Panic attacks and medication

littlestars

Confident
I get panic attacks so much that I end up taking my overtaking my medication. That means that I run out days to a week before my next refill. I'm not sure what to do. I practice CBT, but once I conquer one trigger another one seems to pop up. It's terrible. Nothing is okay all of the time for the most part. Does anyone else experience or had experienced this before? I'm at a loss for what to do. Please help.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I get panic attacks so much that I end up taking my overtaking my medication.
Can you describe where you are when you're having a panic attack? Are they always the same experience (thoughts, emotions, and physically), or are they different?

What's the medication you're using? And how long have you been using it? There's a good chance that it's set in as much as psychological relaxant now - in that, taking the medication has a calming effect as much because you know "this will help". Does that make sense?

If that's happening, you can teach your brain to use other tools the same way.
I practice CBT, but once I conquer one trigger another one seems to pop up.
For me, CBT doesn't offer much when I hit panic. Earlier on, yes, but not when my anxiety is peaking. So I relate!
I'm at a loss for what to do.
I've used a lot of tools to different success. And the tools I've needed have changed over time. What's useful will depend a lot on what's going on for you physically and psychologically.

For example, if you dissociate when you panic, TIPP skills and a grounding kit might be helpful.

Whereas if your physiologically anxious (your sympathetic nervous system responses - so things like fast breathing, sweating, nausea, etc), targetting that will be more helpful. For me, that's usually breathing my way out of it (which takes a lot of practice when you're not anxious, but works a treat once you have the skill, and it's free, and required nothing but air! Super cool!!), and walking (not running, just regular old walking - fooling the body into thinking "things are normal now" and forcing it to regulate again).

Then there's the pure PTSD crap we can get. Which is a mixture of both. And thinking outside the box sometimes bring some crazy, but really successful strategies. Like having an anchor. Or (in my case) having a cuddly little teddy in my handbag (Bronson, my "support worker"!) who I handed my difficult thoughts, emotions and memories to whenever I needed to get some distance from them (which is a Thought Diffusion tool). Sometimes it's simply a case of finding the nearest exit and walking out!

There's dozens of different tools people use for panic attacks. Definitely the medication dependency is common, and probably you'll need to taper off that (and bite the bullet with withdrawals, so do that with your doctor's help) if you want to learn to deal with panic and anxiety and without meds.

But it can be done. Planning ahead with strategies that you're going to use, and foreseeable stressful events over the coming months where you prep in advance can be really helpful.
 

Friday

Moderator
I get panic attacks so much that I end up taking my overtaking my medication. That means that I run out days to a week before my next refill.
My rule with emergency meds is that if I need to take them every day, or near enough as to make no-never-nevermind? I don’t take them at all. They can go into a drawer until I’ve got my shit enough under control / stress managed. Because to do otherwise ameans they’re not emergency meds but maintenance meds, which has an entirely different paradigm in play.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
once I conquer one trigger another one seems to pop up. It's terrible. Nothing is okay all the time.

my flashbacks daisy-chain, every time. my own ptsd is complex with multiple traumas and one isolated trauma always seems to have threads leading directly to similar trauma. i don't believe it will ever be okay that my parents and siblings sold me into prostitution, among other things, so nothing is okay all the time. yes, it is terrible, but simple acceptance of that fact lets me ply therapy tools, as needed, to keep that terrible herstory from dominating my current day, even in the grips of flashbacks, etc. agonizing over how terrible the injustices were only distracts me from processing the emotions and psychoweirds attached and getting back to building a better today.

but that is me and every case is unique.

steadying support while you sort your own case.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
My rule with emergency meds is that if I need to take them every day, or near enough as to make no-never-nevermind? I don’t take them at all. They can go into a drawer until I’ve got my shit enough under control / stress managed. Because to do otherwise ameans they’re not emergency meds but maintenance meds, which has an entirely different paradigm in play.
I have been prescribed maintenance meds that I don't even use. My doc gave me a hard time about it but i was like F*&[email protected] that. I managed for 45 years without meds.

As for taking any meds? Get a laminated calendar. Mark it on the calendar every time you take your meds by writing the time you took them.

Then quit depending on your meds to "fix" things. Why you have panic attacks, being able to mitigate them by managing your stress cup is a huge part of living with PTSD. Learn to do it you learn to live in a world where there are things that are hard but nothing that leans on abusing meds as a crutch.


Sorry I sound cranky but I was dangerously addicted to prescription meds on several occasions before I found out I had PTSD. There is no excuse for it just an understanding that meds have their place, and that doctors will happily over prescribe stuff. In the end you are the one who gets hurt......
 
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