Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Hell of Panic Attacks

An online friend's daughter is going through severe panic attacks and could use some kind support.

I wrote this and am sharing it here in case it might be of use to someone who is going through this kind of ordeal. There is no hell quite like the hell of panic attacks. Those of you who have never had one can consider yourself fortunate.
I'm sorry your daughter's going through this. At the time that I was sexually assaulted, I was also bipolar but didn't know it. I went through a similar thing.The attack triggered constant, ongoing panic.  I would have panic attacks on and off for about 5 hours a day. I have paradoxical reactions to most medications. Most anti-anxiety meds actually backfire on me in a serious way.  I took tons of the anti-anxiety herb Kava Kava, which actually isn't recommended because of its potential to impact the liver at high doses.  5 HTP might help and it is readily avialiable, but its actions are more subtle.  For me this debilitating cycle of panic went on for about  a year. Then the times between panic attacks became longer and longer.
In 2002, when my paternal grandmother died, I began experiencing panic attacks again. Again the doctors tried medications but they only made things worse. The only thing that helped was biofeedback.  I learned to breathe differently and a variety of techniques to refocus my mind. The only time that this hasn't helped was when I started having panic attacks due to the fact that my doctor raised my dose of Levothyroxine from .25 mg to .75 mg, and blamed the resulting high blood pressure on the fact that I'm a large person instead of looking at my medications. It turns out that I can't tolerate thyroid medication either. It created an artificial state of hyperthyroidism and took three months to entirely clear my system.

I don't know if anything I've told you here might be useful. I hope it might. Outside of asthma attacks, panic attacks are, in my opinion, the absolute worst thing to go through.