of the meningitis took a long time (highly unlikely they said), or it threw my meds off to a high degree. For 10 years no problems, and then out of the blue, I started the original symptoms of the meningitis with fever, chills (my wife came home to find me under all the blankets in the house), nausea, headaches, and my wife says she remembers me having a stiff neck--hence, viral spinal meningitis. Those physical symptoms subsided, but mental ones took over, such as mass anxiety and panic attacks, extreme tiredness (Paxil can cause tiredness by the way, as many antidepressants can), feelings like I wasn't there (derealization some call it), and feeling like I was confused all of the time, along with being dreadfully scared and maybe even a little paranoia. After trying me on Wellbutrin, Lexapro, and back on Paxil, they seemed to get me to a level of Paxil that worked. What did stupid me do--I felt things were going well and the Paxil was making me gain weight, so I messed with my Paxil and came down from 40 to 30 mg. My symptoms all started coming back last July '06 and it got the point where they switched me to Effexor XR and Clonazepam (I was hospitalized while they really upped the dose for about 5 days, including the weekend). I had been taking 225mg of Effexor XR in the morning, along with 2 mg of Clonazepam in the morning and another 1 mg around noon or 1pm. That had been my regiment since last November/December and I have done pretty well.
Well, my psychiatrist, not wanting me to be on the Klonopin too long, has taken me down by 0.25mg to 2mg in the morning and 0.25mg at noon. That was 3.5 weeks ago. I have had increased anxiety and tiredness, as well as feeling not here and confused. I was wondering if this is normal, and if it is more likely contributed to my generalized anxiety disorder and me psyching out about changing my meds or if 0.25mg can make this big a change in my physiological makeup. I don't want to be on meds forever, but I need them, I need them, but I hear terrible things about Klonopin. Please let me know regarding this. Thanks ahead of time.