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Old 10-01-2004, 10:40 PM
tranq_tryptizol tranq_tryptizol is offline
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Default anxiety attacks / alcohol / diet / enegy drinks

I have been suffering attacks for around a year. They started off as being violently awoken during sleep. I consulted my then GP who told me this was quite normal. In recent months the attacks increased in regularity, and began to happen during the day. Several times I called 999 as I thought I was having a seizure. Being ushered into the healing confines of a ward seemed to quell the symptoms which included a racing heart and difficulty breathing.

The doctors at hospital, then my new GP, diagnosed the symptons as anxiety related. At first I was convinced they were physical related to my rather poor diet, regular drinking and smoking (10-15 a day).
It ties in with my having had bouts of depression since a semi-breakdown ten years ago. However panic attacks were new to me and at first I didn't know what was happening.

This must all sound like standard stuff to you, I'm sure but...

My questions at present are:

1) Is the Propranolol the corect drug to be prescibed to me?

2) for a while I have been addicted to the energy drink Red Bull (even after the attacks, when normal, i can't often resist drinking this...no other drink seems to have the same effect). Is this likely to be a sole cause of the attacks. My dependence matches the start of the attacks.

3) I like to drink regularly when out (maybe 2-3 nights a week). Is this a major factor ? I can't envisage a social life without being able to drink.

4) I smoke, and trying to give up would lead to a relapse in my depression. Can smoking more increase panic atacks ? yes, probably I reckon.

5) My diet is poor because often the idea of eating disgusts me. I hate most vegetables. I rely on pasta, meat, cheese, ham, bread, orange juice, milk and shredded wheat cereal. This is the best i can do on a daily basis. I can't cook, and could never keep up the effort required to cook 'proper' meals. Vegetable soup is the only way I can face eating vegetables. How can I improve my diet without having to do the boring tasks of preparing food. I take multi-vitamins sometimes.

I know there is room for improvement in my life, but realistically there is only so much a young man like me is capable of sticking to. How can I keep life sufficiently enjoyable. These panic attacks are making me sad, depressed and isolated (I can't go out for fear of suffering next day attacks...)

Joe, London
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Old 10-02-2004, 01:42 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
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Dear Joeó
The dietary factors you mentioned (especially the caffeine drink) can certainly exacerbate anxiety and panic, but are probably only secondary to the more important issues of control and insecurity. Start by taking a look at my articles at the website. Next, Iíd like you to understand that anxiety and panic have everything to do with lack of confidence and self-distrust. Essentially, anxiety is a symptom of overthinking. Because of insecurity, youíve become a victim of control (worrying, anticipating, controlling, etc.). Since controlling life seems like a viable response to feeling insecure, you unwittingly become part of a spiral/habit of worry, rumination, fear, and doubt. Itís this congested, insecurity-driven thinking that leads to symptoms of anxiety. In my book The Power of Self-Coaching, I lay out a five-step program for learning to reestablish trust and diminish the dependency on control and overthinking. This is the point where anxiety stops. Anxiety canít exist once you learn to stop feeding it.
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