Hi guys, I'm sorry if this gets too long but I'm really worried about my dad. He has been suffering from agoraphobia for 20 years now. He cannot go to the post office, markets, doctor, traffic, and cannot go further than 5 miles from our home. The problem is that he has developed hypertension over the years. He is on self medication of Valsartan and keeps his blood preassure at 130/92 approximately. That is the reason that paniv scares him more than before. He believes that he will get a heart attack because of hypertension when panic attacks. He says that when he was younger and physically healtier he used to go for a walk and go to the doctor when he had panic attacks. Now he can't, he hasn't been to a doctor in years. I really want to help him but he just won't believe when he hears that panic attacks are not dangerous. Please if you have any advice on what to do I would highly appreciate it. It hurts so much to see this wonderful person live his life in fear and almost in prison... thank you in advance
Not wishing to alarm you and not knowing much about your father's condition, I would say that a panic attack can be dangerous if it manifests as a sustained and dramatic elevation in heart rate. However, beta blockers and ARBs tend to keep the heart rhythm in control so I don't think that should be a problem other than you mentioned that your father is self medicating his ARB. Hopefully he has instructions from a Doctor for the self administration of his ARB who (the Doctor) is aware of his panic disorder.
If your father has not been treated with an anti-depressant approved for Panic disorder I would highly recommend that he either see a Doctor or you speak with a Doctor about starting him on such an anti-depressant. There are a few that have been approved and have proven effective at a low to moderate dosage level. The list includes: Fluoxetine (20-30 mg); Sertraline (50-75 mg); Paroxetine (20-30 mg); Venlafaxine ER (75-112.5 mg). The dosage ranges are targets and the drug should be started at levels below the ranges and kept there for at least a month before being brought up to the low end of the range. The patient should be kept at the low end of the range for at least one month before concluding whether that dosage is adequate. If it isn't, the patient should be take to the high-end of the dosage range. Some patients may require dosing above the top end of the dosing range.
These medications could prove to be a life changer for your father assuming he keeps his alcohol consumption well within moderate limits.
Take care for now and all the best
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