I am worried with my partner. He got a panic disorder he said and he is taking an anafranil sometimes. He said it helps but he felt tired when he took the medicine. So he didn’t want to take it all the time. He had symptoms: dizzy, headache, muscle pain most of the time in his legs. Easily get angry, shouting, sometimes biting…is there any cure with it? I am 7 mos pregnant and I am worried if maybe this can be also a genetic. Sometimes I don’t know how to handle it. I hope you can tell me more what I need to know about this sickness..thanks

A: Thanks so much for writing in about your concerns for your partner. While I am not a medical doctor, it is my understanding that Anafranil is generally prescribed once daily and needs to be taken regularly to experience the benefits of the medication. According to the National Institute of Health website there are side effects from stopping the medication abruptly including headaches, irritability and dizziness.

Please encourage your partner to set up an appointment with his medical provider to discuss his the side effects of his medication and to explore whether a different medication would be more helpful. Often, it takes time to find the right medication and dosage to treat a mental illness. Also, I suggest that your partner meet with a psychotherapist to learn relaxation skills and other tools to manage his anxiety. Self-help tools available to manage anxiety include regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and avoiding caffeine and other stimulants.

There is a genetic component to anxiety disorders so it is possible that your child will have a genetic predisposition toward the development of an anxiety disorder. While panic disorder can be difficult to treat, most people do get better with medication and psychotherapy. Urge your partner to seek help immediately so he can gain the tools needed to find relief from his panic attacks and gain control of his destructive behavior.

Here’s a link for you to learn more about panic disorders. Thanks again for writing in. Feel free to write again if things don’t improve.

Take good care of you and yours!

Julie Hanks, LCSW