How to handle an elder suffering from escalating panic attacks?

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Dad died in 2010 and mum's confidence took a dive. She had an isolated panic attack about 3 years ago, but since December 2014 (following a fall and hospitalization) they have become more frequent - several in the past few days. She is on low dose Citalopram which has helped with her general anxiety but done nothing for the PAs. I'm trying to be encouraging, but just don't know what to do when an attack strikes and am a bit concerned I'm making things worse. I was hoping someone else might have handled this.

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Sendme2help gave a good example of how to "talk yourself down" or work your panic down by your own thinking. There's a whole school of thought that's quite successful in helping people manage their anxiety through the way someone thinks about and looks at their feelings and thoughts about anxiety and depression, also. Dr. Abraham Low started it before there was medication for these 2 problems and was very successful with many patients. It shows how powerful our minds are. There are still groups in some locations where you can learn these techniques. Some counselors probably can help with this, too. It takes time and practice before it can work when a person is in an extreme state of panic. In lesser states of panic and depression it starts working sooner. It probably falls under a different name these days.
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My panic attacks were from real or perceived rejection. My sister said to always call someone once this happened. For example, even if someone hurt my feelings. Panic attack averted! Glad sis was there, or a friend.
Today, I just repeat "Nothing bad is happening now", if that should happen, and it rarely does anymore.
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I have no problem getting my Klonipin with a twice yearly visit with my Psych doc., and I have not heard that it is being phased out, nor that Xanax is being phased out. Valium has been around for 60+ years. Other drugs are always being developed, but I think that the tried and trues and always going to be with us. Yep, Benzos are not under the scrutiny that the narcotic drugs are under---as far as the OP, I do wish you luck in finding something for you mom. Being anxious over even possibly "pleasant events" is real and uncomfortable. Just being aware of the person suffering anxiety, VALIDATING that it is "REAL" and not just in your head..is helpful., I know when my hubby tells me to calm down and get a grip, I will inevitably feel much worse. Your mom's anxiety is a real as a sore throat or headache. Keep on trying to find a good drug match for her. Benzodiazepenes work almost immediately, but also "leave" fairly quickly. antidepressants take time, esp when working with anxiety--you may need to try a few different ones for your mom to find the right mix. Sounds like you are taking good care of her and keeping her safe.
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I suffered with Panic attacks years ago. I know how mine was successfully treated, but I don't know that would work for a senior in her 80's.

I will say that my cousin, who is 63, and suffered from extreme anxiety and dementia was placed on Cymbalta. It is for depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It has changed her life. She no longer is anxious and she appears content most of the time. I'm not sure if your mom has tried that one or not.

When I was diagnosed with anxiety attacks, I was in my 30's. Once I found out what there were, I read everything I could get my hands on and educated myself about them. I also carried a .25 Xanax to take if I felt one coming on. I only had to take it a couple of times. Then I was able to calm myself, telling myself what was happening. Eventually, I didn't have anymore.

They are very real and terrifying. I would not stop until I was sure my mom had relief. With me, just knowing that I had a pill that would stop it, helped me conquer it. Later, you don't even need to have the pills in your purse anymore.
It is individual and that was my experience.
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Grace27,
I'm on clonazepam/Klonopin and see my Dr. every 3 months. I have no problem getting my prescription refilled by phone. I know other family members who haven't had trouble here in FL. Could the problem be in your area? Possibly different restrictions where you live? Klonopin & xanax are lowly schedule IV drugs and don't require monthly app'ts.
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The problem with treating anxiety and panic is that they no longer prescribe xanax and it's being phased out. They will replace that with Klonopin but that too is being phased out. These medications also require monthly Dr appts, like the pain meds. Very inconvenient and nearly impossible for most disabled seniors.
I have no clue as to what a geriatric psych doc can do with these medications no longer available. :(
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Pray with her...she knows the end is near & she is afraid!
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Good idea to speak to the GP. Your Mum has a very realistic fear to hear this description. God bless her and you.
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Thank you to everyone for your posts. Blood results all came back normal. So no answers there. Mum's health not bad really for 86. She has an acoustic neuroma, so no sense of balance and can't feel her left side. We have frames, rollator and grab rails around the house. For the most part she is OK indoors, but frightened of going out to her usual activities. She has just had a rough night, and I think it's anxiety over going to a lunch club today.
I'm going to speak to her GP again today and see if he will change her medication, when I saw him on Monday he was talking about trying something else.
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Please don't let this continue on. It's is terrifying to have panick attacks and they only snowball once they get started. Take her and get her on clonipin and paxil.
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