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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I manage panic attacks caused by nightmares?

    I have taken pristiq 50mg for the past year on and off. Basically when the nightmares get really bad I come off for a few weeks and then go back on. I've now been on them for 2 months solid and my nightmares involve me being raped. As this is previously one of the traumas I have been through I'm now having panic attacks whenever my husband is near me. I love him to bits and know that he won't hurt me but I can't stop how I'm feeling. Is this a usual side effect for Pristiq? How do I manage my panic attacks?
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  • Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    Anxiety situations like this seldom get better without intervention. You would have to stay with the advice of your GP or get a second opinion as to medication which should help you cope on a daily basis.

     Taking this further can involve some sort of therapy and in your situation I feel the sooner the better. You did not say whether you are having counselling but I suggest you seek help in this area as soon as you can. Your love for your husband is on one level and the triggering of anxiety by closeness is on another and beyond your control. Don’t feel bad for not being able to control it, anymore than you could suddenly stop the pain of a physical injury. The rape needs to be handled so that you can move forward from it and I don’t pretend for a second that this is easy. Handling it on one’s own can be nigh on impossible but with the right therapist and therapy a lot can be done.

    Panic attacks and nightmares often close relations and these and other symptoms can stay with people who have been the victim of traumatic events making life a misery. I don’t know what area you are in but I would urge you to seek assistance bearing in mind that with something like this you need to feel comfortable with a therapist and you may not choose the first one you meet.

    Do take that step and  trust you intuition.
    If you find yourself unable to arrange something you feel right with, let me know privately through “Make an enquiry” on my profile page  and I shall see who I can find in your area.         
     Take care.

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