Q: I have been experiencing problems with panic. I guess you could say since I was in the 5th grade. When I’m in class and certain things are brought up, such as, blood, anorexia, needles, pills, anemia, people cutting, and basically anything to do with diseases, I start to panic. I get chills, I feel very weak, I start sweating, it’s hard to set still, and I usually have to leave the room. Once we were watching a movie over anorexia and I started to panic and actually fell out of my desk, and my teacher had to take me to the nurse, my mom got me and then took me to the hospital and they just ran an EKG on me and said I hyperventilated. It seems though that the problem is getting worse, I can’t listen/watch much of anything anymore. The weird thing is though that I used to cut, and I also use to abuse prescription drugs. I really need help understanding what the problem is, because honestly I’m scared, and I don’t know what to do. I try to forget it but I can’t, and it never leaves my mind. Could you tell me at least something that could be useful? Thanks.
A: It sounds like you may be experiencing some type of anxiety disorder. There are many successful treatment approaches to try. First you must learn to relax. You can try doing deep breathing exercises, imagining being somewhere pleasant such as at the beach, talking to yourself through the anxiety, etc. To prevent hyperventilating you must remember to breathe slowly and deeply when you feel anxious. You may even want to shut your eyes while you do this. I would suggest practicing before you are in one of these situations. If you are unable to relax enough on your own, I suggest finding a good counselor to help you learn the techniques to help yourself. Many times if you really work at it you will feel better but if you don’t you may need to talk to your doctor about trying a medication that helps with anxiety. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a local therapist, or you can ask your school counselor for some names as well. I hope you feel better soon.