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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi I am 53 and in a very stressfull job, in the past i have

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I am 53 and in a very stressfull job, in the past i have coped with this very well however in the last month i have been suffering panic attacks and anxiety attacks to the point were i cant communicate in meetings , i have also started twitching when people are looking at me , it is also a struggle to eat in public. I feel that my whole world is falling about me and that i am the laughing stock of the company.What can i do to get a grip with this problem?

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like you could be having a stress reaction to the pressures of your job.


Anxiety, panic attacks trouble eating in public and the twitching you described can sometimes start as a result of too much stress. The mind and body can handle a lot of stress, but over time a person's ability to cope can break down, especially when they have not had a break from the stress. A person can have a one time panic attack or a pattern can start of panic attacks occurring seemingly randomly.


What is important for you to do is take this problem one step at a time. Ruling out other causes of your symptoms is very important before you seek treatment for the anxiety. Sometimes medical conditions can mimic panic attacks. Possible medical issues are mitro valve prolapse, stimulant use such as too much caffeine, and hypoglycemia. Getting a through check up by your doctor can help rule out a physical cause.


If you are cleared physically, then it is important to see a therapist for a full evaluation. Any Master's level therapist can help you. Your doctor can help you with a referral or you can also search on line at You can also talk with your doctor about some short term medication such as Ativan or mild anti anxiety medication to help you cope with the symptoms until the therapy starts to help.


You can also start to help yourself right away by taking a break and removing some of the stress. If it is possible, take a break from work. A long weekend away, a massage, or another activity you find relaxing can help. Also, concentrate on your breathing and be sure you are taking regular breaths. It is very common when people are stressed that they shallow breathe, that is they take rapid, shallow breaths which can cause you to feel more anxious. If you focus on your breathing, you can help yourself relax and feel more in control


With therapy, anxiety and panic attacks have a very high cure rate. Often, within a few sessions people with panic and anxiety start to feel better. Therapy can teach you how to cope and help you learn techniques to reduce the anxiety and panic, such as relaxation. Cognative behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective therapy in treating anxiety. Also, consider self help. There are many resources that can help you get started. Here are a few I recommend:


The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Edmund J. Bourne


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus


From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

You can find these books at or your local library may have them for you.


Once you start to work on your anxiety and panic, you will find many ways to reduce and even eliminate these symptoms.


I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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