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Panic Attacks

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Gary has recently started suffering from horrible panic attacks. Does anyone else suffer from these - and are you seeing a doctor for it, and do you take anything for it? I remember a discussion in the past with the doc about Zoloft, but Gary never started taking it.

Thanks for your thoughts and input,

Laurie
post #2 of 18
I used to get them. I went to my doctor and told him that I just wasn't coping. He put me on Celexa 20 mg once a day. After a month I went back and told him that I was starting to feel better, but felt there was still room for improvement. He increased my dose to 30 mg per day.

Going on Celexa has made such a huge difference. I feel "normal" again, and don't get into a panic state over little things, or even nothing at all. Plus I handle stress so much better again.

If he was prescribed a medication, he should be taking it. It will make him feel so much better.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
No, it was never prescribed. It was a year or two ago, and honestly, I don't remember the context, because he wasn't having panic attacks. But he does have OCD and he does suffer from PTSD - and I just looked up zoloft, and it is prescribed to treat all three! So we may be off to the Doc's tomorrow.

I haven't ever heard of Celexa. I know that stuff like Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan are also used to treat panic attacks, but he's been on all three of those in the past (at different times!) - though I don't remember why - and all of them made him kind of out-of-it AND have monster swings in moods. It was bizarre.

Laurie
post #4 of 18
He lives with chronic pain (correct?). There's a likely chance that part of his nervous system is staying "revved up" so to speak. It makes it easier to trip into that flight or fight mode, or for some to end up with panic attacks. Other things can trigger this or make it worse, so please make sure that other possibilities are ruled out before he's put on an antidepressant. If this is a symptom of something else that needs treatment it would be terrible to mask and ignore it.

post #5 of 18
I have tried many different antidepressants for panic attacks and depression, and have had the best success with St. John's Wort and Valerian Root from GNC. They do not work for everyone, but they worked wonders for me and I liked the fact that they were herbal extracts used for hundreds of years.
Whatever you do, I hope find something that helps.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes, he lives with intense, all-the-time chronic pain. He's got a follow-up neuro appointment next week, but he's freaking out about making it to next week! (And his meds regime hasn't changed for several months now). And yes, Gary is VERY worried that "things" are just going wrong in his brain. But all his docs co-ordinate, so I guess we'll just have to see. But the fear and sensation of being "trapped in the pain" is DEFINITELY a part of it.

Laurie
post #7 of 18
I've taken Zoloft for some pretty bad depression. It helped a lot. My sister has anxiety attacks - sometimes over things that most people would not consider "anxious-making". She takes ativan for that.

eta - I take Ativan to fly. Can't get on a plane without it! That's my only "anxiety"
post #8 of 18
I have severe panic disorder combined with chronic depression. PD diagnosed 8yrs ago, depression 20yrs ago.

When I first started having panic attacks, I did not know what was happening. It took about 6mos to finally diagnose PD, rather than heart problems or other health problems. It was not pleasant at all.

We played with meds for a while till we found one that worked. I was on a combo of Effexor and clonazepam. I am no longer on the effexor, 3yrs ago or so, my life was stable, my depression and PD stable and I no longer felt the need for the antidepressant. The withdrawl from Effexor is a totally different thread

I take clonazepam on an as needed basis, but a minimum of 2/day...can take up to 4 a day. It is quick acting, I feel the affects within 20-30mins.

I also went through some additional therepy for the PD, in which I was taught different ways to cope when I do have an attack. For example, even with severe attacks, I know that I am not dying (which is what I thought prior to diagnoses) and that it will peak and pass. I use deep breathing techniques, fish tanks and my pets to help cope....Now I can cope with them fairly well.

I spent alot of time researching different relaxing techniques, because although the meds work, there don't keep me from having the odd panic attack....

The meds work great for me. I suffer 1-2 full blown attacks per month, sometimes none....periods of stress, or new situations can trigger an attack. In my most recent case, a new med has increased my anxiety and gave me 2 full blown attacks on Sunday, back to back... something I have not had for about 3-4yrs. (if I have an attack it is usually mild, and not one after another) So I've had to increase my meds for now.

I tried many different meds in the beginning....zoloft, paxil, wellbutrin, lorazepam, ativan, prozac, and more. Some work for some people... I have heard that paxil is tolerated well and is one of the ones recommended for PD. Unfortunately my system is a little finicky when it comes to meds that affect brain chemistry

If you or he have any direct questions, I'd be happy to answer from my experiences.

ETA: clonazepam is aka Klonopin
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krazy kat2 View Post
I have tried many different antidepressants for panic attacks and depression, and have had the best success with St. John's Wort and Valerian Root from GNC. They do not work for everyone, but they worked wonders for me and I liked the fact that they were herbal extracts used for hundreds of years.
Whatever you do, I hope find something that helps.
Unfortunately, we already know he can't take St. John's Wort because of potential drug interaction problems. It can't hurt to ask about the valerian. He can take that safely. He's tried it for insomnia (in combination with melatonin and 5-HTP), and none of them - alone or in combination - have helped with that.

Laurie
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Yes, he lives with intense, all-the-time chronic pain. He's got a follow-up neuro appointment next week, but he's freaking out about making it to next week! (And his meds regime hasn't changed for several months now). And yes, Gary is VERY worried that "things" are just going wrong in his brain. But all his docs co-ordinate, so I guess we'll just have to see. But the fear and sensation of being "trapped in the pain" is DEFINITELY a part of it.
I'm not an emotional person at all, but knowing that he goes through that every single day makes me want to cry.

I hope his doctors can figure something out to help.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yeah, Gary's bain chemistry is totally screwed up. And he exhibits extreme sensitivity to some stuff, and no reaction to others. Right at the moment, he is a total medical mystery and is at one of the premier neuro centers in the U.S. His hypothalamus is totally dysfunctioning. The hypothalamus controls hunger, thirst, cyrcadian rhythm (sleep cycles), internal body temperature - it also is the link of the nervous system to the endocrine system (via the pituitary gland). I can't go into all the details here because it's a public board, and professionally in the past stuff I've posted here was used against us... but how sad for him if this is just another thing going wrong that there's nothing that can be done and they can't figure out. He already experiences these CRAZY fevers, where several times a week his temperature just starts heating up - it'll spike up to over 104, 105 degrees (and has been over 107 several times), and then come back down to his normal (which is around 97.2 - 97.6) over a couple of hours. The number of tests that have been run on him fills a notebook at this point.

Laurie
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Yeah, Gary's bain chemistry is totally screwed up. And he exhibits extreme sensitivity to some stuff, and no reaction to others. Right at the moment, he is a total medical mystery and is at one of the premier neuro centers in the U.S. His hypothalamus is totally dysfunctioning. The hypothalamus controls hunger, thirst, cyrcadian rhythm (sleep cycles), internal body temperature - it also is the link of the nervous system to the endocrine system (via the pituitary gland). I can't go into all the details here because it's a public board, and professionally in the past stuff I've posted here was used against us... but how sad for him if this is just another thing going wrong that there's nothing that can be done and they can't figure out. He already experiences these CRAZY fevers, where several times a week his temperature just starts heating up - it'll spike up to over 104, 105 degrees (and has been over 107 several times), and then come back down to his normal (which is around 97.2 - 97.6) over a couple of hours. The number of tests that have been run on him fills a notebook at this point.

Laurie
Saddly I can totally sympathasize with the bolded areas from personal experience.

Has any of the dr.'s thought about the temp increase being related to panic attacks?

The reason I ask is because when I have a full blown attack, my temp spikes...usually to about 103, a couple times slightly higher. My PA's peak at about 20mins, after that, my symptoms slowly start to resolve... bp returns to normal, heart rate, temp, sweating, thoughts, etc. all slowly return to my normals. Sometimes it is over and done with in 45mins, other times it is done in 90-120mins.

Anxiety and panic attacks can have a dramatic affect on a person, especially ones who experience bad attacks. I don't mean the sweat palms, very anxious type of anxiety attack... I mean a full blown heavy duty panic attack. Most people do not realise there is a major difference between the two.

I am glad Gary has you for support My husband was my best support.

ETA: elaborating on the med tolerance or intolerance. Certain meds I have an incredible tolerance to...like pain meds...(oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, etc) But meds that directly affect chemicals in the brain, I have an intolerance too. (hence my current difficulties on Champix)
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
That is so odd, Gary is the same way. He can totally tolerate pain meds, but almost everything else he seems to be extremely sensitive to.

But no, there's no relation between the panic attacks and the temp spikes. The temp spikes started last August, and the panic attacks started last Friday. And while he starts sweating like crazy (we haven't actually taken his temp), the symptoms are completely different than the temp events. Those start with uncontrollable shivering and shaking, and he just starts heating up - no sweating. That happens once he's really hot - but in the meantime, his extremeties (ears, nose, fingers) become white and REALLY cold.

The panic attack begins and he feels like he can't breathe, and he breaks out in a huge sweat. We were driving into NYC this morning, and we got stuck in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel and he started FREAKING. He almost got out of the car and walked. My heart is just breaking for him. This is SO the last thing in the world he needs.

That said.... the stress levels in our life have gone up 1000% the last two weeks, as we're totally back in business again. The pain and his medical condition totally interrupted work (we're partners), and he just made up his mind to plow through it (and got a reasonable med mix going and stable), and he's back to being on the phone about 10 - 12 hours a day - from like almost nothing for a while there. So I'm also sure the stress is contributing to it.



Laurie
post #14 of 18
I used to have them. I saw a psychiatrist, psychologist, a few doctors, and had therapy. They prescribed me 40mg Prozac (which I'm still on), 20mg amitriptyline (still on), and some tiny dose of lorazepam. Both therapy and medication has worked well for me.

ETA: It took about two years to correctly diagnose me.

I hope he starts feeling a bit better soon. Panic attacks are terrible.
post #15 of 18
I have mild-moderate panic attacks every few months. I've also been diagnosed with depression in the past. I'm on 20mg of Celexa a day and it does wonders. I was originally on Lexapro but it was so insanely expensive, and celexa is very similar in make up. Before getting on celexa I was having several panic attacks a week and it was terrible. One of the worst feelings ever! Best of luck to you and Gary and hope you find something that works for him!!!
post #16 of 18
I also suffer from panic attacks. I was on 20 mg celexa for almost a year, and it didn't seem to help much, but I figured it was a bit better than I had been and the best I could hope for. But I brought it up with my Dr about a month ago and he upped my Celexa to 40 mg and put me on 50 mg of Trazadone at night (it's a anti-anxiety med). It has turned my life around. I know every one has different body chemistry, what works for one doesn't always work for another. There has got to be something out there for Gary. that a Dr finds the key to unlock Gary's pain and anxiety.
post #17 of 18
Just a thought, but have you researched the side effects to the med's Gary is taking to see if panic attacks might be one of them? Sadly, some of the drugs that help us in one area, will totally screw us up on another.

I sympathize with the panic attacks, my DH has had severe panic attacks several times during our marriage, and it just about wrecked both our lives. His for going through it, and mine from exhaustion trying to support him through it while (1) a newlywed just moved to a different state with no friends or family around, and (2) my just having started a stressful new job. He also has OCD. Prozac helped him with the worst of the attacks, but he didn't like the side effects and got off it eventually.

You have my , both of you, for getting through all of this. I hope the doctors can find something to help soon.
post #18 of 18
I used to have quite severe panic attacks. My doctor put me on Zoloft for that and for while I was taking an anxiety medicine that I can't remember the name of. Big help, huh?
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