Is this a Panic Attack?
Q. I wish to have some advice, if possible? I have been to the emergency room twice in the past two weeks. The first trip to the hospital, I was diagnosed with a bladder infection and sent home with antibiotics, which I took till they were gone and that was fine, I thought.
About 2 days after all of the antibiotics were gone, I had another weird physical thing (attack) that took me back to the emergency room. After spending a couple of hours at the hospital, they told me that my infection was gone and I was probably just having a panic attack. WHAT, ME? NO WAY! I'm just not like that. So, I went home and tried to relax, but it continues to happen. I decided to try an acupuncturist, and herbal meds she gave me, and I think they are helping but today I felt it's starting to happen again. WHAT is WRONG WITH ME?
SO, I went to Doctors on Duty and explained the whole thing to a doctor there. He gave me Xanax and said to go see a neurologist. Here's what happens to me: I start having a feeling of a total body rush and soon after I feel this I also feel scared that I might pass out. I tend to get extremely cold and sometimes shake and jerk uncontrollably while yawning through the whole ordeal. All of the people I've talked to experience panic attacks differently and I just want to know if you have heard of these symptoms? I really think it's something physical and think I will just die suddenly. I'm most afraid of this when my husband leaves and I'm home with my 3-yr old alone. Can you tell me what you think?
A. We are unable to diagnose. This does need to be done by your doctor as panic attacks can mimic a number of physical illness. From what you have written, your symptoms are typical of a spontaneous panic attack. If you go into our research pages on our web site and check the research, 'An analysis of an uncued panic attack,' you will see the symptoms you describe, including the fear that we will die from the attack.
It is important for you to have a full medical exam to rule out any physical cause, but if no physical cause is found it is very important that you:
* Accept the diagnosis. If not, you will only increase your anxiety and the frequency of the attacks may increase. When you can accept the diagnosis, you can move forward and break the cycle before it actually begins. Having panic attacks/Panic Disorder is not a life sentence, nor is it any reflection on you or your abilities. In fact, so many creative people, some of them quite famous within the Arts, have these attacks.
* Learn as much as you can about the attacks, which will, in turn, lessen your fears.
* Consider seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. They can help you reduce your fear of your experience.
* Be mindful that Xanax, and all of the other tranquilizers, are addictive and the addiction can begin within 2 - 4 weeks of taking any of these drugs. Withdrawal from these drugs include increased panic attacks and anxiety.
When you say "NO WAY, I'm just not like that" you probably don't realise we all say this or a variation of it, 'This is not me, I'm not like this'! It is difficult to imagine that we could have this type of problem. There is a genetic predisposition for this type of attack, and if one person in the family has them, there will also be others. In our parents and grandparents generation, it was never diagnosed and in these generations it can be very hidden and not talked about. The attacks were possibly triggered by your infection. Many of us develop the attacks following an illness.
You are in an ideal position to prevent the fear, anxiety, panic attack cycle from developing. Don't hesitate to contact us if we can assist you further.
next: The Role Thoughts Play in Anxiety and Panic
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Gluck, S. (2008, October 3). Is this a Panic Attack?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/is-this-a-panic-attack