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Panic attacks at my ends here!!!

Jul 23, 2003

Over the past year and half I have become stricken with panic attacks. At first they started as feeling uneasiness and progressed to unbearable chest pains. My HIV Dr. put me in the hospital several times and ran all the test on my heart including a Angioplasties (hope I spelled that correct). All came out normal so I was put on lorazepam 2mg three times a day when needed. Which I have been taking for over a year now. I am diagnosed with ITP and my HIV status is under control. I was told to see a Mental health specialist who after several months told me that he could not help me as he did not have the background in my disorder but he would not tell me what my disorder was, he suggest I seek somebody else but would not suggest anyone.

My case has degenerated. I have trouble leaving the house now; when I do, I have such bad attacks. I am a basket case now; I do not even go to the door when somebody knocks. I find myself Hiding on the basement stairway and do not know why. I have become so dependent on my partner, I can only go out with him or I cannot go out at all. I know this is all in my head and spend many hours a week crying over it and telling myself to stop being so stupid and just get on with it. I am at my ends here, I really do not know how much more of this I can endure. My life is no longer my life. I am not the person I used to be and I so badly want that person back.

PLEASE if you have any advise that could help me, I would be so grateful.

Thank you,

Response from Dr. Horwath

You have panic disorder, which has now developed into agoraphobia (fear of going out alone) as well.

Excellent treatments are available. You need to get to a psychiatrist. The SSRIs (a class of antidepressants) are extremely effective medical treatments of this disorder. These medications include sertraline, fluoxetine and paroxetine. They are very safe and well tolerated and should help you with the panic attacks.

In order to get control of your agoraphobia, you may need to find someone with experience in cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders. What would be helpful is a treatment known as sytematic desensitization, which would help you to gradually face and overcome the fear of going outside. This is sometimes augmented with various types of relaxation training, which help you to master your anxiety.

Good luck! This is treatable!

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