In the absence of treatment, anxiety disorders tend to become worse over time. This seems to have been the case with you. Anxiety was a problem for you as a youth, but has since morphed into panic attacks, a more severe form of anxiety. Panic attacks often stem from the fundamental idea of losing control. The fact that your father went missing, and that his body was never recovered, may be at the heart of your anxiety.
Psychologically, the idea of a parent going missing and never being found is frightening; it’s a complete loss of control.
Your symptoms are significantly interfering with your life and thus require immediate treatment. Anxiety and panic attacks are typically treated with psychotherapy and medication or a combination of both. Anti-anxiety medications are quite powerful and can significantly reduce your symptoms. You shouldn’t wait to seek help. The longer you wait, the worse your symptoms are likely to become.
You are concerned that you are turning into your father, but with the proper treatment, that fear will go away. At this moment, you have the power to decide to seek treatment. That decision would mean that you are taking the necessary steps to regain power and to control your life. I hope that you will take my advice. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle