Forum: Advice / Girls & Guys PG-13

Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By AnnaLauren1
On Tue Dec 14, 2010 05:54 PM

Hi guys. I'm new here, but when I was about thirteen I had an account on this site, and even for my petty childish thirteen year old problems you people gave good advice. Now I'm older, with real problems. I hope ya'll can still do the same. So here goes...

Let's go back in time a bit. Summer, 2009. I wake up in the bed with some semi-random guy (I went from uber good girl to what the hell is that girl doing in about six months) to a phone call from a good friend. She tells me one of only two guys I have ever said "I love you" to, committed suicide. He did this along with another one of our really good friends. Two best friends dead to suicide. We are distraught. After one of their funerals I get trashed, tore up from the floor up. Xanax bar, straight vodka. It is awful. My mom calls me. I cannot speak rationally. She comes to pick me up, and I make a terrible scene. This is the last time I speak to many of my good friend. The fault of me and my mother. She tells them if they speak to me anymore she will handle them (which would not be hard, as they are, for the most part,all dealers of drugs). The rest of that summer, needless to say, was miserable.

Sophomore year of college. This is the summer after their deaths. I have been taken off klonopin (a benzo)because my father is close friends with my doctor and spoke with him about the incident. Can you say WITHDRAWELS!! I already suffered from what I thought were panic attacks and looking back they were attacks just not that severe. But from this point on the panic attacks got worse and worse. This is when I meet a boy (I'll call him Joe). Joe and I began dating and when me and my mom get into a physical argument, I leave. I'm sick of her s**t (she suffers from borderline personality disorder but refuses medication). I moved into a friend's house but hated feeling like a burden, so I finally just moved in with Joe. Joe became my coping mechanism.

Joe and I moved to a different town when I started my Junior year of college. We live together in an apartment. Very stupid decision!!!! He doesn't pay his half of the bills.. he's 28 and cannot pay for just half of the bills! But he is a very nice boy. He has taken more crap from me than anyone else ever would!I do not even know if I want to be with him though. I have expressed this to him, but he says I am just not thinking straight. And if it weren't for him I would probably lose my mind. I am so depressed now. I wake up with panic attacks, and I go to sleep with them. When I have a panic attack my breathing becomes very shallow, I lose all feeling in my hands, my head feels like it is filled to the brim and is trying to explode, and I do not make sense when someone tries to speak to me.All I can do is scream, cry, hit things, anything to try to release the overwhelming flow of adrenaline rushing through my body. On top of this I have started having seizures, and we don't know why! I feel so lost. Because of my depression I have lost many friends, either because when I decided "Just F it" I lashed out at them, or I have been such a recluse we have lost contact. I have spent a year in hiding, and I am too scared to get back out there. I have been in impatient. I'm on depakote and effexir now. They do not help. Klonopin does not help anymore either. It probably would if I upped my dosage of it but I am taking it illegally so it is expensive so I refuse to take more than one mg a day. Anyone else dealing with deep depression, panic attacks, major agoraphobia, and financial problems (well, anything similar, of course)? My attacks are so bad now that I cannot function normally, but doctors are not helping!! I cannot change the decisions I made, but I cannot live like this forever!

10 Replies to Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.

re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By pondflyPremium member
On Tue Dec 14, 2010 08:26 PM
While my baggage is not as bad as yours, my attacks were far worse than what you describe but due to a head injury at childhood.

What you need to do is get in touch with a psychiatrist who specializes in pharmacology. Mine is fantastic for balancing medications and with a legal prescription I only paid $15 for a 90 day supply at 1.5mg tablets from Wal-Mart tonight.

That simple dose (1.5 tablets a night) has cured me of 99.5% of attacks and has only been improving since I started taking them back in 95.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By gurlygina08
On Tue Dec 14, 2010 09:31 PM
You know that feeling you get the instant something terrible happens or when you have a dream you are falling? I walk around feeling that everyday all day. It is so severe. I hyperventilate to the point of passing out on a fairly regular basis. I have been to impatient treatment after a suicide attempt. Every medicine a doctor puts me on (I've tried so many) do not work. Many make things worse. I am a writer, and one of the terrible side effects of these medicines for me is not being able to come up with the word I need. This is an actual side effect of a lot of these medicines..weird, I know. And one doctor has expressed that panic attacks may actually be what causes my seizures. Every other doctor has said that was ludicrous, though. I understand I need a psychiatrist. I've tried that.. I need new ideas! Is there anyone who has had this problem that meds won't fix? How did you end up coping? Or are there any good meds out there I should talk about with my doctor. Benzodiazepines, specifically klonipin ( the others make me feel out of control) are the only things that work. But I know about these drugs. They are not what I want to rely on for the rest of my life. And, after over a year of taking them, I am becoming immune to their effects.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:58 AM
You go see a doctor (a psychiatrist) and get it straightened out. WHILE seeing a therapist - better yet, a therapist and psychiatrist who work as a team.

And if that one doesn't work, then you go to a new one.

And if that one doesn't work, go see someone else.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Oh, and by the way: DO AS THEY TELL YOU. Which means NO TAKING OTHER DRUGS. You don't get to whine about treatment not working if you don't follow the rules.









one of the terrible side effects of these medicines for me is not being able to come up with the word I need. This is an actual side effect of a lot of these medicines..weird, I know.

Short-term memory problems are a common side effect of psychiatric medications. It does not do any permanent damage, it vanishes as soon as you stop taking the pill. Generally the benefits of taking psychoactive drugs far outweigh some slight tip-of-the-tongue frustration. (And yes, I have that too!)




You need to be on nonaddictive alternatives. They're out there and they're just as effective. Instead of Ambien and Xanax or Klonopin, I was put on Trazodone and Vistaril. You don't build up tolerances to them either! One pill of trazodone still knocks me out the same way it did a year ago.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By LoriCook
On Wed Dec 15, 2010 03:54 AM
Just to add, make sure you are totally honest with your doctor about the meds you are taking. Klonopin can lower your seizure threshold meaning when you stop taking it or reduce the dose you can have a seizure. Same with depakote. If you have been on the effexor and depakote for a month or more without relief go back to the prescriber and tell him/her that it isn't working even with extra klonopin. Make sure you tell the doctor exactly what symptoms you are having, time of day it's worse, situations that trigger it etc. Good communication is the key but might be really difficult when you are depressed or in a panic state. Maybe write it all down as you have done here.

Keep working on it, don't give up and don't settle for less than a bearable life. If something/someone is not serving your best interests then get rid of it/them.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By AnnaLauren1
On Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:13 AM
Oh, and by the way: DO AS THEY TELL YOU. Which means NO TAKING OTHER DRUGS. You don't get to whine about treatment not working if you don't follow the rules.

Do I have the right to whine about seeing seven different psychiatrists who prescribe medicines that do not work but have bad side effects? I want their rules to work more than anything, but they don't. Hence, the reason for this post and the reason I continue to go back to the klonopin. And I am always very open with them about the klonopin. Never been to a doctor I did not tell.

I am in college on scholarship. My GPA cannot drop below 3.5. Am I really destined to be a dumbed down version of myself or crazy? Isn't there an alternative? Psychiatrists seem to think not. But I say they are full of it. I refuse to believe those are my only options. I don't want another drug to mask the panic disorder symptoms. I want one that deals with it. I understand that klonopin is not what I need, but it is the only thing that can get me through a day without feeling like I am dying from a heart attack for the moment. I will talk to my doctor about those medicines, though. I have seen them in research I have done on the internet, but no doctor has ever mentioned them. Did you try other medicines before vistaril and trazodone?

Thank you for all the replies. If a psychiatrist cannot figure this out for me, I suppose it was wishful thinking to hope you all would point out the magic cure or magic drug. But thank you for trying.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Dec 18, 2010 03:24 PM

Thank you for all the replies. If a psychiatrist cannot figure this out for me, I suppose it was wishful thinking to hope you all would point out the magic cure or magic drug. But thank you for trying.


But you don't actually WANT an answer. You want all of us to post and talk about how you have the worst life ever, and you're totally within your right to take illegal meds, because you're smarter than any psychatrist and you TOTALLY are qualified to perscribe medications to yourself. And none of that is true.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By pondflyPremium member
On Sat Dec 18, 2010 07:49 PM
I'm going to agree with Theresa, you're making excuses. Clonazepam (Klonipin) controls the errant and hyper electrical activity which is what causes the panic attacks.

The drugs will not dumb you down, but make you able to focus better as you're not being distracted by the symptoms. Yes, there is a short term while the body adjusts to the meds on the concentration, but it goes away.
I only take Trazodone to help me sleep as my near 20 year career of barely sleeping and being on call completely screwed up my sleeping habits, so I have no clue for the panic disorder.

Step away from the internetz and have an open mind for a change. Because your body is filled with the other drugs the chemistry and electrical activity is all imbalanced and will take time to change. If you keep this up it will only get worse as you become more tolerant and need additional meds.

Get off the downward spiral and make a change while you can.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues. (karma: 1)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:12 PM
I know you haven't been around here long, but I've been through just as much as you have and I've seen just as many doctors. So I know what I'm talking about.

Do you have a right to whine after seeing that many psychiatrists? Yes, of course. Do you get to disobey their directions? NO. I don't like the combination of meds that I'm on now, but I'm not going to switch it up without a doctor's direction, because I know I'm not qualified to do so. Klonopin is an addictive medication, and it's not “the only thing that makes you feel better” - you're ADDICTED, dude. Getting better does not feel good. It means you're going to have to be uncomfortable. When you stop leaning on Klonopin and other medications, it's going to feel crappy because you'll need to find other ways to deal with those problems. It sucks, but that's the hand you’ve been dealt. You are entitled to whine, but there’s really no sense in it. It will get you nowhere, and you STILL have to follow the rules.

Common non-addictive medications are hydroxyzine pamoate (Vistaril), quetapine (Seroquel), and buspirone (Buspar). Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, and those will really chill you out – it’s akin to taking Benadryl; it can make you sleepy like that. There are several antihistamines you can take that way. The others are various psychoactive medications. Trazodone is an antidepressant which causes droziness as a side effect; there are others like it, though I don’t know their names.

I’ve been on lots of psychiatric medications, but only ever Vistaril for anxiety, which I don’t take often. When I was first put on it, I was taking it every day – a year ago, in fact. Last Decebmer. I had actually been on a combination of meds that were causing the symptoms that felt like anxiety. I developed akathesia from Abilify, and was also on Effexor and Wellbutrin. Not a good combo for me. The Abilify made my heart pound and my limbs tingle and I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin. As soon as I went off the Abilify, the “panic attacks” vanished. Magical!

Have you heard of the paradoxical effect? Some medications actually do the opposite of what they're supposed to - for example, some antidepressants actually make people depressed. Some anxiety medications actually make people anxious, some stimulants make people tired, some sleeping pills make people alert. Everyone has different body chemistries, and reactions are varied. This isn't a common response, but it's far from unheard of. If your symptoms aren't dissipating, this could be happening to you.

If you don’t like what a doctor tells you, you tell him. If what he’s saying doesn’t match what you read on the internet, tell him so. I’ve told doctors what kind of meds I do or don’t want, and I sit there in the room with them while they hunt through massive tomes or search online databases for drug information. It’s your responsibility as a patient to make sure they do their job. You do not leave a doctor’s office unless you are satisfied with the treatment you have received.

I’m in college as well. When I had to take a leave of absence due to a psychiatric hospitalization in 2009, my GPA was a 2.8. It had dropped from a 3.5 due to my untreated depression – I saw therapists sporadically and had gone off antidepressants. I’ve been in hardcore treatment for the past year and I’ve maintained a 4.0 for three semesters. I’ve NEVER heard of treatment making anyone’s schoolwork worse, to be honest. That is usually the fault of mental illness run rampant!

Oh, and by the way – THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL. It doesn’t exist! Get that thought out of your head, because it will never happen. Mental illnesses have physical causes, but they’re hard to get rid of due to the habits we develop to deal with them. No pill will make you stop feel anxious. It can prevent the brain chemicals causing you to feel that way, but it’s up to YOU to learn healthier ways to deal with stressors in your life. Don’t keep pushing this out to an outside influence and thinking that if you just have the right drug it’s going to go away. We’re talking about your brain here, the most complex organ on your body. Nothing is that simple. You are going to have to work. It is going to be hard. That's just the way it is.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By AnnaLauren1
On Tue Dec 21, 2010 01:50 PM
Heart thank you very much. It sounds like I need to be more assertive with my psychiatrists. I usually just tell them the list of meds that don't work and they prescribe me something, and I take their word for it. Also, to the person who suggested writing things down, I am definitely going to do that next time. Many thanks. Thanks also to all of you for the wake up call, there is no magic pill. And the klonopin thing you are all right, but addiction is such a hard thing to deal with, especially with depression and panic attacks. I have dealt with panic disorder for a very long time. It began when I was very young and klonopin was the first thing I was given to try. And for a while it was a magic pill, it masked all my anxiety for a while. Next time I go to my psych I will be very adamant about he/she tapering me off of it.

To Theresa, um well I don't really know what to say to you other than uh who peed in your cheerios? ha is this not an advice forum? I understand I am new here but I know how the internet works. If you do not have helpful advice just keep whatever you have to say to yourself.
re: Panic Attacks. Mental Health Issues.
By AnnaLauren1
On Tue Dec 21, 2010 02:20 PM
And I specifically said in my second post, last two lines:
"But I know about these drugs [klonopin]. They are not what I want to rely on for the rest of my life. And, after over a year of taking them, I am becoming immune to their effects."

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