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Question
Posted by: Peppie | 2010-05-27

panic attacks

Dear Cybershrink, I need your advice on what to do and which kind of professional to seek help from. Panic attacks are making my life a misery. It''s not fun to battle with the fear of death every day, sometimes more than once. I have a heart rhythm problem and hypertension for which I take medication, but every time my heart starts palpitating even slightly I get a full-scale meltdown and think this is my last minute. The result is that I have no idea which are real heart symptoms and which are panic symptoms, and I can''t keep running to the casualty ward for an EKG every time.The anxiety is worsening the hypertension - vicious cycle. I don''t know if this is hypochondria or what but it''s an awful condition. Should I talk to my internist about it or go and see a shrink or what? At the moment I''m self-medicating with wine every evening and I know that''s risky.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Panic disorder , fortunately, usually responds really well to the proper treatment. Psychiatrists tend to use medications, especially hose also used to treat depression, and these can be really helpful. Some psychiatrists and most psychologists would use psychotherapy ( talking treatment ) especially CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which can also be excellent in teaching you both how to control anxiety and panic by relaxing when you need to, and how to cope better in general.
While an internist can deal with Blood Pressure problems as such, they usually have little o no training in the therapies that really help panic disorder. A psychiatrist, being also a fully trained medical doctor, would be able to take into account the treatment of your high blood pressure and arrhythmia, and if using drugs, chose some that won't interact unfavourably with your other meds.
As you recognize, wine gives some sensation of relaxing, but tends to cause depression and other problems, and interacts badly with many drugs.
Do see a shrink, and clear this up without delay !

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Peppie | 2010-05-27

thanks Doc! It helps to hear that it''s a manageable condition.
Do I need a GP''s referral to a psychiatrist or can I make an appointment on my own? I think one of those will be the best person, seeing that I do have a real underlying medical problem.

Reply to Peppie
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-05-27

Panic disorder , fortunately, usually responds really well to the proper treatment. Psychiatrists tend to use medications, especially hose also used to treat depression, and these can be really helpful. Some psychiatrists and most psychologists would use psychotherapy ( talking treatment ) especially CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which can also be excellent in teaching you both how to control anxiety and panic by relaxing when you need to, and how to cope better in general.
While an internist can deal with Blood Pressure problems as such, they usually have little o no training in the therapies that really help panic disorder. A psychiatrist, being also a fully trained medical doctor, would be able to take into account the treatment of your high blood pressure and arrhythmia, and if using drugs, chose some that won't interact unfavourably with your other meds.
As you recognize, wine gives some sensation of relaxing, but tends to cause depression and other problems, and interacts badly with many drugs.
Do see a shrink, and clear this up without delay !

Reply to cybershrink

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