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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Greetings, This is just a brief overview of what has happened

Resolved Question:

Greetings,

This is just a brief overview of what has happened in my life over the past year to try and give some details...

My grandmother passed away almost a year ago and shortly after my aunt died of alcoholism. I believe these are the causes of some of my "mental issues".

Firstly, I have been flying all of my life. I was practically an airport expert by the age of 14, so flying never really bothered me until recently. I started having a panic attack and felt like I was going to throw up on one of my flights, both times. Also, since I have recognized the "panic attack" signs such as increased heart rate, sweaty palms, etc. I start 'future tripping' and freak out about panic attacks.

The strangest new development has been going to a movie theater. Like flying, I was an avid 'theater goer'. And, recently, I went to a movie theater and began to feel my hands get 'clamy' then my heart rate would increase. Now, every time I go to a movie I start having mild anxiety, but I end up calming myself down.

I guess I want to know why this is happening? Those are the 2 largest 'panic buttons' I have noticed, but other things trigger mild anxiety that never used to until this past year which has been extremely stressful.

Also, how do I fix this? There has to be a way to stop being anxious and stop sweating the small stuff...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,

I'm Alicia, thanks for your question. I'm happy to help you today.

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother and your aunt in such a short time period. These losses can certainly have an impact on your symptoms, especially if you had a very close relationship and/or you feel like you haven't been able to fully grieve the losses. However, regarding the panic attacks - and it does sound like your symptoms are consistent with a diagnosis of panic disorder - I would urge you to consult a licensed mental health professional to discuss diagnosis and treatment options, as we cannot provide specific diagnostic information here, especially since we are not able to have an in-person evaluation.

Panic disorder (characterized by the presence of panic attacks) can seem to occur from "out of the blue" - researchers don't entirely understand what causes it, but it's believed to occur in part due to genetics, stress (in your case, the loss of your aunt and grandmother), and certain changes in brain functioning. The main feature of a panic attack is that your body responds to certain stimuli (being in a movie theater or flying, which is something you would think would NOT be a trigger since you're so experienced in the air) as though you're in a life or death situation - even when there's no real apparent threat at all. So you experience symptoms like you've described and you might even feel like you're going to die at that moment, because you can't control what's happening to you.

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can be treated in a number of ways - most commonly with medication and/or psychotherapy. Because of space limitations here, I'm going to provide you with a few links from the Mayo Clinic that will explain about treatments and steps you can take to reduce your symptoms.
Treatments and medication:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/panic-attacks/DS00338/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
Alternative medicine and holistic remedies:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/panic-attacks/DS00338/DSECTION=alternative-medicine
Steps you can take to help your symptoms:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/panic-attacks/DS00338/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies

You should consult a licensed mental health professional as soon as you can, because there may be other underlying factors going on, and it's important that you don't try to self-diagnose your symptoms. However, if you are interested in more self-help techniques, you should also get a copy of this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Phobia-Workbook-Edmund-Bourne/dp/1572248912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338197427&sr=8-1

I hope that helps. Best of luck.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 629
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
Alicia_MSW and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much! I will look into the book and other links. I truly appreciate your help! :)

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