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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32265
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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I have been having severe panic attacks for several months.

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I have been having severe panic attacks for several months. It wakes me up at night and I find myself getting very little sleep as a result.
Hi--is this only a night time occurrence and why haven't you seen a doctor about it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

it is more frequent in the late afternoon and evenings when im done working and my mind has a chance to slow down. then I start stressing and it builds up throughout the night. I guess I'm going to bed in this state and then I sit up wide awake after being asleep awhile full of fear and anxiety.

I havent seen a doctor because I thought I could just calm myself down on my own. I'm a believer in psoitive thought and meditation but so far I haven't been able to help myself.

I work long hours and can't afford to take off to go see a doctor so thats why I'm trying to get some info from you

OK--then please describe in full one of these attacks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I've had a stressful lifesyle the past few years. I work as a civilian for the military and I deploy to Afghanistan on a regular basis. I have a wife who has been battleing breast cancer and two young boys who I miss so much when I'm gone. I stress over my oldest sons health and weight and over my wifes health issues and just about being in the hostile environment in Afghanistan and away from my family.

I am home in the USA now and have been since late April when I had to have cervicle spine surgery for ruptured discs.

Needless to say, all these things build up in me and are causing great anxiety.

I toss and turn in bed for an hour or so befor I fall asleep but it seems I sit up fully awake withing an hour like I'm waking up from a nightmare, full of fear. My mind is racing about all my worries and what if's than could happen. My wife's cancer and my childs weight issues weigh heavily on my mind and I can shut off the thoughts no matter what I do.

I'll get out of bed, go in the living room and turn on the tv trying to stop thinking about all these things. Usually after a couple hours I'm so sleepy I can fall back to sleep but by this time it's 2am and I get up at 4am to get ready for work.

I'm exhausted and not sure how much longer I can deal with this. Honestly I feel like I'm about to break down. All I can do is pray and occasionally I'll wake up my wife just so I can talk to her about how I'm feeling but I know she needs her sleep too

OK--and this also happens in exactly the same way during the day?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes during the day as well but I'm working during the day so being busy and needing to be mentally and physically available to my coworkers allows me to ward off the attacks somwhat. The fear and anxiety is there but not as severe because I have to occupy my thoughts with the matters at hand being my job

OK, and we can continue after this if you'd like. It really would be best for you to get therapy from a psychiatrist and there is medication that can be effective for panic attacks like Zoloft or Wellbutrin. In lieu of that, you could try St John's wort as a nonprescription alternative and that might help. You might also consider acupuncture and hypnosis therapy as adjuncts to help also
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