What are the risks of travelling alone with anxiety spectrum disorder?

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Posted on Thu, 16 Jul 2015 in Mental Health
Question: Hi doctor,
brief- I used to suffer from sever generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and panic attacks for the past 5 years, used to do both psychotherapy and medication (written below) and was barely improving, luckily met a new doctor a year ago and i can say shes magic, made me withdraw most of my med with no relapse, and got me back my life from being housebound to NOW driving across the capital 100 miles alone, going hunting in the desert, back to my shooting activities and not fearing traffic XXXXXXX and being away from my so called used to be my safe zone with completely no anxiety.


Now i want to do all of the things i wasnt able to do due to my past severe anxiety.

QUESTION: i live in EGYPT and my girlfriend is going to have a meniscus transplant in Germany very soon, she will stay in the hospital for 5 days and at the hotel for 5 days. IM THINKING OF TRAVELING TO HER FOR MAYBE 3 NIGHTS AT THE END AS A XXXXXXX

PROBLEM: ALWAYS TRAVELED WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS BEFORE THE ANXIETY PHASE, AFTER ANXIETY ONLY WITH MY FAMILY...

Can i travel to her? Are there risks? If so, what are they?

Note: i will sleep alone in my room for 3 nights, never done that.
But i want to because my psychiatrist says im ok now.

Didnt ask my psychiatrist becausw shes traveling..

Please help
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shubham Mehta 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
better to keep xanax (with prescription) with you.

Detailed Answer:
Hello
Welcome to HCM.
I understand your concerns.

Anxiety spectrum disorders have tendency to relapse.

There is a risk of relapse of panic attacks as your would be travelling alone and staying alone in hotel room. This may precipitate agoraphobia and thus panic attacks.

However, as you have recovered almost completely with medications and psychotherapy, you must be knowing the ways to abort acute panic attacks, if any. (Like by deep and slow diaphragmatic breathing or coughing or drinking a glass of cold water).

If you are currently taking your medications (sertraline and xanax), I would suggest you to take them as advised.

If you have stopped your drugs, I would suggest you to keep xanax tablets with you (with prescription). This would help you to abort an acute attack if you get panic or anxiety.

Hope I have answered your query satisfactorily.
Feel free to ask further.

I wish you happy and safe journey.
Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shubham Mehta 7 minutes later
Why would there be a risk of relapse if im already taking my medication and havent got a panic attack since 6 months ago and that im driving on highways alone across the capital?

Whats the risk?
If so then, whats the worse that could happen?

If its that risky, then i wont travel i guess.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shubham Mehta 11 minutes later
Brief Answer:
no need to cancel the trip.

Detailed Answer:
No definite biological explanation, but anxiety disorders have tendency to relapse.
The most suitable explanation for this could be the our brain might not get conditioned to the new place that easily.

And when you know that there would be no known/familiar person around, this might act as a trigger.

But as you are doing very well on your medications, the risks are very low (nothing can be absolute 100%).

The worse would be that you might get a panic attack, nothing more then that.
You might knowing this fact that panic attacks are never life threatening and they fade away quickly.

I would suggest you to not cancel your trip as there are no serious complications. Its just a short 3-5 day trips.
Do not worry at all.
But you MUST take your drugs as advised.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Shubham Mehta

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 2004 Questions

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