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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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On Tuesday I experienced a full panic attack. I have not had

Customer Question

On Tuesday I experienced a full blown panic attack. I have not had a panic attack in over 3 years. This was full blown and terrifying. I barely made it home. The next day while driving to work I had another panic attack and had to have my husband come get me, and bring me to the emergency room. I had a EKG, and full blood work done and Im healthy according to them. I have tried 3 times now to drive and everytime I have a full blown attack and have to have someone come and get me. I literally freeze and cant do anything. The attacks are the worst I have ever had. My heart pounds, I get insanely dizzy, tight chest, cant breathe. I mean its just so bad.Why am I having these episodes out of nowhere?? I dont understand why this is happening to me. My life on monday was just fine, and ever since Tuesday its taken a complete 360 and I feel hopeless.I also was given ativan. I take a half of a .5mg and it doesnt seem to do anything for me. Please help me, I feel so hopeless
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. I am very sorry that you are struggling with these panic attacks, I can understand how distressing this can be for you. Given that you have a history of anxiety and panic attacks, anything can re-trigger them in the future, so you are inherently predisposed to relapses and recurrences of your anxiety and panic unfortunately. Why you are having panic attacks right now could be because something triggered them or it could be idiopathic where the reason for the panic attacks is unknown. Given that .25mg of Ativan is a very low dose, I would recommend that you speak to your doctor about increasing your dose to either .5mg or 1mg to help prevent and stop these panic attacks. In addition, you can consider taking a SSRI antidepressant like Lexapro, Zoloft, or Paxil along with the Ativan to treat this Panic Disorder. Also it may be beneficial to enter into therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Mindfulness Therapy to help you learn proper coping strategies to manage your anxiety and panic for the long-term.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a script for .5mg at home but have been cutting them in half. Do you think I should take the whole thing? I dont think the .25 is doing anything and it certainly isnt stopping the panic attacks. Also why would I be only having them when driving? I have had a lot on my plate and have felt worn thin for the last few months. I just really feel like I cant cope at this point
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

If the .25mg is not very effective than yes you should consider taking the full .5mg of the Ativan. I cannot tell you exactly why they are happening while you are driving, as it would take at least a few therapy sessions to really understand your psyche and the pathology of these panic attacks, but in most cases (around 60 percent) the reason and trigger for the panic attacks are unknown which may be the case for you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I have a good chance of getting better? I am seeing a therapist and Dr on Monday. I feel so hopeless and terrified I will never be able to drive or leave my home again
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

You definitely have a good chance of overcoming these panic attacks. I would recommend increasing the dose of the Ativan so that you can hasten your treatment because Ativan works very fast and once you reach a good dose your panic attacks will lessen significantly.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Last question. Is this sort of thing common to happen? I mean Panic coming back after so long and being completely debilitating
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Panic Attacks are typically debilitating for most people and unfortunately if you have experienced panic attacks in the past then you are predisposed for them to come back at anytime in the future.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
could this be a side effect of burnout? I have hated my job for months, have felt over worked and over stressed. Could this be the culprit?
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Definitely could be a contributing factor or cause of your panic. Increased stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed all contribute to panic attacks.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

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