My mother has panic attacks and says she cannot be alone! What now? -

My mother has panic attacks and says she cannot be alone! What now?


She has nerve pills and refuses to see a psychologist. She says psychologist does not tell you what to do but only makes you talk which she says is ridiculous! What next?

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Yet another take on the issue.... My husband experienced "panic attacks" -- racing pulse, headaches -- when he was eating at a Chinese restaurant everyday. He stopped going there, and the panic attacks stopped. We believe the MSG in the food caused his symptoms. MSG is in a lot of processed foods, and we're now on the lookout for it. Perhaps eliminating MSG will lessen your mom's panic attacks.
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Just another take on this issue. My mother is living with me and when she first moved in she would say that she was afraid to be alone. Knowing mother, I told her that I sometimes had to go places and she handled it. She was trying to manipulate me. It is difficult to determine when complaints are real sometimes.
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CBT did not work for me; my attacks were acute. its hard to pull over to the side of the road when you are on a freeway off ram or on the freeway itself esp in los angeles of SF. It was given ativan to chew when i started to panic; instant relief...i use the medication for the dentist and calmly sat through a root canal a very anticiatory frightening experience. Now I am on clonozapam daily, low dose and havent had a panic attack in 3 years. Once the psysiological systems are in motion in a panic attack its hard to CBT-it. Trying to convince a LO that might be in his/her elder years, to go to therapy is.....probably not going to be successful.

The antivan 1 mg pill is so small chewing it takes but a second.. this method was decided upon in case i needed quick relief...sometimes such an attack comes on without warning so water/beverage may not be readily avavailable, Very disturbing disorder. mine started when my father was dying. I was in therapy and the therapy did not put an end to the attacks. Start with medication and the, if she will go to a therapist that can be a adjunct treatment
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Just another note (read your profile, didn't realize your mom was already IN independent living). I talked to my mom's psychiatrist about CBT or talk therapy, which she thought was not a good idea, due to some mild cognitive issues she has. You say your you mom doesn't want to see a psychologist--but has she ever seen one, recently? Some folks have ideas in their heads about what therapists do (I'm a psychologist, I deal with this all the time) but usually, the ideas are either outmoded (therapy has changed a great deal in the past 30 years), or based on second hand information or movies. Sometimes you have to wear this kind of resistence down over time, but also, remind her that YOU can't be the only intervention. My mom retained the notion that I could help her, but we can't do this kind of anxiety reduction for our own!
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Great advice from the top two posters!! My mom is taking an antidepressant for anxiety, it has helped so much. Of course my mom has Alzheimer's which makes our situations different, but if your mom refuses talk therapy, it might be worth a try to an antidepressant.
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Agree with jeanne, as usual. My mother also has panic attacks, which finally resulted in her moving to an independent living situation, rather than being home alone. She greatly benefits from living among others, which distracts her from worrying about little things. she sees a geriatric psychiatrist who switched her from Xanax to Klonopin and gives her great reassurance. They see each other about once every three week and this is a great comfort to my mom. Isolation is not good for a person with anxiety; either elder day care or a complete change in environment may be needed.
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Panic attacks and depression ... hmm. Where did she get her "nerve pills"? Does she take them as prescribed? I would take her to a psychiatrist who could evaluate her condition and make appropriate prescriptions and probably teach her some techniques for handling the panic attacks. The psychiatrist may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. Yes, the therapist would want Mother to talk, but it is a very result-oriented approach and he or she will also tell Mother what to do, give her things to practice, expect her to report how she did at the the next visit, etc.

She may also be able to discover on her own some things that work for her. My father had panic attacks. He would call someone and just try to have a normal conversation. (He often called me.) One of my brothers gets them often. He is on drugs that help and he has learned breathing techniques that calm him. If he senses an attack coming on while he is driving he pulls over and does the breathing exercises until it passes.

Does your mom have any other impairments that make it hard for her to live alone? If this is the "only" problem she can probably learn or discover ways to deal with it. But I do think she should see a psychiatrist and/or a therapist well experienced in this disorder.

Try to be patient with her. This is a real disorder and a very disturbing one. I have had two panic attacks in my life and that was more than enough to make me sympathetic to people who experience them often!

It would be a kindness if you would come back and post once in a while what she is trying and how she is doing. We learn from each other!
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