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How Long Are Your Panic Attacks?

Hi there.
I'm 21, and have dealt with various forms of anxiety and depression since my early teens. This hasn't stopped me from being very ambitious and generally hardworking and successful. My dad, who was the person I was closest to in the world, died almost a year ago. At the time I was working as a reporter at a big chain newspaper and was "asked" (read: heavily encouraged) to return to work not too long afterwards. It was horrible-- I had to sit right next to the ambulance scanner and was constantly having flashbacks to being in the ambulance with my dad and watching him die in the hospital. I was also asked to write several obituaries. I managed to numb my emotions enough to finish the remaining months on my contract and get out. I was using celexa during this period, and while it may have helped me stay afloat, I was uncomfortable with the way it made me feel woozy and disconnected and stopped in january. Since then, I have had three major panic attacks. I used to have these when I was younger, although I didn't realize what they were--whenever I felt really guilty about something i'd get hot flashes and palpitations and end up dry heaving- sometimes for several hours, which brings me to my question. The panic attacks (if that's what they are) that i've experienced in the wake of my dad's death have lasted for a very long time-- up to 8 or 9 hours, all at a very high and constant level of anxiety with no relief. They usually end when I manage to fall asleep out of exhaustion. Most of the stuff i've read about panic disorders says that episodes generally last from 10 minutes to an hour. During these periods, I have an extremely tight throat, which sometimes leads to excessive dry heaving (sorry, I know that's kind of gross!), elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, churning stomach, hot/cold flashes, a "crawing out of my skin" type feeling, and also I can't be near anyone. As soon as someone tries to talk to me or touch me I feel nauseated. Under normal circumstances I am a very warm and touchy person. Two of these recent episodes have also followed a night of moderate to heavy drinking (i don't drink often, usually maybe once a week or once every two weeks, and I don't get hangovers).
Can anyone relate, or suggest an alternative to panic attacks? My doctor is a doll but extremely useless if it's not an ear infection or a kidney stone.
Thank you.
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replied January 26th, 2019
Thank you for asking at Ehealth forum!

I read your question and I understand your concern.
Time interval for panic attacks varies from minutes to hours. Your symptoms are consistent with anxiety disorder. You would need psychotherapy sessions like CBT besides medications to overcome this problem.
I hope it helps. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider for further guidance as our answers are just for education and counselling purposes and cannot be an alternative to actual visit to a doctor.
Take care
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