Panic: Statements We've Heard But We Don't Like
All of the statements below were made to us at The Anxiety Clinic by people on the phone or in person. Although the nightmare the person has been through makes these statements very real to them,
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS UNTRUE.
"My doctor told me I’d suffer from these anxiety attacks for the rest of my life....."
Advice: Get a new doctor that understands panic and/or agoraphobia and keeps up with the latest research.
"My next door neighbor has had panic attacks for twenty-eight years and she’s not any better. There must not be any hope for me either....."
Advice: Read up on the latest research, done in the 1990's. Not only is there hope, there is demonstrable, solid help. No one has to live with a debilitating anxiety disorder anymore.
"I don’t want to be drugged out on six or seven medications....."
Advice: If you are only talking about panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, you do NOT need to be on six or seven medications. Something is wrong. The first line of defense for panic, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder is a mild anti-anxiety medication. Keep in mind that every person is different, however, and professional, medical advice is needed. One other medication may be helpful as well, depending on the particular anxiety problem and the severity of the condition. Consult your psychiatrist, but seek a medical person who specializes in the anxiety disorders and again, keeps up with the latest research.
"No therapist understands what I’m going through. I’m getting used to these attacks and I’ll just live and die with them....."
Advice: It may be difficult, but find a therapist who DOES know what you're going through. Here is a little known fact: It is much easier in the other psychological areas for a trained professional to treat people. For example, because everyone goes through "depressing" days it is easier for the therapist to understand the pain their patient with depression is going through.
The anxiety disorders are different, however. Not many therapists ever had a panic attack or has lived with a constantly high level of anxiety as socially-anxious people do. It is very hard for people who haven't gone through an anxiety disorder to understand those of us who have.
Even at professional meetings, I am surprised at the misfocus, lack of a clear understanding, and the vagueness of the language when the topic turns to the anxiety disorders. Therefore, finding a therapist who has gone through one of the anxiety disorders and has overcome it is definitely your best bet. Look at universities that support anxiety disorders clinics and at local anxiety disorder clinics that specialize in treating just the anxiety disorders. For best results, stay away from the therapist/psychologist who advertises or claims they can treat all kinds of psychological problems. You need a specialist in this area.
"When I went to the hospital, they said it was all in my head and that I was making it all up. Does that mean I’m crazy?"
Advice: Absolutely not. No one with panic has ever gone "crazy". It is impossible for a person with panic and/or agoraphobia to become psychotic. Anxiety people are too much in contact with reality, and know they have a problem, whereas people with psychotic problems are OUT of touch with reality and usually will not recognize or admit they have a problem. What they should have told you at the hospital is that you're physically fine and that you suffered from a panic attack. And then, they should have referred you to an anxiety disorder specialist.