Are they normal? I'm 48 and seem to be having alot of them lately. Any ideas on how to cope with them? Especially at work and in public?
Yes, a lot of women experience increased anxiety and panic attacks, especially if you already have a predisposition to them.
The most important step is what you are doing. Talking about it and seeking help early. Refuse to let it control your life.
Please talk to your gyn about this. Have you had your hormones tested? If not, once you do, your physician can advise you. There are supplements, therapy, and if necessary, short term drugs that will help.
I started having panic attacks in the car when I started menopause. We all have certain triggers. Figure out what your triggers are. Mine is the fact that I've always been claustrophic. Now I can't do planes, elevators, even crowds b/c now these things cause a full blown panic attack.
What helps me the most is NOT contrating on the situation. If you realize it's triggered from your thoughts, you'll be better able to overcome them. I'm still having to cope with the anxiety, but that's ok, as long as I'm able to control the panic attack.
We're all learning here and will give you support however it's needed. You'll get through just fine.
They can be a trial, but while in the moment, concentrate on breathing. It will be hard initially, but just keep trying to take slow, deep breaths, hold for a few seconds and let the breath out. Your breathing affects your bodies response to anxiety. And know, that your symptoms WILL DEFINITELY go away. Also, a good thing to do is rate your anxiety level on a scale of 10 to 1. 10 being a full blown panic attack. You may feel that it's always at a 10, but you'll see that it slowly goes down and you'll know that you're not always in a panic state.
Keep in touch.
My dr. prescribed 25mg of Paxil for me. It has helped so much with my panicky feelings & anxiety.
The Paxil helped me also. I took it for 6 mos, while I worked on my anxiety and triggers. I still felt very much myself w/o the anxiety. It was great.
For me, the thing that worked was self talk. When I began to feel anxious or panicy, I would tell myself "this is just your hormones, nothing bad is happening" and I would take a few deep breaths and think about something else. I did this every time until they passed. I haven't had any for several years but I also quit drinking caffeinated coffee around that time too, which helped me a LOT though I drank only one cup a day.
I'd try self talk again and quit drinking coffee and anything else before I'd take medication. Our mind is very powerful and our ability to calm ourselves and change our thinking patterns is much stronger than we think. It begins with small steps and as we flex that "muscle" it gets stronger and stronger until it overtakes the tendency to be anxious.
I speak from experience because I've had anxiety for most of my life (passed along from my mother's side, a long line of anxious women!).
In my experience, the worse thing about panic attacks is the fear of having another one. For me, that fear of having another one, when I'm in a similar situation to which I had one before, is what my minds keys into and actually cause another attack.
Jenn is right on about talking to yourself. I've learned to tell myself "There's nothing wrong, I'm ok" and I immediately force my mind to concentrate on something else. It really works if you can talk yourself through. Take it slow and don't beat yourself up if you don't conquer the fear right away. It takes time and practice to build your confidence back up.
A book called "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weeks, will help you get rid of those panic attacks permenately. It really works, because I read it, did what she said, and I no longer have them. :) Arum
I spent a week in the hospital this year for panic attacks/fear. I am 52 years old, still having occassional periods. I have spent the last 5 years dealing with rebellious teens (sons) (drugs, drinking, court, rehab...) and after everything got a lot better for them this summer (drug/tobacco/alcohol free and pleasant outlook) I totally lost it. The tips others have given on this site are a regular part of my life now. Another thing that helps me...I write a sticky note to myself and put it on my computer or above the sink, etc..."YOU ARE SAFE". Sometimes I say it outloud to myself also. Reading the Psalms has also been calming...He will never leave me.
I am 40 and starting to notice some premenopause signs. one of them was anxiety, what helped me a lot was cutting back caffine and increasing calcium. the anxiety was pretty bad there were 4 or 5 days every month i could bearly function. i feel more my old self now... easy and worth a try.
I know the feeling and it can be overwhelming!!!!!! Someone told me about a book they had read and suggested I read it. The name of the book is "Peace From Nervous Suffering" by Dr. Claire Weeks. This book helped me soooo much and even today, twelve years after getting it, if I'm going to fly somewhere I read over the parts that I have underlined to give myself a little refresher about what to focus on. I still have trouble on elevators sometimes but I get through it. Get the book! I hope this helps you! Good luck!!!!
My doctor's prescription for Clonazepam turned my life around. Had severe, frequent panic attacks many years before menopause, and hardly any since. As a school teacher (high stress), I've been able to function normally with this med!
This is serious condition necessary to get under control; please don't take lightly and do get the right, effective treatment asap. A panic attack can mimic a heart attack in women especially, and you need to be able to tell the difference. What if you have a heart attack and attribute it to a panic attack? Clonazepam is controversial with some, yes, but I think much overrated re negative opinions. I've never had any trouble going off and on it again as needed for about 13 years at 5-6mg/day. Doctors seem to be split about 50-50 (it's the "azepam" part that that scares them along with the horror stories stemming from the historical habit of freely overprescribing benzodiazepams). Some antidepressants do have anti-anxiety properties, but why go through the awful process of building up a tolerance if not depressed? And putting who knows what junk in your system, and which can't be mixed with a lot of things you wouldn't think of (I tried prozac for one, felt fluish, took some Nyquil and got Serotonim Syndrome which aside from being very unpleasant to say the least, could have easily killed me).
I've had anxiety issues, but I think I had my first full-fledged panic attack this past weekend.
We lost power at our summer place in Pennsylvania. Trying to sleep in pitch black, not having my fan running (white noise which I need) and it being hot as blazes triggered something inside me. I felt like everything was closing in on me, my heart was pounding and I couldn't breathe.
I sat on the floor by the open window so I could breathe, but I really wanted to run outside to escape.
Thankfully the power went on about 4 hours later, and I started feeling better.
Never want to go through that again.
I have been on meds all of my adult life for depression and anxiety and I am 44 yrs old. Last 8 months or so, due to my falling into peri-meno, my anxiety has been through the roof. Luckily I have a doctor that understands so I am on klonipin and xanax and they keep me sain!