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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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Im a 25 year old male whom lives in australia. Ive been suffering

Customer Question

I'm a 25 year old male whom lives in australia. I've been suffering with anxiety for 3 years now, ever since I had a huge panic attack ( unsure at the time ) at my gym. I went to the hospital which they could not find anything wrong with me. My anxiety became more frequent and I saw my local doctor who thought I was suffering from anxiety and put me on a drug called Luvox - I think another name is XXXXX XXXXX take 1 tablet per day, and have ever since. Initially ( a couple weeks later ) the medication helped and each week got better and better. Lately, I'm not so sure.
In the meantime I have been drinking heavily - and gambling heavily. I met my current partner Nora ( 47 years old ) 4 years ago. She is originally from singapore and hasn't worked before, nor probably has the ability. She is supported by her ex husband, well was until made his final settlement a few months ago of $200,000. That took me 4 weeks to spend at the casino. Along with the $15,000 monthly payments for the previous 4 years. Nora is probably also an alcoholic and suffers also from anxiety on a level much equal to my own. She handles her anxiety with alcohol, as I do, i suppose.
She has a 19 year old daughter who moved out to go play college tennis in hawaii last year.
Since this we had to move out of the house we were living and move in with my mum. due to financial reasons.
My mum is an alcoholic who tries to detox a few times each year for a few months.
I decided to detox on the 2nd of january. ( 21 days ago )
For the first week mum gave me Valium - I took 1-2 a day. the second week I actually felt fine and thought my detox was complete. All i was taking was my usual Luvox tablets. The 3rd week Symptoms are bad, especially my sleep. I have strange dreams, nightmares, insomnia, irregular sleeping patterns. Also feel very anxiety all the time. Sometime struggle to breath. I feel easy irritated, stressed, and very paranoid! I have what looks like eczema on my hands that comes and goes ( for the past week ) which my paranoia leads my to think I have HIV. ( went to thailand and had unsafe sex about 5 months ago with one girl. stupid ) I feel tired a lot of the day, not so much at night.
Ive had a few headaches last week, which i took mersyndol for them, they seemed to relax me a little more than fix the headaches. My neck is also stiff and upper back ive been seeing a chiropractor for the past couple weeks for.
I check my heart rate - pulse quite a lot and body tempreture. They seem to be quite normal most of the time.
Also I feel really hungry sometimes, feel like i desperately need to eat or have sugar, and other times have no appetite at all.
I've noticed since I've had anxiety - I VERY RARELY get sick though - such as the flu. Whereas Before i suffered from anxiety i used to have the flu atleast 3 -5 times a year.
I grew up stressed with handling mums alcoholic problem along with my brother. She was aggressive towards people, boyfriends etc when he drank. Dad left when we were 3.
Anyway. Mum usually finds she can detox without withdrawal symptoms in 2-3 days. ( shes been drinking for 20 years. ) Its my 21st day today and i'm still struggling, my anxiety seems to be getting worse.
I want to get healthy and productive again. I was a tennis player growing up - very fit, I went for a light jog the other day and struggled to make the 5 minute mark.
I haven't gambled in a month and want to leave that behind me.
I haven't worked in 4 years, havent needed too. I need to now but my anxiety is sometimes as bad as i don't feel like leaving the house.
I know I have written a lot but just don't know what to do! My anxiety seems to be affecting my life so much!
A very worried, Michael. :(
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Sarah replied 6 years ago.

Hi Michael,


Thanks for your question. many of your symptoms sound as if they are linked to your panic attacks and I would like to offer a way forward for you, although they will take some effort on your own part. I would suggest that you consider how much support you feel you have from your partner before you decide to finish the relationship - if you are supporting each other, it may not be a good time.


OK, so what do I think is happening here? We normally process away our daily stress through our dreams, during REM sleep - Rapid Eye Movement sleep. What can happen if the anxieties are too strong to process, is that the brain awakens and you notice the nightmares. The anxieties that you may be trying to process away during your sleep could be memories from your childhood, when you were a small helpless child in the care of an alcoholic mother. Without being judgemental towards you mum, who obviously had her own stuff going on, that's a scary place for child to be. We can only hold such emotional memories in our subconscious mind for so long until they start to knock on the door of consciousness, causing symptoms of anxiety and stress, in order to be heard. So what can you do about this? I suggest that you see an EMDR therapist, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. The therapist encourages you to face your memories in a supportive and careful way, processing them away as we do naturally at night time using a simulation of Rapid Eye Movement (REM). You can find more information and a therapist local to you at When the memories are gone, the anxiety symptoms should go and you can see which of your symptoms, if any, are left. You may even find that you don't need your tablets, but you must always consult your doctor before you change your does. I do hope this is helpful, please press accept if this is valuable information for you. With Best Wishes, Sarah

Sarah and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Can you recommend any places in Australia for EMDR. Preferably Brisbane, Australia. :)
Expert:  Sarah replied 6 years ago.
Hi there,

You could try this site There are a few therapists you can choose from if you choose Brisbane North and EMDR for the type of therapy. Hope this works out for you, Best Wishes, Sarah