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Author Topic: Panic attacks while driving  (Read 604 times)

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Offline redoslingberg

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Panic attacks while driving
« on: May 16, 2014, 07:24:33 PM »
Hello all!  Just a brief introduction, and then I have a few questions!
I sustained a concussion back in January, and since then I have had panic attacks/anxiety when before my injury, I never had these issues.
My biggest stressor is driving.  For whatever reason, any time I get in a car by myself, I have a panic attack.  My doctor prescribed propranolol/xanax, but switched me to lorazepam after about three months of taking the xanax.
I am currently trying to taper myself off the lorazepam to see how I do with just the propranolol, because I don't want to stay on a benzo forever.
My questions are this:  What do you do if you too have anxiety over driving?  I've tried listening to music, I've tried just sitting in silence, and it doesn't seem like either of them are very beneficial to me.  I try to do positive self-talk ("you're going to be okay, you can pull over if you need to", etc. etc.), and sometimes that does help me, but other times it gets me nowhere.
My other question is this, I'm currently down to 0.25mg of lorazepam per day, do you think it would be acceptable to have a drink on this dose if I take the lorazepam as soon as I woke up & don't plan to drink for at least 12 hours after taking my dose for the day?
I really appreciate any input, I am mostly alone in this journey, as my doctor is more likely to throw prescriptions at me than he is to help me successfully overcome this, so some days are harder than others.
Thank you again for any suggestions!
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Offline MobileChucko

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Re: Panic attacks while driving
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 01:48:14 PM »
Hello Red, and welcome to Anxiety Zone!  My name is Chuck, and I am one of the Global Moderators here on the site.

You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations.   It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.

We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation.  Feel free to explore the rest of the forum.  You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.

We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18.  Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.

To begin with, propranolol, a sympatholytic non-selective beta blocker, is not really an effective agent to treat panic disorder/panic attacks.  It is more effective for forms of social anxiety, such as stage fright, experienced by actors/musicians.  It is nice to here that you are tapering off your lorazepam, as the benzodiazepines are tranquilizers that were always intended for temporary, short term use, and can be both addictive, and have some fairly severe withdrawal symptoms.

The actual medication of choice for panic disorder/attacks are the anti-depressants (such as Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro).  Many can find that therapy can be as effective as the anti-depressants.  Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the treatment of choice for panic disorder with or without panic attacks and agoraphobia.

Red, I see a psychiatrist, and she is in charge of my mental health needs.  Psychiatrists are medical doctors, so they can provide you with a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and tailor a treatment plan specific for your needs.  I am also learning CBT from my therapist, who is a psychologist.  Other avenues that help are daily exercise, meditation, eating a healthy diet, and the use of omega 3/fish oil, to name a few.

I hope this information helps you.

Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone.  The very best to you, Red!...  Chuck :grinning-smiley-003:
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Offline dee_tee

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Re: Panic attacks while driving
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 07:34:56 PM »
Hi redoslingberg,

I wanted to see how you were doing with your driving.......I feel really weird every time I drive too. I have a lot of anxiety and even if I calm, the second I'm behind the wheel I start getting shaky and sweaty. Its getting ridiculous and I don't know how to handle it!
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Offline curlyhair

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Re: Panic attacks while driving
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2014, 10:20:16 PM »

I had panic attacks while driving too, it wasnt the driving that was causing it (i think) it was just that I had more panic attacks while driving than in any other place.  It got so bad that I stopped driving for 3 weeks.  I tried everything, talking to myself, talking with someone on the phone, putting a rubberband in my wrist and pulling it so it would hurt a little to see if that would take my mind off the panic attack etc... nothing worked, what really worked for me was xanax, the first time I took xanax and drove, I cried because of how normal I was feeling, I was feeling normal again.. I am not too happy depending on xanax either, even though I take a small dose (supposed to take .5mg 3 times a day and only take .25 mg twice a day and an extra when really anxious)  I still feel a little scared to go to far places by myself, but honestly xanax helped me alot, and it makes me feel so normal that as of now, I do not want to find another alternative pill. 
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