Extra Help for Panic Disorder
Recovering from panic attacks may include talking with support groups, family, friends, a therapist, or your doctor. In most cases of anxiety, heart palpitations and chest pains have nothing to do with heart disease. However, you may have difficulty completely eliminating this fear until you have had appropriate diagnostic tests. Family and friends who are willing to read information on panic disorder can help in many ways:
NATIONAL NETWORKS AND SUPPORT GROUPS
If you are fortunate, you will be able to find one or two people who will give you assistance. However, this is not necessary. Many people do fine on their own or working with a therapist. You may also be able to find a support group in your community. There are national networks, web sites, and books that can offer additional assistance:
Both antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are commonly used in the treatment of panic disorder. Antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil increase serotonin levels in your brain, which makes problems less likely to happen without preventing them entirely. In mild cases, the herb, Saint-John’s-Wort has been shown to relieve both depression and anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan may prevent panic attacks and keep you from learning how to refocus or float through reactions. Refocusing and floating actually desensitize anxiety triggers. However, medication can be an important part of treatment when:
If thoughts of panic or memories of some of your episodes are overwhelming, a therapist can help you reexperience and “work through” your anxiety in the office setting. This can give you the confidence to know that you can diminish anxiety on your own. By exploring your first, worst, and most recent panic attacks with a therapist, you may discover the origin of your problem and make real strides in changing your reactions. Therapists can also identify and treat any depression, obsession, or social phobia that is contributing to your problems.