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Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Intensivist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2785
Experience:  MBBS, MD, MCCM.Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
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Anxiety attacks all summer. What do I do?

Customer Question

I have been having anxiety attacks all summer. Doctor prescribed Xanax which works but knocks me out. He then put me on Lexapro which is making me horribly edgy, cold sweats and horribly nauseous. I have had a lot on personally but I’ve gotten past it but can’t stop the attacks. What do I do now? I am at the end of my rope.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 2 months ago.
Now anxiety attacks like the ones you are having are difficult to control only with medication. However if Xanax, Lexapro are not working effectively then there are various other options which can be tried to control the anxiety.
Lorazepam - this is a shorter acting benzodiazepine which shouldn't last as long as Xanax and could be more effective in controlling anxiety without knocking you out.
Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac - all of these can be tried to control the anxiety. In some patients a change in the anti depressant can help in controlling anxiety and also improving side effects. You can ask your doctor to consider trying one of these drugs.
Buspirone - this is another option to be considered when other drugs are not effective.
Now apart from drug therapy, it is extremely important that you also be started on psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety. CBT includes exposure therapy, in which you gradually encounter the object or situation that triggers your anxiety so you build confidence that you can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms. This form of therapy has been found to be extremely effective in most patients. In addition there are other forms of therapy which can be tried as well.
So in short your current therapy is not effective, Xanax is a short term solution. In fact all benzodiazepines are short term solutions and have the side effect of being addictive too. That is why I believe you should be shifted onto another drug like celexa for example and be started on CBT as well. The CBT should be able to control your attacks. What you can try at home is meditation, relaxing baths, yoga (all these have shown to decreased frequency of anxiety attacks), but do talk to your doctor about CBT.

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