Our experiences in dealing with panic attacks of my wife

Shortly after my brother-in-law, Bill, died in 1985, my wife began experiencing "episodes" with symptoms that included shortness of breath, dizziness, instability and chest pains. Since Bill died only a few short months after we were married, my wife and I thought that her condition was simply the result of stress. As all couples know, wedding plans are stressful enough, but adding in the passing of a loved one seemed a bit much to endure within such a short time span.

The condition persisted despite our best efforts, combined with the recommendations of our General Practitioner. Keep in mind that the treatment of psychological maladies such as panic attacks was still in its infancy back in 1985, so my wife's recovery was minimal. The attacks became so prevalent and strong that I had to assist my bride in walking to the restroom.

Through the process of elimination, our doctor finally suggested that my wife visit a psychologist. Lo and behold, he diagnosed her condition immediately as symptoms of panic attack, and arranged for continued treatments not only at his office, but also with a psychiatrist with whom he had worked in the past.

I am happy to report that, 24 years later, my wife has her panic attacks under control through medication, and very infrequent follow-up visits to the same psychiatrist. She takes very low doses of certain prescription drugs (Xanax, for one) as a continued treatment for anxiety attacks, and no longer sees the psychologist - but she still occasionally experiences small flare-ups.

This is just something we will both have to deal with for the rest of our lives. But we have both come a long way since my wife's initial attacks. We try to maintain a peaceful, restful and less stressful lifestyle as a means of self-treatment for dealing with these panic attacks.

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