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Advised relaxation techniques with history of panic attack - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Anxiety and Stress
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 40 Questions
User :   Just recently I was diagnosed with panic disorder and anxiety about a month ago, I have gone to the emergency room for panic attacks for the past 2 weeks since it started and the ER doctor prescribed me Lorazepam 1mg for my panic attacks. That said, I was also given Sertraline (Zoloft) by a psychiatrist for my depression that came due to the whole anxiety situation. I have stop taking these pills for about 2 weeks already and have not taken them since, Lorazepam worked wonders for my anxiety but I still did not trust the drugs effects in the long run. I've been trying to deal with my anxiety without drugs and so far ever since I stopped using them I began to control part of my overall anxiety.
The thing is, ever since I stopped taking the drugs I feel like my whole anxiety situation transformed and turned into a very severe case of "health anxiety", for every prick, ache, sensation and pain somewhere in my body I start fearing the worse. "Am I having a heart attack?", "A stroke?", all these "what if?" scenarios popping in my head. Not only that, I also had developed a persistent cough where my doctor prescribed me Azithromycin and ordered a chest x ray, a blood test done, and also a TB test, I haven't received my results yet so I'm waiting on my diagnosis. The persitent cough went away with the antibiotic treatment so I had one less thing ot worry about. Now, these past couple of days I've been getting, not a severe, but an uncomfortable and sometimes achy feeling in my chest area, at first starting around my left rib area and spreading toward my lower back back, sometimes my shoulder. My family has no history of heart disease but a strong genetic factor for gastritis There are times throughout the day when I get a dull pain that is centered around the lower sternum, that situation gives me more anxious thoughts. These couple of days I have not been sleeping well due
User :   to my constant fear of not waking up, I gotta say its probably the anxiety. Yet now, these couple of days, I'm waking up at the same time with either a panic attack or an elevated heart rate with a bit of trembling. My questions are, Do you think that these may be withdrawal symptoms of stopping use of my recent drugs? Is this though instead part of my anxiety response and my constant worry about fearing the worse for my health? Any insight on what the chest pain can be and if it's heart related?
Is there anyway either spiritually, mentally or physically to help alleviate the constant worry about my health? I would like to hear your opinion or personal advice concerning in a "what would you do?" scenario, I'm not looking for a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor, I'm looking for a some honest humble advice.
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Iam Dr ...
User :   Good morning
Doctor :   Let me read your query
User :   ok
Doctor :   Good morning
Doctor :   May i know your age occupation and gender
Doctor :   Lorazepam is used to relieve stress
User :   I'm a male 19 year old whose currently unemployed
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   Did you suffer from some mental stress before the panic attack?
User :   That's the thing, I did not.
Doctor :   ok
User :   Ever since my first panic attack I started to worry a lot more about my health.
Doctor :   How long did you take the drug?
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   Do you have any other medical disease?
User :   For about 2 weeks but I only took it for when I needed not daily.
Doctor :   For panic attacks there is usually no reason
User :   I have no other medical disease present for me.
Doctor :   ok
User :   What about the chest pain?
Doctor :   Panic attack is fully treatable
Doctor :   The chest pain is due to anxiety that triggers increased heart rate
User :   Is this the reason why I've been wakinp up trembling with a fast heart beat?
Doctor :   Did you try relaxation exercises?
Doctor :   Like deep breathing execises meditation etc
User :   Yes I did but I found out that if I try to relax, the whole idea of relaxing gives me more anxious, so in a nutshell, I'm afraid of relaxing my whole body.
Doctor :   panic attack and related problems are usually treated with self help strategies
Doctor :   and a series of therapy sessions
User :   How can I be sure that this is not some other underlying problem that I have?
Doctor :   Because you didnt have any disease prior to this
User :   If panic attacks can mimic some life threating disorders is it possible that I can be prone to them at this age?
Doctor :   Learn about panic. Simply knowing more about panic can go a long way towards relieving your panic attack
Doctor :   NO
Doctor :   Do you smoke?
User :   No I don't smoke.
Doctor :   Good
Doctor :   Smoking and excessive coffee intake can stimulate it
User :   This is my health anxiety talking, At this age what should I be looking out for in disorders or diseases that affect young adults?
Doctor :   Deep breathing can relieve the symptoms of panic. By learning to control your breathing, you
Doctor :   You need not woory
User :   I guess..
Doctor :   You can practice some relaxation techniques
User :   I'm in need of constant reassurance that I have nothing medically wrong with me.
Doctor :   like yoga, meditation
Doctor :   yes
User :   But I'll keep trying those relaxation techniques.
Doctor :   First reassure yourself
Doctor :   and for that relaxation techniques will do alot

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