Severe panic disorder help / advice please!

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hello folks, I am a newbie here and wondered if anyone has similar symptoms to me or am I just going mad?

Basically, I have been suffering Panic Attacks on and off for almost 35 years. My doctor, who is a lovely guy, is convinced I am BiPolar, but I have never ever suffered from depression, nor am I ever manic. I have been on 150 mg of Venlafaxine daily for over 5 years and I am certainly reliant on it, as found out last year when I forgot to take it for two days!!! I won't do that again!!

Anyway, my symptoms are straightforward, I will suddenly and for no reason take a severe panic attack, will all the associated symptoms. After a while ranging from minutes to hours I get my panic under control, but then spend the next weeks and months in a very fragile mental state worrying when the next one will hit!

My latest episode was around one month ago and I can't seem to shake off the ripples of panic that are there, worrying about the next biggie!

As if that's not bad enough, I have developed cricopharyngeal spasm to worry about......

So my question is whether anyone out there recognises my symptoms, can anyone suggest better meds or treatment or am I just bonkers!

Thanks for reading anyway......

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14 Replies

  • Posted


    Sorry to hear your not to good with panic attacks,horrible I have them don't really know any tips except I

    just try to take deep breaths which why you are concentrating on the breathing seems to help. but as for meds, I won't take them so pat on the back for taking them.But just try and ho with them don't fight them had as many say nobody has ever died from a panic attack. i have them I wake in the morning wondering how to get through the day but some how we do. Keep posting on here it does help to know you are not alone. if you ever want to pm me feel free.Good Luck

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  • Posted

    I think you have classic Anxiety GAD. Stay clear of meds if you can, it numbs it, but one day you are going to have to get off the meds and that's hell, BEEN THERE.

    The only reason you are having Panic attacks now is because you are thinking, why have i not had one and then you have one. Your body does this on its own.

    I have had all the above+ more, but not the Spasm things.

    Dont research your condition on Doctor Google, I started developing symptoms I never had once I read about them!!! How bonkers was that!!!

    Your only worry now, is the worry of your next panic, this is the cycle which needs breaking.

    Forget about it as much as you can, live your life as normal as possible, no matter how you feel and remember you are not Ill, you dont have an illness, you are worried and your body reacts as it should when you are worried. It shakes, it produces adrenaline and you feel you need to run. But you are only worried about about worring about been worried, how daft is that!!!!

    If you were ill, you would feel ill all the time, not just when you think about panicing!!

    Hope it sorts its self out. John

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  • Posted

    Hi PB, you describe my experience almost exactly. I've had this for at least 25 years.

    I'm just recovering from an episode that began just over 2 weeks ago. Each time they happen the latest seems more unendurable than the last. Like you I have come to dread the next. I've finally come to accept I'm predisposed to this blight and other crisis are inevitable. No amount of possetive thinking is going to change that.

    I'm diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, (sometimes called Free floating anxiety). When you research it, it hits the spot. It's only my desperation during my last attack that forced me to find out the true defenitions of this disorder. Finally I found rational explanation for events that had defied me before I got on the net at the same time.

    Unfortunately it's not going to go away permanently.

    BUT. Like me you will have realised these crisis do pass. That is my key for survival.

    A recent development has been being put on Pregabalin for another condition. I had realised this was helping stabalise my anxiety; this was confirmed at a periodic meeting with my 'shrink'.

    So, when I went 'ape' this last time I could tell when this Pregabalin was waring off. I had the presence of mind to phone my 'shrink' who fortunately agreed and increased the dose. Vertualy overnight (a couple of days) I was almost back to 'normal'. The only side effect being a low tone headache, which is a tolerable exchange of symptoms.

    I don't know how you feel about my comments, but if you want a private 'conversation' then use the orange 'message' button under my name.

    Whatever happens, you have my best wishes.

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  • Posted

    Hi, mr MODERATOR, what's going on with your interventions on this post? As far as I can tell, I haven't transgressed the guidelines I've been given.
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  • Posted

    Hi Alex,

    We have changed some of the behind the scenes rules in order to try and cut down on spam posts getting through so your posts and the one above were caught by these new rules. We will tailor the rules if they are causing too many genuine posts from getting reported.



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  • Posted

    Alex, John and Joan,

    Thanks for your kind replies. In the nicest possible way its good to know I'm not alone!

    My triggers are very straightforward, I worry far too much about my health. In 1985 I wound up in hospital on oxygen due to a chest infection. Since then any form of respiratory problem brings me to a quivering wreck. This latest episode started because my family took a head cold and of course as predicted I have it now too. I only have a head cold, but even the notion that I may not be able to breath properly has me on my knees.

    Regarding Meds, Im on Effexor (Venlafaxine) and in general it has been good at keeping my Seratonin levels up to I worry less about things. The only problem with it is I have become VERY dependant upon it. To miss even one day is bad, the side effects of missing out just one dose are really grim. I have spoken to my Doc about this and he is of the opinion that if the meds are helping most of the time, then I must not come off them. The other small trick I have is the Doc has given me some Oxazepam 10mg and when Im really in the brown stuff, he gets me to take 3 per day for 3 days only. Its amazing how the severest of attacks has the edge taken off it this way. That allows me to take charge of my symptoms quicker and gets me a good sleep for the three days.

    I very much appreciate that Meds are not really the way to deal with things, but I've become used to them and they do work for me a lot of the time anyway. eek

    I hope we all feel better soon, please keep in touch guys..... Thanks...

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  • Posted

    Peebee you sound the exact replica of me! After reading alex and John's post's I couldn't have said it better myself. Unfortunately I think that we are doomed to live this diagnosis out without being able to completely end it. But, I have found that the medicine along with the support of people and places such as this helps tremendously. I know that my family who doesn't quite understand what the symptoms of a panic attack entail are probably tired of seeing and hearing about me going through these.But for those who do understand, we willingly want to support each other because we know what its like. Sometimes I wonder do those around me (family) able to see on the "outside" of us what we are actually going through on the inside. For anyone who wants to contact me, you can message me. We all need good support systems smile

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  • Posted

    Hi again.

    I've had other 'outside' setbacks since my last post to scare the bejesus out of me and the Lyrica/Pregabalin is definitely helping me cope.

    I don't think anyone who hasn't had panic attacks will ever know what it's like. Someone recently blithly commented here that 'panic attacks never killed anyone'. Yea, right!

    I share lawalsh's views on this topic. I don't think this problem ever goes away for good. My episodes often come out of the blue, with no warning, after long periods without a problem. Then BANG.

    The sooner this predisposition is accepted and that it's changed your life, the better. Panic attacks DO PASS. But they can be so frightening it can take time to get over them.

    If you truly suffer from GAD panic attacks, then whatever 'solutions' you find, it will only be the next one that will convince you.

    I'm getting a lot of self delusional comfort from finding out about Quantum Field Consciousness; but hey, that floats MY boat LOL.

    All have a long and happy life.


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  • Posted

    Hi, I'm just wondering if you've tried propranolol?

    I have just started taking venlafaxine 3 weeks ago but it didn't help with the reoccurring panic attacks or the insomnia so my doctor put me on Propranolol and it takes all the physical sides away from a panic attack, now in all fairness you will still have the mental side to deal with, then i would ask if you've tried CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) I'm due to start mine in the 26th and am praying it works for me as in starting to feel the meds aren't working even though i know they are still only just getting in my system, i am well aware its all in my head.

    just a suggestion, apparently its well known that venlafaxine and Propranolol work very well together.

    Unfortunately still not managed to solve the insomnia, just got to hope its the meds settling in and this side effect will go away or ease, either that or I'm just going to go crazy, don't know which yet.

    Anyway i hope this helps.


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  • Posted

    There is a great cd from a mrs doctor. She explains everything your symptos what causes them and how to deal with them I suffered for a long time with panic attacks this dr changed my liife.I played it every day so I knew every word of it. If you can't get it from your gp it's on line. Hope it helps
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  • Posted

    Hi Peebee.  I suffered from panic attacks from the age of 15 until now, 42.  I went through a phase of them being really bad then they went away a bit and then returned with a bang when I had a really stressful job.  I tried a couple of counsellors, medication and a hypnotherapist without much success and thought that I just had to live with the panic, ever vigilant, for the rest of my life.  Then when doing some more research I found out about EMDR.  I thought that I had figured out why I had panic attacks (through councelling) but it wasn't until I found a great therapist that we worked out that I hadn't processed something that happened to me as a teenager.  After four sessions I feel so much better, I've been able to do things I couldn't for years, so like anyone that has found something that works for them, I just wanted to share it with someone who is in the same place that I was.  Try Googling EMDR if you're not familiar with it and see if it's something that would work for you.  But whatever you decide to do, I would recommend seeing a counsellor or therapist as they are trained to help you and it can be good to talk it over with someone who has seen it all before, but don't be afraid to go to a few different ones until you find someone you connect with.  I hope this helps a bit.
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  • Posted

    It's a year later and hope you are better.I am identical to you,have had panic disorder for 40 years,it is NOT Generalized anxiety disorder as someone else said.Researchers have now discovered a physical cause in the brain stem.I took Tofranil for years and it blocked all attacks but Novartis have stopped making it so am trying to find something else that works.
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  • Posted

    I do not know what or why you are having these attacks. I am experiencing something similar. I do not what to do. I have spoken with 2 different doctors, no one is interested. 

    My my heart is bounding...I am getting a constant rush of adrenaline and I am sitting resting. I have no stress in my life. 

    I just want want you to know your not alone. 

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