ZocdocAnswersHow can I get help for my anxiety?

Question

How can I get help for my anxiety?

I am a 21 year old female suffering from anxiety, that has developed depression, and I am slightly agoraphobic. I was diagnosed at 16, and given zoloft. after my doctor and therapist, showed no compassion and seemed to just want to drug me up, to make sure I just left the sane people alone. I lost trust, and just tried to cope on my own. The last year I haven't been able to get a job because I have two or three panic attacks a day. I hardly leave my house because of all my fears. I really would like to learn to cope, but I can't afford help, because I am unable to work. Is there anyway I can get some help? How can I cope if there are no ways to get help?

Answer

The symptoms that you are describing fit almost perfectly with panic disorder. This is a type of anxiety disorder that is accompanied by panic attacks that can be so severe that it makes one afraid to even leave the house. The fear of leaving one's house or the fear of open spaces is called agoraphobia as you have described. It is often accompanied by depression as is the case in you. In severe cases, people have trouble holding on to a job. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist. The two of you can discuss your symptoms in more detail to make sure that your diagnosis is panic disorder. If it is panic disorder, then you should be treated with medication on an SSRI. Zoloft, as you have been treated in the past, is an example of an SSRI. However, this may not be the right choice for you. Another SSRI called Paxil, or paroxetine, is a medication that may be preferred in some people for panic disorder. It usually takes between two and four weeks to start working and most people get significant relief of their symptoms. In addition, your doctor might decide to treat you with an anti-anxiety medication such as the benzodiazepine. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.