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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question
Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10566
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have been suffering panic attacks which is now causing me

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I have been suffering panic attacks which is now causing me to avoid any situation where I think it might occur again

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry that you have been suffering through these panic attacks, I can imagine how stressful that must be for you

DoctorZ :

You mentioned that you have tried cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for how long did you use CBT for? Did you to CBT by yourself or with a therapist? And also are you or have you tried any anti-anxiety medications?

Customer:

I have tried cognitive therapy online, I am currently on anti depressants and have been for some years but the panic attacks have just started out of the blue and I am unable to control them. I recently had a back operation and was on very strong medication, oxycontin which I came off around 9 days ago.

DoctorZ :

Okay, CBT therapy online is not the most effective because actually if you see a CBT therapist in person then you can get exposure therapy where you are gradually exposed to your panic attack triggers until it does not effect you to the degree to cause panic. Also while some antidepressants are good for anxiety, but for panic attacks I would recommend a temporary use of benzodiazepines (e.g. xanaxa, klonopin, or ativan)

Customer:

The doctor has given me valium which calms me down but just knocks me out, is this different to benzo's

DoctorZ :

This is a benzodiazepine, but it may not be the right kind for you the other three benzodiazepines are better for panic attacks because they are more fast acting.

Customer:

ok how long will they take to work, I am not at work at the moment because I keep having panic attacks and going home

DoctorZ :

The xanax and ativan work within a couple hours after their use, but will leave your system fast too. The klonopin also works that fast and stays in your system longer

DoctorZ :

Also have you ever practived progressive muscle relaxation, this is a good prevention technique for panic attacks

Customer:

yes I have

DoctorZ :

Oh okay, I just wanted to offer it. What about EMDR? It has been used for trauma and PTSD in the past, but is now shown to be effective for panic attacks

Customer:

no what is that

DoctorZ :

It is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). So far recent studies have shown it to be effective to help treat panic attacks and minimize them. The research is not as solid as it is with CBT, but it looks promising. Here are a couple books that describe it in more detail for you

Customer:

ok

DoctorZ :

Like I said it was designed for trauma victims first, but since panic attacks are common with individuals diagnosed with PTSD, they have been using on individuals with panic attacks with great success.

DoctorZ :

Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Customer:

No thankyou. I will have a look at these. Thanks for your help.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I hope you get relief with the medication and therapy. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

ok thanks

DoctorZ :

You are most welcome. Best of luck to you :)

Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you