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Forum Name: Antidepressants

Question: anxiety symptom of breathing difficulties??


 Alagirl - Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:34 am

I've had a history of depression since 1995, then diagnosed with anxiety and agoraphobia in 1999. I've been on a long list of drugs until my doctor found something that helped with my depression, effexor xr and zyprexa to sleep. I was on that for nearly 9 years until this summer I consulted with my new physician, because I moved to another country, due to the side effects and I felt pretty confident my depression was gone AND i didn't feel like it was doing any good towards my anxiety and depression. After successfully coming off the above two drugs I began to have terrible breathing issues. I couldn't get enough air and enough deep breaths. My GP checked me out and said it was a symptom of anxiety. SO back to my phsych. and he has now put me on zanax 3 times a day of .5 mg each. The anxiety is probably worse and so is my breathing. I'm at my wits end. I've been put on so many drugs I just don't know that I can go through another touch and go of trying drugs, especially with the stress i have living in this hostile country. Is there anything in particular that you can suggest that I can recomend to my doctor to try to ease the breathing difficulties first and foremost and then help/fight the anxiety & agoraphobia. I should mention that I pass out from my panic attacks. Before you ask, yes I've been through a bountiful of neuro tests both here and in the US and nothing is wrong with me, I'm just one of those very rare people who manage to faint during a panic attack.

I've tried to consider taking natural herbs, but can't seem to find anyone here who can guide me on what to take versus what's available here in this country.
 Dr. E. Seigle - Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:48 pm

Hi Alagirl,

Typically the breathing symptoms that you describe are associated with panic attacks. I don't know your medication history, so it is hard to make suggestions. However, the following scenarios can be considered by you and your doctor:

1. A long acting benzodiazepine such a clonazepam is often better than Xanax, but this family of medications carries the risks of abuse, depression, and occasionally, dependence.

2. Zyprexa is one of a family of antipsychotics that works well for depression and panic disorder; it has a high side effect profile. Others in this family with a better side effect profile include Seroquel, Abilify, Geodon and Risperdal.

3. Often a SSRI or SNRI anti-anxiety antidepressant can treat both conditions. I am guessing that you've tried many of these, and if so, you don't want to go back there probably.

4. If you have depression along with your panic symptoms, you can return to the former medication family combination represented by Effexor and Zyprexa. This would be a medication from the antipsychotic family (above) and one from the SSRI/SNRI family (above).

My guess since you are asking help for only anxiety-related symptoms is that choices #1 or #2 may work best. But please discuss this carefully with your doctor as I can't make recommendations based on this limited interaction. Good luck!

Eliot Seigle MD

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