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Author Topic: Proggressively gotten worse, switching meds, need assurance/help Please respond  (Read 329 times)

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Offline worrywort1987

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I've been on Lexapro 20mg for about 10 years now. Within the last year I've been on a downhill slope and now I'm at a point of having panic attacks everyday and an increase in my agoraphobia. I finally took the step of switching medication with the approval of my psychiatrist. Right now I am in the first week of switching where I am talking half of my normal dosage of Lexapro along with a small dosage of Zoloft. Next week I will ditch the Lexapro completely and increase the amount of Zoloft I take.

I'm having a really hard time with anticipatory anxiety and panic attacks recently **EVEN BEFORE MAKING THE SWITCH OF MEDICATIONS**... Even right at this very moment I am EXTREMELY on edge. I've felt like I've been on the verge of a major panic attack ALL DAY. Yesterday and the days before I have had major panic attacks, I have not YET had one today but I feel like I'm just milliseconds away.

My anxiety is centered around health worries, I always fear that I am about to die. My doctor is convinced it's nothing more than anxiety but I haven't had any REAL tests done in YEARS. The only things I've had done recently were the routine stethoscope tests for heart and lungs and a blood test. How can I trust my doctor when he says I'm healthy and that I don't NEED any further testing beyond those basics?

Every single time I have a major panic attack I honestly believe I'm dying and want to call an ambulance but every single time I eventually get back to a state of far less anxiety and feel better (still sick, but undeniably more calm). Why do I get tricked to think I'm dying every single time even though the worst always passes? I always TRY to tell myself that it's nothing and that it will pass and that I'm not dying but it never ever works. I try to slow down my breathing, I try to distract myself, I try everything and I still feel like I could die at any second of any moment.

When I'm at my worst I feel some of, all of, or a mixture of the following (my symptoms are constantly changing or morphing over the course of a few weeks but some core symptoms always stay the same):
-Choking feeling/lump in throat like my throat may close causing me to suffocate
-Chest pressure/discomfort/tightness like I cannot get a deep breathe and I cannot hold my breathe for longer than seconds at a time
-Difficulty Swallowing
-Extreme fear of dying
-Hyperventilation/heavy and fast breathing that I can't seem to slow down (I try breathing techniques but fail)
-The need to take off all my clothes if I'm home (If I'm outside I feel the need to escape)
-I become wide-eyed and unable to focus the same way a scared animal would while scanning their surroundings for danger
-I become very easily frightened by things such as unexpected noises or the like
-Chest pain
-Stomach ache/nausea
-Twitching/shaking/extreme fidgeting
-Constantly putting my hand to my chest to see if my heart is beating, or if it is fast or slow or if I can feel it at all
-Constantly taking my temperature
-Constantly performing an asthma test (Peak Flow) to see if I'm breathing okay despite never being diagnosed with any kind of asthma
-Constantly sipping on liquids to see if I can swallow or not
-Turning the air conditioning on or opening the window if I'm in the car in an attempt to get more air
-Tensing my muscles/pinching myself/clenching my fists/grinding my teeth/biting my arm/biting my lip

When I'm having a "good" day I usually only feel:
-Stomach aches/extreme indigestion
-Shortness of breath
-Lump in throat
and more but they are to lesser degrees and last all day long

Does this sound like anxiety? Should I demand more tests from my doctor or should I accept his judgement that I am in indeed physically healthy? What can I do for myself when I'm so on edge and nothing seems to work and what can I do when I do get a major panic attack and feel like I could die at any second?

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Offline Julie A. Cook

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WorryWort, Zoloft isa wonderful drug and it worked  forme for years.  Now I am in your shoes and have been switched to Lexapro, whichI haven't founf nearly as effective, but I'm still holding hope. 

Ifyour dotorr has assred you're just anxious, believe him.  You have had this conditiion for years and it's in your power (and mine) to help ourselves along with the medicaion and therapy, and I do hope you are seeing a therapist.

Hang tough and remember all the good years you had.  You'll get back to htem.  It takes time.  Zoloft was my miracle!

Best regards,

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Offline tinam7

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We have a relative with the same issue. Ends up in the ER, drives everyone crazy. It is her extreme fear of death which gives her no peace. Coming to terms with what is there for all of us, no exceptions, will help put you at ease.

In addition to the meds you probably want some talk therapy. Maybe learn about CBT, gentle exercise, journal writing, meditation. Some analysis of your life until now. What you look for in the future. There is hope, you will get much, much better.
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