Posted by: Shells | 2009-03-30

Panic Attacks - wedding

I am getting married in a months time and I suffer from panic attacks. I am on medication (Cipramil 10mg once per day as well as stressam tablets and sleeping tablets because I cannot sleep)

The medication helps in general - I no longer have day to day panic attacks like I used to, however its the big social events in my life that without fail I will have a panic attack.

I have not had a panic attack free social event in nearly 3 years! We have had to either cancel or leave early when we go to braais, baby showers, weddings, even christmas dinner at his parents or to a simple birthday braai! I am fine when we leave, and I am fine for a little while when we get to the event, but then it will suddenly hit me out of the blue

I feel shaky, nauseas, (sometimes I do vomit), I cant eat, my stomach runs horribly, I have a massive headache and by chest burns with fear. Afterwards I am drained and very emotional and I cannot be around people.

My fiance and I have put alot of money into this wedding and I have been planning it for over a year now. I am so worried I will have a panic attack and the day will be ruined

Everyone tells me not to think about it but it is easier said than done! Its our big day and I know that even if my fiance says he will be alright with it he will be angry and dissapointed.

What can I do to calm down? What can I do if I feel myself having an attack? Should I adjust my medication on the day to help me through it?

Please help, I am desperate!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Have you always suffered from Panic Attacks, or only since the wedding drew close ?
10 mg a day is rather a low dose of Cipramil --- with ADs, one should take the usual dose or not take it ; and small dose can give side-effects without benefits.
From the sound of it, what you really need is Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, which would help you learn how to avoid feling panicked at all, and to control rising anxiwety feelings when they occur. Sounds, too, like a major element of social anxiety disorder, rather than panic disorder--- true panic disorder attacks are random, not occurring on predictable occasions. CBT would be dandy for this. And a month is time enough to achieve a useful amount.
DO see a good local shrink for assessment and treatment advice, to get rid of these social anxiety attacks altogether, whether at your weding or on any other occasion.
Do NOT seek out hypnotherapy, which is the wrong approach for this problem. Sorry Anon and Jill were so childish and spiteful, I wonder why they're wasting time on this forum if that;'s their attitude to other people's problems.
And closer to the time, your chrink or GP could add some beta-blocker tabs to control the physical symptoms, which they do very well --- stopping the trembling, rapid pulse, and so on.

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.

Our users say:
Posted by: Shells | 2009-03-31

Thanks to all those who gave constructive answers - especially Belle - its nice to hear from someone who has gone through this - perhaps it is social anxiety disorder that I actually have, I was diagnosed by a GP and not a psychologist so it could very well be the incorrect diagnosis

As you can see from some of the posts - no one seems to understand this until they have experienced it! I often thought I was going crazy or that my fiance would leave me because of it. I know how lucky I am that I found someone who actually understands even though he does not have them and I certainly dont want to be like this - that is why I am on the medication

I will definately look into some CBT - I have tried hypnosis and it does not work! I will do anything to be rid of this.

Thanks CS

Reply to Shells
Posted by: Belle | 2009-03-31

Hi Shells,

Congrats with your wedding! I also suffer from social anxiety disorder (sounds to be to a lesser extent than you though) and I also worried about coping on my wedding day. My hubby, parents, and best friend all kept a close eye and made sure that I was comfortable and not overcrowded. Go outside to a quiet spot with a friend/hubby regularly throughout the night. We also asked the minister to keep the ceremony as short as possible, he married us first and did the reading afterwards. The worst part for me was the fist dance, we asked our parents and friends to get on the floor with us after 20 seconds, which helped a lot. The night really does fly by so quickly, you’ ll be okay!

Reply to Belle
Posted by: Anon | 2009-03-30

You see what CS says?? Panic attacks don' t happen on certain OCCASIONS. They are random. So each time you are at a function you get sick, vomit and freak out like a fool, it' s got nothing to do with the panic attacks. If it' s not seeking attention, what then??
I feel so sorry for the groom.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Really | 2009-03-30

Panic Attacks can ruin your life if you let them. You seriously need to seek professional help. They are very treateable and can be a thing of the past.

You also need to practice how to keep yourself in control... find ways to manage your stress, if there are things and tasks that you can delegate, then do so. You don' t have to do every thing on your self. Planning a wedding and most other events is a lot of work.. don' t push yourself and rather than thinking about what will happen on that day, focus on what will be after the event. You will be married and that is the most important thing.

If you need to take a few days off the planning do so.. you also need to have a little trust in other people.. delegate and have faith and trust that they will not let you down.

Everything will be fine... just focus on the rewards of....

All the best

Reply to Really
Posted by: Liza | 2009-03-30

Cognitive behaviour therapy is great for overcoming panic attacks. Don' t know whether going for a month of CBT would help in time though. Good Luck. I' m sure CS will have better ideas on how to come through your wedding with your sanity intact.

Reply to Liza
Posted by: another sufferer | 2009-03-30

Anon, I noticed you did not put your name down - embarressed by your own ignorance I see?

I have suffered with panic attacks for years - They are not about seeking attention - they are actually confidence destroying. it is uncontrolable because it is subconscious.

This person has a legitimate problem and your comments are unjustified - At least this is a treatable disease - unfortunately for you anon and Jill, stupidity isnt

So Shells, you hang in there and let see the response from cybershrink - he is the only person whose opinion actually matters here anyway.

Reply to another sufferer
Posted by: Jill | 2009-03-30

Mabe she' ll vomit due to performance anxiety on the wedding night. LOL

Reply to Jill
Posted by: Anon | 2009-03-30

Its funny that with all your issues he' s actually marrying you.
Your fiance can' t even live a normal life and enjoy natural normal things in life like events, braai' s etc. without you kotching all over the place and having to go home coz you r supposedly ill.
Shaim for him. I' m sure he wishes he had a normal life without a fiance who' s looking for attention.

Reply to Anon

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