I can't pinpoint a trigger because I'm constantly panicking

My therapist wants me to journal when my panic attacks start so we can identify a trigger. She says there has to be one for me to panic but.. I'm always in a panic? Sometimes it heightens, when the anxiety starts to make me feel really depersonalized and sick, or when I am stressed over any small thing. I don't think there's any one specific trigger. The anxiety is non-stop but therapists don't seem to understand that. Every time I go in she asks how many panic attacks I had over the past week and it's like "Um one?? But it lasted all week??" The only trigger seems to be the anxiety itself and the awful physical symptoms that come with it. But I never stop panicking. Been on tons of meds, the only one that's ever helped in Xanax but now my therapist tells me I'm addicted to it. She says I should be able to calm down without it. As if every time I go to the psychiatrist they don't just prescribe me more. I'm so frustrated right now lol. When I explained my derealisation to her she said she'd never heard of anything like that! Which doesn't exactly put my mind at rest lol. I'm honestly sick of therapists and psychiatrists... I feel like they don't listen, they just do what they know how to do by the book and I'm not a "by the book" case..


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6 Replies

  • Anxiety disorder can last a life time, any decent therapist or psychiatrist knows that. My feeling, form what you have written, is that your therapist is trying to pin point the level and extent of the panic attacks you have. In most cases panic attacks peak at about ten minutes and then begin to wind down. Other people may suffer 'low level' panic attacks which can last for several hours. The disorder itself is present even if there is no actual panic attack going on. That might be what the therapist is saying. Its not that someone has a never ending 24/7 panic attack. I am sure you know that panic attacks have specific symptoms - they also usually have various triggers. For me, it was clear, any chest pain at all had me in a panic attack. In my case because i had heart attack earlier this year. Of course everyone is different and there is no template for dealing with absolutely everyone. But the therapist is for sure correct about triggers. If there were no triggers there would be no panic attack. It would be interesting to know what kind of therapist you see. Any decent therapist would be dealing with you as an individual, but based on years of experience and practice. It may be that you have a point about psychiatrists, who are sometimes so tied to their medical/medication model.Medication can be helpful in the short term of course. The fact that they say you have become addicted shows that they have not taken care of you properly. Medication is there to allow you space to develop coping mechanisms. Medication is not the cure for panic disorder.

  • First, patients quickly become immune to benzodiazepines, especially Xanax. And yes, Xanax and all benzodiazepines are very addictive, which is not your fault. Second, have you ever been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder? It makes a person feel anxiety all the time, sometimes severe anxiety. I do not know what other medications you are taking, but maybe your doctor should change one of your medications in exchange for a different type of drug. Also, some patients are taught coping skills to help them with their anxiety. Some patients try meditation and listening to soft and smoothing music.

  • You really need to see another therapist immediately who have heard of derealization and depersonalization. Also, Google depersonalization. You will find help there. Journaling is good, but do it all the time, throughout the day and don't be shy about telling the truth about your feelings: detached from self, dazed, like you're going crazy, unreal feelings, etc. You are not alone. You are not going crazy. Praying for you, Someone.

  • Hi I had panic attacks for about 2-3 months! Had no idea they were panic attacks, till my sister joined us on a big trip toNashville, Tennessee! She told me I was having panic attacks and better go bak on my cymbalta! I was prescribed CYMBALTA wen My Beloved son passed away at age 24! Years later I didn't want to be on any meds! Xanax too, but only 1 mg at night to make me sleep! I refused in the day! I still take them at certain times of year! This time of year very difficult because Jesse my only child(had trouble with pregnancy) passed in Dec. 6, 2006! I suggest you ask doc for antidepressants! It helped me after about 2-4 weeks later! I didn't even want to leave the house! My attacks lasted all day too! Just to go down and do the laundry was a panic! Any thing I did I panicked first! Cymbalta is good because it has 2 things in it such as seritonin and another ingredient for brain chemical! Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you do? Since I restarted the cymbalta I've had nonPANIC ATTACS! I also suggest you see A Psychopharmacologist! They have special degrees in Pharmacilogy that help people who can't be helped by you everyday Psychiatrist! They don't listen to us! Please try this and my prayers are with you! GODSPEED!!!

  • Dearest Someone, being addicted to Xanax is real. I've been there. Actually the feeling of being addicted to a benzo is anxiety. Yes, the drug wants more in your system and to insure that, you get even higher levels of anxiety. Your body may need a break from the benzo it's gotten so use to. BUT...not without the help of a doctor taking you off slowly, very slowly. I did it and it's one of the most proudest thing I've done. It's a slow process but well worth it. My mind is clearer, I feel more alive. Oh, my GAD is still there and probably always will but not to the same degree as when on benzo. The psychiatrist said I will always be anxious and when I asked him what I could take in an emergency, he prescribed Xanax. And so the bottle sits on the shelf. Most doctors want to help their patients feel better sometimes that being a fault of the medical profession. Sometimes, our anxiety makes us feel like we are on a merry go round of trials and errors of medications. We may not be able to cure anxiety but we can control it or make it less intensive by using coping skills. My heart goes out to you and everyone else who suffers from this monster called "anxiety". My best dear.

  • Hmmmm, that is problem with Xanax, addiction . If it helped, I say who cares but seems like you are saying it does not help you . For me , if I think back to what I was thinking about just before panic attack hits , that is my trigger for that one and need to talk positive to my mind , kinda like changing the channel on TV but it is my mind . Also sounds like you are panicking over thought of having an attack which makes it a constant panic . Maybe you should research how to calm yourself, find something that will help you focus on something besides the attack . Prayer helps me calm down . You might also consider a new therapist since you don't sound like you are connecting with the one you have. No one should have to live in a constant panic attack, not good for your body either . 😘

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