It is hard to believe but I am now free of anxiety/panic attacks! Here's how it happened. I am currently 27 and have been having what I have been told were panic attacks since June 2008. June of 2008 was a very busy month! I was diagnosed with asthma, sleep apnea disorder, along with enlarged tonsils (which were causing breathing issues). FOr the asthma I was put on a few inhalers (Proventil and Advair 100/50), for the sleep apnea I was given a CPAP machine (basically a machine with a tube connected to the nose that increases air inhalation while sleeping), and for the enlarged tonsils a tonsillectomy set up for the end of July 2008.
I noticed a few weeks into June, after all these new diagnosis, I had my first panic attack while driving from a friends house. I had an immediate sense of fear and panic so started driving towards the nearest hospital/urgent care facility. about half way to the hspital I almost pulled over to call an ambulance because I was hyperventilating (first for this experience as well) and I didn't think I would make it in time. Doctor said I was having a panic attack, had me breathe something (possible some steroid thing) and I calmed down after about 20 minutes.
After this event I had started having panic attacks about once a week, really bad ones with my weekend hangover from a night of trying every drink at the bar. After the tonsillectomy a month later I went 2 weeks without any attacks and thought I was doing really well, I was wrong. My panic attacks started to happen stronger and more often. As the months went by I would get the panic attacks worse and worse, more and more till I was having multiple a day. I would panic about leaving the house!
I finally went in to see a doctor who said I wasn't having panic attacks but anxiety attacks. First reaction was what were anxiety attacks and what's the difference between anxiety and panic. The doctor gave me some low doses of citalopram that he wanted me to gradually go up in dose on. I said sure thing, anything is better than what I am going through now! He did not tell me there was side effects!! After one full day of taking the citalopram I started having double the anxiety attacks, severe mood change, incredibly suicidal, plus much more. I called the doctor and told him what was happening and he said calmly, "those are a few of the common side effects so let's try you on something else".
He then put me on Wellbutrin XL 150mg (my suggestion since a family member takes it and has no issues at 150mg). After 1 week of 150mg he wanted me to bump up to 300mg. No problems with the 150mg, but 300mg gave me a horrible constant headache. I took the 300mg Wellbutrin XL for 2 more weeks then went in to see the doctor as scheduled before the citalopram fun. I told the doctor I was having anxiety attacks still but the Wellbutrin had made me quit smoking (awesome pill for that btw, I had been smoking for 8 years) and I feel great when I wake up in the mornings...but, I have had a constant headache that all pain relievers will not relieve.
DOctor said, "Ok, we will put you on some Buspar in addition". Great another pill I have to take, let alone twice a day now (I don't enjoy taking pills at all, especially long term). So I started the following morning with 7.5mg of Buspar, and another 7.5mg of Buspar in the evening. I started to feel better but still the constant headache! After 5 days of 7.5mg Buspar twice a day I was instructed to jump up to 15mg of Buspar twice a day. First morning of this jump, about an hour after taking the pill, I started to lose all feelings of my arms, hands, legs, and feet with a horrible headace still. Left work confused and scared out of my mind! Went to sleep for 3 hours and woke up better. Called the doctor and told him, Buspar is not working, I want off now, what's the best way to quit this med. He said to just stop taking it since I am on the low amount of it anyway. I also suggested the idea that the 300mg of Wellbutrin may have been causing the constant headaches and that I maybe should drop down to 150mg to see if they go away. He agreed. After a few days of taking only 150mg of Wellbutrin XL the headaches went away and the anxiety attacks still the same intensity and the same amount per day.
One night I was lying in bed, calm after taking a Xanax, questioning myself what could have possibly caused these anxiety/panic attacks to hit me out of the blue and why were they intensifying in how many and how often? I have thrown this idea many times, especially during an attack, but always came to the same conclusion. It must be nervousness before the tonsillectomy surgery (even though I don't remember being nervous, more excited to be on the road to better health). This night I found the answer, a different answer then what I have been getting for the last few months. It was on February 10th, lying in bed at about 11pm. I realized I had started the CPAP machine about a week before these attacks started. I also realized that before using this machine I had my whole life breathed through my mouth when breathing normally. That's right I was a mouth breather, haha, instead of breathing through my nose at all times.
This CPAP machine had taught me to breathe through my nose while having it hooked up to my nose all night. I had stopped using this machine back in August of 2008 because my roommates said I was over my sleep apnea and I was breathing normal instead of sounding like I was dying/stop breathing for multiple minutes. So, from August 2008 till February 10th I breathed through my nose when I was sleeping and when I was awake.
So starting February 10th at 11pm I threw some tissues in my nose and made myself sleep all night breathing through my mouth. Also the next day at work I would concentrate on breathing through my mouth (walking around with tissues in my nose didn't sound like the best idea). I did have a few attacks sneak up on me this day but as soon as they crept up I noticed I was breathing through my nose and immediately started to breathe through my mouth and they went away as quick as they crept up on me. Today is March 3rd and I can honestly say that I have not had a panic attack, anxiety attack, or anything similar to an attack since February 12th. Took me 2 days to retrain me to breathe through my mouth again and am thankful everyday to be rid of those scary events.
Now that I recall, I have had 2 different doctors within the last 6 month tell me that my nose was congested. My reply each time was that it didn't feel congested. Both doctor's told me that maybe congested is a normal feeling for me. So this is my story of how I overcame horrid anxiety/panic attacks and am hoping this helps a few people to overcome these attacks. I am no doctor, or anything close to one, but I believe that my anxiety/panic attacks (possibly everyone's attacks, who knows) was caused by lack of oxygen to the brain by breathing through the nose which caused my brain to panic but once I breathed through my mouth my brain got sufficient oxygen and withdrew the panics. If you have any kind of allergies that make you congested in your nose or/and breathe through your nose and want to give this a go try breathing through your mouth for a few days and see how you feel. Obviously you should speak to your doctor first and do not stop medications without consulting your doctor, can't stress that enough!
Thanks for reading this and if anyone tries this and it works please let me know! I must say I do not check out these boards much any more so please send me an email ( email removed, please post it in your profile, thank you, Kitt) I do appreciate all those who have posted in here for it helped me learn more about these attacks and gave me hope through the worst of the attacks, Thank You!!!
*Just added some paragraphs to make it easier to read:)
Post Edited By Moderator (Nanners) : 3/3/2009 8:10:18 AM (GMT-7)