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Symptoms and treatment for Panic attacks - 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 : 2008
Answered : 3613 Questions
User :   I had to visit the emergency room a few days before christmas. i was woken with rapid heart beat, tight chest, rapid breathing, extreme fatigue, and felt like fainting. The ER doc said it was anxiety and gave me xanax which seemed to help. Two days after i ran out of xanax ( i took 20 .5 miligrams over a two week period.) i had another one of these attacks but slightly worst. I was sick for a week with dizziness, fatigue, trembling, cold sweats. untill my step mom gave me a few more xanax and then symptoms seem to lighten. I been taking 1 miligram of xanax per day since. i take .5 in the morning and .5 in the evening and buspar 3 times daily. I have not had another attack since but things just dont feel right. I have tightness in my neck and episodes of the shakes, rapid heart beat etc. Does this sound like anxiety to you? or could it be something more serious. I;m scared of heart problems or brain tumors, but have had 2 cat-scans and several ekg's from the ER docs and they say everything looks normal. What do you suggest? i just want to feel normal again.
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Let me read the query.
User :   hello
Doctor :   May I know your age and gender?
User :   and may i note that the panic attacks occur mostly after eating.
User :   I'm a 30 year old male
Doctor :   Do you have any other medical illness such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels?
Doctor :   Do you have a family history of heart ailments?
User :   nope, just did a cholesterol test and i my level was at 195
Doctor :   Do you have a family history of heart ailments?
Doctor :   May I know your current weight and height?
User :   no, not really, grand dad has a pace maker but no one else in family that i know of
User :   im 5'9 190lbs
Doctor :   Do you smoke, consume alcohol or use illicit drugs?
User :   i smoke. occasional use of alchohol but dont abuse it. i was using lortab pain pills for several years after an arm injury. but quit taking them and got over the withdrawal symptoms after about 7 days.
Doctor :   Ok
User :   It has been 4 months since i have taken any pain meds
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Let me explain to you.
Doctor :   Based on your description, your symptoms are definitely suggestive of panic attacks.
Doctor :   Since I am unable to physically examine you, I cannot comment on the possibility of heart ailment, however
Doctor :   negative family history, no major risk factors, absence of classical symptoms and repeated normal EKG's are against the diagnosis of heart attacks or other heart ailments.
Doctor :   Other condition that can mimick your symptoms are endocrine abnormalities.
Doctor :   Both thyroid hormone disturbances and adrenal gland abnormalities are possible.
User :   can my family doctor check my thyroid/adrenal glands for abnormalities?
Doctor :   But with your history being short and the fact that symptoms are better with xanax; you are probably suffering from panic attacks alone and not any other organic medical problems.
User :   Is it normal to feel sick for days after one of these attacks?
Doctor :   Yes, symptoms of panic attacks have exacerbation and remissions, where symptoms of exacerbation usually fade away slowly.
Doctor :   So you need not worry.
Doctor :   Regular medications as suggested by your doctor, diet and lifestyle modifications that include
Doctor :   regular diet, reduced caffeine consumption, reduced/quitting smoking, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, regular sleep and weight reducing physical exercis
Doctor :   should complement medical drugs.
Doctor :   Only then can you find effective control of the panic attacks.
User :   I'm slowly lowering the amount of xanax every week, using the buspar as a aid, ive read that xanax can make symptoms worse if you quit them cold turkey.
Doctor :   Yes, but I do feel that you need to complement medical drugs with the lifestyle and diet modifications.
Doctor :   The chances of recovery or panic attack control are better if such lifestyle and diet modification go side by side with the drugs.
Doctor :   Hope it is clear to you.
Doctor :   Do you have any other query?
User :   ok, ive changed my diet already. My work has some labor, but its hard to find time to exercise regularly. Im a satellite technician. Im always moving, climbing etc.
User :   thanks for the advice ill talk to the family doc about thyroid test just in case
Doctor :   Thanks for consulting me.
Doctor :   Bye for now.
Doctor :   Wish you good health.
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