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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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Anxiety attacks and back pain

Resolved Question:

I take lexapro but still have massive panic attachs on a regular basis. I try to meditate as often as I can, but that doesn't seem to work. Additionally, I had sustained an injury to my back and was prescribed soma 350mg. My doctor use to prescribe vicotin as well as hydrocodone for my back. The vicodin was for my anxiety. If there anything that could be done to get me to that level of calmness anymore? In fact, I used to use the Soma to help me sleep, so when I was given Ambien they worked wonders. I always make sure I get my blood drawn every year to make sure my kidneys and liver are not being effected. Any recommendation? I just started a new job and the stress is unbearable. I need a doctor who will help me and not judge me.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

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


Are you looking for more medication options or other treatment options?


Thank you,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No, I'm actually looking for the same treatment option that I had before...just short term. I just didn't want to go to a doctor who would judge me or tell me how I "really" feel.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the information.


There are a couple of options for you. One is medication, which can help in the short term. Medication is great for helping you cope with the symptoms until other treatment can start to help. Medication is very helpful if you are feeling that your anxiety and panic are interfering with your ability to function in daily life. And it sounds like that is what is going on in your case.


The second option is therapy and self help, both of which are very effective in treating anxiety.

Getting your symptoms to a manageable level so you can get treatment to reduce or eliminate your anxiety is vital. If you feel you cannot function, then any other treatment options won't help.

Whenever medications are used for treatment, it is very common for people to need to try at least one or two different medications or more before finding one that helps. This is because everyone's body chemistry is different. So if one medication works for one person, it may not work for another or it might even cause adverse side effects. So don't be discouraged. You will find the right medication for you.

Here are some of the more common medications for anxiety:
Xanax (alprazolam)
Klonopin (clonazepam)
Valium (diazepam)
Ativan (lorazepam)

These medications are known as tranquilizers. They help to slow down your system and help produce a calming effect.They are also fast acting. As a result, they are very popular and often the first line of medications tried for someone with anxiety disorder. But they do have unwanted side effects such as slowing down reflexes and thinking ability, making a person feel foggy or even drunk. This can impair a person's ability to function in such situations as driving.

Anti depressants can also be used for anxiety disorders. Prozac, the one you are taking now, is an example of an anti depressant. Others include Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. These work by regulating serotonin levels in the brain to elevate mood. They can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to establish full effect in the blood. Side effects include nausea, sleepiness and weight gain. Withdrawal is also an issue, requiring a doctor's supervision.

Another possible mediation is Buspar. It also works to increase serotonin in the brain like anti depressants do. It takes up to 2 weeks to work. But it has less of a sedating effect than other mediations. It also has low risk of dependence.

Once you establish a mediation that works, therapy and self help is essential in overcoming anxiety. Individual outpatient therapy, support groups, learning about anxiety and self help all can help you recover.


It sounds like you are having panic attacks and may have a panic disorder. When you have anxiety and panic, it helps to understand why anxiety occurs. When you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes the symptoms you feel, including the panic attacks. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel.

It may not feel like it, but the panic does subside. The adrenaline in your system does deplete and needs time to replenish. But because your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This may be why you always feel anxious and panicky.

The good news is that anxiety is easy to treat with therapy. In therapy, you learn to pay attention to what you are thinking to make yourself anxious. The therapist then can help you change your thoughts and therefore how your body reacts to your thoughts. You also can learn about how to let yourself float through your anxiety thereby gaining more control over how you feel. When a panic attack comes on, you allow it to flow over you without tensing or panicking in response, much like the meditation you used before. This makes the panic reduce or go away faster. To find a therapist, talk to your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line at

You can also help yourself at home. There are numerous resources to help you learn more about anxiety and how to control your panic. Here are some to get you started:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

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 on or your local library may have them for you

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I live in Columbia, md. Would you be able to recommend a doctor ?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Are you looking for a doctor as in a psychiatrist or a therapist? Or a regular doctor?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
A doctor who could address the issues that I'm going through
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

Here are some to consider:


Thomas Curran Cimonetti, MD
9437 Penfield Road North
Columbia, MD


Lawrence R. Hyman, MD
11055 Little Patuxent Parkway Suite 20
Columbia, MD


Terrye Ann Marie Mowatt, MD
500 North Rolling Road
Catonsville, MD




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