This is part three of a self-help program designed to help you achieve mastery over panic attacks. If you have happened onto this article by chance, and you wish to follow the program, please click on ‘part one' (above).
Recap: In part one, you set up a diary/log to record and rate your panic episodes. In part two, you added the ratings previously obtained. I then concluded by introducing the idea of coping strategies, the first of which was, ‘getting away from the situation.'In this Sharepost, I want to consider another common coping strategy, and the issue of medication.
People visit their doctor when they feel ill, so it's not surprising if you've already done so, possibly on several occasions. Of course the whole point of a visit to the doctor is the desire to be treated. As much as your doctor will try to help, he or she has limited resources as far as treating panic attacks is concerned. I'm not suggesting that a visit to the doctor is a waste of time, but in terms of how you ultimately need to help yourself, it has its limitations.
The most obvious outcome from a consultation is to be prescribed medication. In the case of anxiety, the most commonly prescribed medications will be tranquillizers. Medication certainly has its uses but it also presents the anxious person with another issue, and that is dependency. Becoming dependent on medication is an easy thing to happen, and once it does, a problem occurs where the person starts to believe that only their medication can control their symptoms. The paradox here is that it could very well be your drugs that help to create your symptoms.
As levels of drugs are withdrawn they may create withdrawal effects in the form of increased anxiety or panic attacks. Of course these symptoms subside if you then take the medication. The combined effect serves to convince you that it is only your medication that is helping to keep your monster at bay.
If you are taking prescription medication you should not stop. If you feel ready to move forward with this self-help program, or you simply wish to stop taking tranquillizers, you really need to speak to your doctor first. Then, after proper consultation, you can begin.
Once you start you should expect some withdrawal symptoms. These do vary from person to person with some people feeling hardly any. Not only are you beginning to remove your physical dependence, but also your psychological dependence, and this may not be easy. Rather like people who decide to stop smoking, you may find that it takes more than one attempt. But, if you keep trying and remind yourself of why you are doing this, there is every reason to feel positive about the outcome.
In the next Sharepost, we'll look at some techniques and strategies to help you beat your panic attacks.