Q&A: What can I do to help my panic attacks when I drive?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

I have panic attacks when I drive what do i do


Brad Wasserman, LCSW-C -

There are many ways to reduce or eliminate panic attacks. As a start, one of the simpler things to do when you feel a panic attack coming on is to acknowledge that you are having an attack, that you have had them before, and remind yourself that you have always gotten through them. It's also important to say to yourself that, although you may feel like you are going to die, no one has ever done so from a panic attack (a documented fact). . . So you will get through it.
When you slow your body down, your anxiety will be reduced. This can be accomplished by slowing your breathing. . . Exhale deeply (to make room to inhale deeply) and then take a very slow breath in, hold your breath for a couple of seconds, and then exhale very slowly. Do this at least three times. When your breathing slows, your body will also slow, and your anxiety will follow. 
These are some simple steps to begin to reduce anxiety and panic. To fully overcome the problem, it's best to meet with a therapist who has experience working with these conditions.

--Brad Wasserman, LCSW-C
Montgomery Village, MD


Glen Peterson, DC -

Well panic attacks are a difficult issue as they are often unique to each individual.  
As an alternative practitioner I usually treat these types of disorders with acupuncture and nutritional recommendations. 
As it would be difficult for you to drive to my office and multiple treatments are often needed my advice for you would be to call a practitioner in your area that is willing to do a phone consultation on what herbs and vitamins you could take for a while to begin to help with calming your nerves.  I would also ask about a beginners program of exercise as that also helps in getting control over hyper excited nerves. Once you feel comfortable enough to get out on occasion I would begin a treatment protocol to help you overcome all of your panic and anxiety related issues.  
I have been fortunate over the last 15 years to treat many people that suffer from some form of anxiety related disorders.
Good luck with your journey and realize it is just that - your own personal quest to improve yourself!  This is merely a hurdle to make you even stronger! 

--Glen Peterson, DC
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