Good evening and thanks for writing to JA.
I'm glad your physician has started you on Paxil, which is a form of a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are generally considered the “drug-of-choice” when treating anxiety disorders, including anxiety or panic attacks. I would suggest that you might want to consider a non-pharmaceutical treatment that has been found to be as effective (and in some cases MORE effective) than medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very specialized form of treatment that is provided by a Psychologist, Counselor, or Social Worker with specific training in CBT. Unlike traditional "talk therapy," in which a patient may stumble upon a cure once s/he gains enough insight into their problems, CBT uses specific strategies and methods to change thoughts/feelings (cognitions) and actions (behaviors) that lead to the disorder
I would strongly urge you to speak to your physician about your plan to see a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist who can provide CBT to you to address your anxiety or panic attacks. Make sure your physician is willing/able to team with the mental health professional providing the treatment. As you experience changes that may well happen after you commence CBT, the physician will need to be made aware of this, in the event that medications may need to be changed.
When searching for your mental health therapist (again Psychologist, Counselor, or Social Worker) is would be very specific about your needs. Ask them if they employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Have they ever worked with someone with anxiety disorders, specifically panic attacks? You might have to do a little "shopping around," but it's OK for you to be demanding about your health care! YOU DESERVE IT.
(CBT will also be effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety or, frankly, almost any form of anxiety – provided you are willing to work hard, apply yourself, and follow the treatment protocols.)
Finally, you should know that, of all the mental diseases, anxiety and depression are among the most successfully treated. And among anxiety disorders, panic attacks are among the most successfully treated using CBT! You have a great deal to be hopeful about! I hope you are successful in finding a qualified CBT therapist to address your concerns.
Thanks. I hope this was helpful. Please click ACCEPT unless you have other questions or concerns.