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Nancy
Nancy, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 746
Experience:  ABD for a PhD in Psychology, Psychotherapist for over 20 years
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I have been to several doctors and told all is normal w/me

Customer Question

I have been to several doctors and told all is normal w/me but I have been having severe panic attacks and am CONVINCED the drs have missed something. I don't know what to do. How can I really be sure nothing is wrong? I am frightened all the time now that something is wrong and not being treated.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Nancy replied 7 years ago.

Hi,

 

Thanks so much for writing.

 

There IS something wrong... you just said it - you are having severe panic attacks - that is a diagnosable and treatable condition.

 

You'll want to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation to make sure that's all it is - he/she will give you a prescription for medication and you should start to feel better soon.

 

the symptoms of a panic attack appear suddenly, without any apparent cause. They may include

A panic attack typically lasts for several minutes, is one of the most distressing conditions that a person can experience, and its symptoms can closely mimic those of a heart attack. Typically, most people who have one attack will have others, and when someone has repeated attacks with no other apparent physical or emotional cause, or feels severe anxiety about having another attack, he or she is said to have panic disorder. A number of other emotional problems can have panic attacks as a symptom. Some of these illnesses include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and intoxication or withdrawal from certain drugs of abuse .

Anxiety attacks that take place while sleeping, also called nocturnal panic attacks, occur less often than do panic attacks during the daytime, but affect about 40%-70% of those who suffer from daytime panic attacks. Nocturnal panic attacks tend to cause sufferers to wake suddenly from sleep in a state of sudden anxiety for no apparent reason and can have all the other symptoms of a panic attack. The duration of nocturnal panic attacks tends to be less than 10 minutes, but it can take much longer to fully calm down for those who experience them.

 

What are panic attacks?

 

Panic attacks may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder. These attacks are a serious health problem in the U.S. At least 1.7% of adult Americans, or about 3 million people, will have panic attacks at some time in their lives, with the peak age at which people have their first panic attack (onset) being 15 to 19 years. Another fact about panic is that this symptom is strikingly different from other types of anxiety; panic attacks are so very sudden and often unexpected, appear to be unprovoked, and are often disabling.

Once someone has had a panic attack, for example, while driving, shopping in a crowded store, or riding in an elevator, he or she may develop irrational fears, called phobias, about these situations and begin to avoid them. Eventually, the pattern of avoidance and level of anxiety about another attack may reach the point where the mere idea of doing things that preceded the first panic attack triggers future panic attacks, resulting in the individual with panic disorder being unable to drive or even step out of the house. At this stage, the person is said to have panic disorder with agoraphobia. Thus, there are two types of panic disorder: panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. Like other major illnesses, panic disorder can have a serious impact on a person's daily life unless the individual receives effective treatment.

 

Panic attacks in children may result in the child's grades declining, avoiding school and other separations from parents, as well as substance abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, plans, and/or actions.

 

Nancy

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