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Hi there,

I've been on Pristiq for about 6 months or so, whilst it does help with the depression. I've been having constant panic attacks lately. I commute on a motorcycle to and from work. I currently work freelance in theatre, as I don't really dare to take up full time employment as my heart races every now and then. 

These past 2 days, I was commuting to the theatre and whilst riding I noticed that my heart rate would suddenly go form 90 to 120 - 130 and i feel an on set of an anxiety attack. I would then search for a clinic to feel 'safe' and stop there whilst i recuperate.  Today, I suppose I got so freaked out I actually walked in to the clinic and saw a doctor who checked me and told me that my heart rate was fine and my blood pressure was actually 'perfect'

Would anyone know how to deal with this attacks. I really need to stop feeling this way. I want to live a life.

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Hi Steelrage,

     Like you, I have been severely afflicted by panic attacks.  My antidepressants didn't help with this.  A switch in medications helped me.  I am now on Celexa and Buspirone.  They help me so much.  I also have a prescription for Clonazepam for break through panic attacks but rarely need it.  I realize that what works for some people doesn't help others or makes things worse for them, so the only advice I can offer you is to consult your doctor.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy also helped me with panic attacks.  I hope you get lots or responses to your post!   - epictetus

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On 6/28/2019 at 6:58 AM, Epictetus said:

Hi Steelrage,

     Like you, I have been severely afflicted by panic attacks.  My antidepressants didn't help with this.  A switch in medications helped me.  I am now on Celexa and Buspirone.  They help me so much.  I also have a prescription for Clonazepam for break through panic attacks but rarely need it.  I realize that what works for some people doesn't help others or makes things worse for them, so the only advice I can offer you is to consult your doctor.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy also helped me with panic attacks.  I hope you get lots or responses to your post!   - epictetus

My hospital just ran out of Pristiq and they have given me effexor instead. I have an appointment in the middle of this month with the psychiatrist. Will consult with him as well. apart from that I really need to find an affordable psychologist where i'm at. being broke sucks.

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have you tried searching online for  free or low cost mental health clinics in your area.  I have depression/anxiety but haven't had a severe panic attack like yours. Hope you can find help soon.  in the meantime, we are here if you need to talk about it.

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I dealt with panic attacks for years and anxiolytics helped me through the worst of it. With time I learned to manage without meds but it took years to accept that the physical sensations caused by panic attacks are not dangerous. During bad attacks my blood pressure would spike to very high levels, 180/120 were not unusual and I've even exceeded 200 systolic. My heart rate would be super strange, my normal HR is around 90 - 110 (yeah, I'm way out of shape) and when I had an attack it would first drop to 50 - 60 bpm and then within minutes would jump to the 140 - 170 range, sometimes faster but my pulse meter would cut out because my circulation would get very poor during an attack. While they say that most panic attacks only last about 15 minutes mine would often last a few hours and it didn't help that when I didn't know what they were and would go to urgent care places during an attack they'd call an ambulance because my vitals were all over the place. 

It took years to learn to manage them. For the longest time I was convinced that there must be something wrong with my heart and I'd obsessively take my vitals and pay close attention to the physical sensations. Eventually I started fearing panic attacks so much that just some minor anxiety symptoms could trigger one so my advice to you would be to NOT take your vitals when you're anxious, it'll only make you obsess more which is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Also, DO NOT start googling symptoms or you will end up convincing yourself that you have all kind of heart problems since many symptoms overlap. The other issue with googling symptoms is that the symptoms of panic attacks can change and will often mimic the things you read about. 

To help you start getting things under control I'd recommend starting with a non-benzo anxiolytic such as Vistaril or BuSpar, the later has a delayed onset though so it'll take a few weeks to start feeling better. If that doesn't help go for benzos such as Klonopin to reduce your anxiety overall and/or Xanax or Ativan to quickly calm down if you're in midst of an attack. Do be careful if you go the benzo route though, I was taking very large doses for years and withdrawing from them SUCKED. 

On the mental side of things you can try relaxation techniques to get your overall stress-level down and really try to accept the symptoms for what they are. Ultimately it was complete acceptance that helped me get anxiety under control. Be gentle with yourself, what you're going through is hell and most people including doctors cannot understand just how terrifying it can really be. Yeah it's all in our head but the physical symptoms are very real and uncomfortable or downright painful. Don't beat yourself up if someone doesn't understand, just surround yourself with people (be it friends or professionals) who will not judge you. Best of luck to you!

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On 7/3/2019 at 11:56 AM, lonelyforeigner said:

My heart rate would be super strange, my normal HR is around 90 - 110 (yeah, I'm way out of shape) and when I had an attack it would first drop to 50 - 60 bpm and then within minutes would jump to the 140 - 170 range, sometimes faster but my pulse meter would cut out because my circulation would get very poor during an attack. While they say that most panic attacks only last about 15 minutes mine would often last a few hours and it didn't help that when I didn't know what they were and would go to urgent care places during an attack they'd call an ambulance because my vitals were all over the place. 

It took years to learn to manage them. For the longest time I was convinced that there must be something wrong with my heart and I'd obsessively take my vitals and pay close attention to the physical sensations. Eventually I started fearing panic attacks so much that just some minor anxiety symptoms could trigger one so my advice to you would be to NOT take your vitals when you're anxious, it'll only make you obsess more which is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Also, DO NOT start googling symptoms or you will end up convincing yourself that you have all kind of heart problems since many symptoms overlap. The other issue with googling symptoms is that the symptoms of panic attacks can change and will often mimic the things you read about. 

Sounds very similar to my experiences. Okay, I must admit, last August after the scare of being admitted to a hospital, the first thing I did was purchase a fitness tracker which tracks my heartrate. It is right now my crutch. I wouldn't leave home without it in fear that something would happen. Its like a double edge sword, I take solace in knowing where I am and yet knowing where I am scares the bejeezus out of me. 

I really need to look into meditation or something along that likes.  

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This could be because of your medications. You can try contacting your doctor about it. Maybe change of medication can help. Another solution could be a dog. Hear me out a dog actually helps calm you down as a person. So yeah you could try that. 

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:12 PM, Andrea Harris said:

 

 

This could be because of your medications. You can try contacting your doctor about it. Maybe change of medication can help. Another solution could be a dog. Hear me out a dog actually helps calm you down as a person. So yeah you could try that. 

I used to have 2 dogs.. now i have a cat.  Effexor XR seems to be doing a good job for now,  but i'm experiencing a really low mood today after about a week on it.

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Hey everyone, thanks for your response and words. 
Its been almost 2 weeks since I switched to Effexor XR, what I have noticed is that I tend to have lesser panic attacks, but on the other hand, I've been feelinga little more depressed lately. I often feel as if I have a gaping holeopening up near my solar plexus. Am not sure if my dosage is too low or what. Pros : lesser panic attacks, cons : Back to feeling sad and depressed.Arghh

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