Posted by: Patient | 2009-07-07

No more money

I have spent thousands of rands on emergency rooms and doctor' s visits. Now I' m spending thousands more on psychiatrists, psychologists and thherapists. I' m not any better off than I was before. My attacks are not as frequent, but the anxiety is the same and possibly getting worse. What can I do?

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Our expert says:
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PSYCHIATRIST: Many patients with Panic Disorder or Generalised Anxiety Disorder have indeed been assessed and investigated by many doctors from different specialities.
We always recommend that such patients should be investigated to make sure that they do not have another medical disorder for example: thyroid illness, heart problems, diabetes, lung disease, epilepsy, substance abuse etc but by taking a careful,detailed history from a patient, a doctor can usually cut down on the number of investigations to be done.Once these investigations have been done and the patient re-assured that there is no other medical illness, it should not be necessary to repeat investigations in Emergency Rooms and with further doctors each time you have a panic attack.
Treatment with correct medications from a psychiatrist in combination with cognitive behavioural therapy from a psychologist should be able to help the patient manage their panic attacks. There are however patients who have "resistant " or difficult to treat disorders. Your psychiatrist may need to increase the doses of your medication or change your medication or add in another medication. He/she may want to review your diagnosis and make sure that you do not have another underlying accompanying psychiatric disorder such as a Bipolar Mood Disorder or a Depression. Use of substances can prevent your recovery and this includes alcohol,recreational street drugs, caffeine, certain homeopathic/naturopathic medications.Significant circumstantial stressors can slow down recover eg relationship or work stress. Life-style changes such as exercise,healthy diet,adequate sleep or a support group may help.

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