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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes you to have sudden panic attacks. The panic attacks may occur anywhere at any time, even while you are asleep. You may begin to worry when the panic attacks will happen again. Your behavior may change, and you may not want to go out with family and friends.
- Medicines , such as antianxiety and antidepressants, may be given to treat panic disorder. You may need to take antidepressants for several weeks before you begin to feel better. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects or problems you have with your medicine. Sometimes the type or amount of medicine may need to be changed.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or psychiatrist as directed:
Your healthcare provider will monitor your progress at follow-up visits. He will also monitor your medicine if you are taking antidepressants. He will ask if medicine is helping to reduce your symptoms. Tell him about any side effects or problems you have with your medicine. Sometimes the type or amount of medicine may need to be changed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Keep a diary of your panic attacks:
Write down how often you have panic attacks, how long they last, and the symptoms you had. Write down whether or not there was anything that happened right before the panic attack. Write down whether there were things that helped to ease or stop your panic attack. Bring your diary with you every time you see your healthcare provider.
- Avoid foods and drinks that have caffeine. These may include coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. Ask your healthcare provider how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
- Get regular physical activity. Exercise can help decrease stress and anxiety. Talk to your healthcare provider before you start to exercise. Together you can plan the best exercise program for you.
- Manage your stress. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation or deep breathing. Talk to someone about things that upset you.
Contact your healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:
- You have new symptoms since you last saw your healthcare provider.
- Your worry keeps you from doing daily tasks such as work or caring for yourself or your family.
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You feel lightheaded, too dizzy to stand up, or you faint.
- You feel like harming yourself.
- You have chest pain, tightness, or heaviness that spreads to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.