Case History: Anxiety and Depression

Dear Dr Cabot

I have been experiencing strange turns lately and they seem to come on in the early hours of the morning. They start with tightness in the chest and this tightness goes up into my neck and head. I feel cut off from my body and short of breath. I then start to sweat and my pulse races. I feel out of control and really weird. These turns last from 5 to 20 minutes and then disappear. I am having some problems in my personal life and suffer with low self esteem. The last 3 relationships that I have had with men have ended in rejection so that I feel unwanted and unloved. My mother is also ill and I have a lot of family stress. I went to my own doctor who checked my heart and lungs and told me that everything is normal.

Dear Deborah

You sound as if you are having panic attacks that are due to anxiety and depression. You would benefit from seeing a counselor who could help you to build your confidence and self esteem. It is not wise to let your own identity be affected by your partner and you need help in coping with relationships.

Make sure that you are getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. A regular relaxing massage would also help and some therapists use aromatherapy, which has a relaxing effect upon the mind. You would find that taking up yoga or tai chi would help to relax your body and build muscle strength.

Natural supplements can also help the nervous system –
•    Fish oil, which can be taken in liquid form or capsules.
•    Magnesium Complete tablets – 2 tablets twice daily – I call magnesium “The Great Relaxer.”
•    A formula containing 5-HT and vitamin B 6 and B 3 (known as Depression Free) can help to raise serotonin levels naturally.
•    In women natural progesterone cream used daily can greatly reduce premenstrual syndrome and tension. Natural progesterone also helps to reduce heavy painful periods and thyroid gland problems.

If you find that the panic attacks persist despite these recommendations, you may need to consider the use of an anti-depressant drug. The class of anti-depressant drugs known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are very effective in overcoming anxiety and panic attacks and also stabilize the emotions. Once you start on the SSRIs you generally need to take them for 12 months and then gradually come off them over a 3 month period of time. The SSRIs are generally well tolerated and side effects are usually minimal. You will need a doctor’s prescription for a SSRI medication.

Dr Sandra Cabot - Depression & Anxiety Today Tonight

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Dr Sandra Cabot discusses how to treat anxiety and depression. These conditions can really affect a person's life and it is very important to understand and treat depression and anxiety adequately.