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Help for Panic Attacks

Q: I've always been a pretty anxious, on-edge person but two months ago my nerves reached a new high and I had a panic attack. My doctor put me on Alprazolam, and it's really helped put me at ease. The problem is, now I'm exhausted all the time. I've even dozed off at work! Isn't there any way to deal with anxiety without the drugs and their annoying side effects?

Dr. Donnica:
Alprazolam is also known by its brand name Xanax™. This medicine is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Unfortunately, all medicines have side effects and as you've experienced, fatigue is one of the most common. In general, there are no non-medical ways to prevent or treat panic attacks. Since your condition has improved significantly since starting this medicine, you may want to ask your doctor if you can try decreasing the dose. Simultaneously, you may want to try non-medical ways of managing your anxiety. There are therapists who specialize in working with people who experience anxiety attacks. Be sure to eliminate caffeine (I know that's tough when you're feeling fatigued from your medicines!). In addition, making sure that you get regular aerobic exercise should help.

Created: 9/14/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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