Perhaps you are reading this because you're someone who suffers knee bumping, rapid breathing, heart palpating random panic attacks. I hurt for you as I used to hurt for myself when I perceived the spawning of these symptoms from my core. Sometimes, I was able to just breathe through them and all would quiet in a short time, but other times, I landed in the emergency room of my local hospital. I felt like prey as I rarely knew what was going to bring them on.
I was offered a variety of treatments for my ailments. Once, in my teens, I suffered tunnel vision and the most handsome of interns held my hand and asked me to talk about all of what was "stressing" me out in my life. I'm not sure if it was just the fact that I was conveying my suffering or the fact that I desperately wanted to see all of his unshaven, handsome face that my vision organically began to materialize again into all the corners of my limited perception.
My own very sweet General Practitioner suggested I go see a "counsellor" through her own tear stained face after hearing my desperate pleas to help me to address the anxiety and fear I was facing more and more daily. I was a tender 25 years of age. She suggested this route before I might qualify for prescription for anxiety-suppressing meds. The outcome was not favorable as the "counsellor" appeared quite confused and lacked character structure and actually appeared to need way more help than I did.
Some little light within me fought to seek a solution that was lasting, permanent and natural. Knowing that I was up against my own mother's diagnosis of schizophrenia, manic depression and her eventual suicide when I was eight years of age did not help either. As time went on, I was beginning to feel that I was on the brink of "losing my own mind" and the anxiety attacks just brought me closer to this terror. Hourly, I was feeling an inner terror that pricked at the base of my spine. The anxiety episodes began to escalate. I had to solve this.
If you are also suffering a similar plight, it is important to consider all your options before taking the plunge into medication or even meditation. I'm a results-based kind of person and if I'm going to pursue a modality of treatment, I need to know what is going to work, why and what are the potential risks and side effects. I'm going to share what I found with you so that you can also wholly weigh the consequences. By the way, I did solve my panic attacks long-term and haven't had nary a one in over 20 years. I'm 46 as I pen this. Thankfully, even though I know I was a pretty advanced case needing panic attacks treatment, I was able to resolve it naturally.
I'm going to begin, though, offering you the pluses and minuses of drugs prescribed for Panic Attacks. The unfortunate part is that chemical protocol is not curative, but suppressive, and increases your chronic condition. Most folks know this, because as soon as you take the meds away, the symptoms reemerge back in plain view. Drugs can be helpful, short-term, if you just need to gather your perspective to figure out how you want to address your symptoms for the long-term. They can provide you with the illusion of a clearer head, which can be mighty helpful in the present, but as a mechanism of management, you may be dealing with some very unwanted side effects.
Some of the deleterious side effects you may want to consider will include liver, kidney and lymph toxicity. The other thing to realize is that on these drugs you may not have access to the e-motions that you do love in yourself. I've had individuals tell me that while on their meds. they could no longer feel the emotions of the characters in a movie or wholly empathize with their daughter's break-up with her boyfriend. Often folks on anxiety drugs feel "flat-lined" emotionally and this can leave a person feeling short-changed in the sphere of their life. Unable to wholly penetrate into the realm of sympathetic or empathetic impressions.
My own grandmother, yes, on my Mom's side, sadly lived on tranquilizers long-term. Her vacant eyes and empty "yes, dear" as an answer to every provocation was frankly pathetic. I despised her for not having the courage to face the root of her ills and I avoided her at all cost as it was like being engaged with a "hollow" woman. I often had the impulse to just scream at her to see if I could wake her from her living coma. There was no real person to connect with and to me she died years before her physical body succumbed.
Most folks don't know this, but the Pharmaceutical companies have been using the same tranquilizers and benzodiazepines for years. The chief ones available to us modern folk are:
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Ativan (lorazepam)
While they are fast-acting, bringing calm or "relief" within about thirty minutes to an hour after taking them, there are longer-term drawbacks that aren't usually spelled out for you in the Doctor's office. The calming effect first realized can precipitate a numbing quality, as I've mentioned, especially over time. Other unwanted side-effects can include drowsiness, fogginess, and lack of co-ordination. Folks will often justify they're very low doses, but even micro doses of benzodiazepines, can cause problems with work, school, or everyday activities such as driving. Some individuals will report a medication hangover the next day which can effect your motivation and zest for life.
Depending on the individual, some will cite a "sped-up" feeling or worsened anxiety state precipitating mania, impulsiveness, hallucinations, hostility, rage and even panic attacks themselves which is the opposite outcome the patient is seeking. Over time, the medication can build up in the system, if proper detoxification is not employed, causing the patient to feel like they are permanently inebriated.
Look for these common side effects of benzodiazepines or tranquilizers and work with your Doctor to adjust dosage or switch the type of medication until these symptoms are more minimal:
- Lack of energy
- Slow reflexes
- Slurred speech
- Confusion and disorientation
- Depression Dizziness
- Light-headedness Impaired thinking and judgement Memory loss, forgetfulness Nausea, stomach upset Blurred or double vision
Benzodiazepines are also associated with depression. You will need to watch for longer-term benzodiazepine side effects like suicidal feelings. The feeling of being disconnected from spouse, children and parents can worsen over time and sadly affect relationships on a long-term basis. My mother and grandmother were a testament of this for me.
If you do choose the chemical drug route, it is imperative that anti-anxiety medication not be combined with any other drugs. Also, an overdose can be fatal when taken in large doses or combined with any other central nervous system depressants. Taking anti-anxiety medication with alcohol, prescription painkillers, or sleeping pills can be deadly. Dangerous drug interactions can also occur when anti-anxiety drugs are taken with antihistamines, which are found in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines. Keep in mind that Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft can also heighten their toxicity.
If you have a little breathing room and your panic attacks are not bearing down on you like waves of labor. You might take a look at more natural ways of coping with your condition. This was the route I began with myself, and it helped immensley. Although, my more advanced symptoms did eventually propel me into the realm of principled, natural medicine, I went this route of regimen practices first as the drug protocols scared me more. As you can imagine, I was willing to try just about anything to avoid my grandmother and mother's fates. Living shut down, numbed-out on prescription drugs or suicidal were not viable options for me. I needed to solve this outright.
Some of the viable non-drug panic attacks treatment options available can begin with psycho-dynamics including cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example. I used a system called Heilkunst Medicine (the whole art of healing and curing) to resolve my own ills which organizes all treatments into three jurisdictions starting with a foundation in diet and lifestyle changes, followed by homeopathic medicine and then cognitive-behavioral therapies to address the core fears and belief structures. Not all of their practitioners practice all three of these jurisdictions, but I'm happy to help you find one if you feel you need. The first jurisdiction of Heilkunst treatment encourages regular exercise, adequate sleep, a healthier diet, improving your relationships and a thorough detoxification. Often folks find that by adding a regular protocol of oils, minerals, greens and eliminating grains from their diet, alone, can have cathartic effects on their panic attacks. Resolving spikes in sugar and a lack of adequate nutrition with whole food supplementation can go along way to help quiet potential anxious moments.
Live Blood analysis by an excellent practitioner can also help source out the cause of your panic attacks by indicating heavy metal toxicity and discerning if you're actually absorbing your water. Water has the function of expanding the cell, just as your organism is trying to be expanded by the anxiety. If each cell is armored and encased in salt, so is your overall organism. When the anxiety erupts, it will push up uncomfortably against your armored cells causing a tension in your body that produces the sweating, heart palpatations and the general quickening as if you're going to explode.
Your anxiety is just trying to "expand" you and dissolve your armoring. It just goes about it with much suffering and debilitating affects. Sadly, nature can be kind of crude in her manner of attempting to resolve things on your behalf. If you provide her with sound, logical tools, such as homeopathic medicines, which are based on the curative law of nature "like cures like", and pursue cognitive therapies including character analysis, and biofeedback, you can really uproot the cause of your anxiety and address it with treatment protocols that work and resolve your issues long-term without side-effects just as I did.
I've found that it really isn't about suppressing or repressing your anxiety at all. It is more about solving the overflow and then converting and channelling the power of those e-motions (= "energy in motion") into a means where they wholly serve you through knowledge, creativity, and inspiration. In the end, you will own a whole lot more consciousness and a milieu of feelings and life impressions that enrich your life, not dumb it down.