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Controlling Panic Attacks with Medication

By Gavin O'Byrne

Controlling panic attacks with traditional medication has been a source of debate for some time now and there are different professional opinions on the subject. A lot of people will argue that a regular doctor does not know how to treat someone with panic attacks and just throws drugs at the problem hoping it will go away. Other people believe that with the right medication, one can overcome this problem. The main causes for concern with medication are the side effects and people's tendency to become overly dependent on them. This is why care needs to be taken when prescribing or taking medication to deal with panic attacks.

One of the main arguments in this debate is the fact that anxiety disorders, or panic attacks, are behavioral conditions and not mental illnesses. Therefore, why do mind-altering drugs need to be used to treat something that can be treated by various forms of therapy? Then there is the school of thought that believes if the medication can relieve the panic attacks long enough for the sufferer to regain control of their lives and get back on the right track, they can then be weaned of the drugs slowly until they are no longer needed; validating the view that controlling panic attacks with medication is necessary some of the time.

Unlike medication, therapy does not have any side effects whatsoever on a patient. This is a strong argument that vindicators of this form of treatment use when they debate the subject of controlling panic attacks. It is well known that there are a number of side effects that can happen when someone is on some kind of medication. Beta blockers are one such type of medication and some of the side effects reported have been drowsiness, insomnia, dizziness, depression and nightmares. Some people have also been known to suffer from sexual side effects as well as slurred speech, slower reaction times, irritability and nausea.

However, not everyone who has used medication when controlling panic attacks has suffered from these side effects. There are cases where these medications can be used for a short time and the user does not become addicted. The end result can also be a positive one when the 'crutch' that is the medication is taken away. On the flip side, therapy does not work for everyone either. Again, in some cases this fails to help people overcome the attacks that are making their lives almost unbearable. For these people they may have no option but to turn to medication for the answer to their problem.

Overall it is fair to say that at the moment there is no definitive answer in the debate that surrounds controlling panic attacks. What is known is that there is no one cure or treatment, and most experts will agree that a combination of the correct medication and some good therapy gets the best results. So until someone does develop such a cure this will always be a topic open for discussion. Some people find that the use of medication has helped them enormously, while others will swear by therapy.

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