Panic attacks in schizophrenia

Hello everyone
Are panic attacks common in schizophrenia?
Since her last episode my mother has panic attacks. The first one was really awful and she screamed during 30 minutes. At the time I wasn’t familiar with panic attack and thaught she was going to die. I filmed it to show to the psychiatrist and she said it was seizure but the neurologist said it wasn’t. Then she was hospitalized for her medications to be adjusted and attacks stopped for a while but then it started again and by observing her symptoms I was convinced that it was panic attack (she starts trembling and saying I’m dying and thinks she is losing her control). But the psychiatrist neither affirms nor rejects this idea. What do you think?

My son started having panic attacks last year at age 40. The panic attacks became more frequent and eventually became a part of his daily life. He thought he was dying each time. His blood pressure shot up, he would begin trembling. He said his feet and hands would go numb. He began to be afraid to walk short distances or do any sort of exertion for fear his blood pressure would take off and he would have a heart attack.

His panic attacks turned into a panic disorder. He took his blood pressure constantly and convinced his doctors to give him a stronger blood pressure med and two meds for anxiety. He stopped leaving his house for fear he would have a heart attack. After about 8 months, he is slightly better. He has, somewhat, learned to manage the panic attacks with Valium.

The ER doctors were always understanding and tried to gently tell him he was suffering from anxiety. He does have a medical condition and a fear of dying has not helped.

The attacks started because a medication he took WAS raising his blood pressure and the anxiety took it from there and ran rampant, taking over his life.

Many people with late stage cancer suffer from severe anxiety. Turns out it’s not unusual for the normies either.

Has anything in particular triggered your mom’s anxiety?

1 Like

Actually during almost 10 years she was on Risperidon 4ml until 2 years ago when its side effects were no longer bearable for her (she couldn’t sit down and walked along even at night) so I decided by myself yo change her doctor.

The new doctor changed the med into Quetiapin 50ml a day which was actually a poor dose for schizophrenia but I trusted the psychiatrist.

Till 6 months ago when she started laughing for no reason. When I talked to the doctor she said maybe she has hallucinations and she increased the dose by 25ml which didn’t work (later I learned that the effective dose of quetiapin for schizophrenia is at least 300ml!) But suddenly she started having panic attacks for which I hospitalised her because I thought there was something wrong with her.
In the hospital they increased the dose of the med upto 300ml and during the 2 weeks of hospitalization she didn’t have any attack. Just the day after the discharge she had another panic attack! Later it was well controlled by Gabapantine and Lorazepam, but it began again since one week ago. It is slighter than the first one but it is becoming her routine.
At the moment of the attack I give her 0.5 ml of Lorazepam and it works sometimes. Sorry it was long and thank you for sharing your experience :two_hearts:

That sounds exactly like panic attacks. I have them. My sz partner has anxiety attacks, but has had a few panic attacks so not sure on frequency with sz.

1 Like

Welcome to our community and thanks for sharing your experience. What do you do when you have panic attacks ? Do you take meds?

I do take a small dose of alprazolam/xanax when its really bad. It saves the trauma of a night of it when they’re really intense. Prior to having that i always would, and still do, take a warm bath. I’ll add epsom salt for relaxing, also relaxes muscles, and the heat helps with shaking and temperature issues too. Calming tea and herbs (ones safe along with their normal meds). Mine can be quite exhausting and long, i know they will eventually pass even if it’s hours, so I’m just trying to make it through. I can’t usually interact well because I’m too overwhelmed (at times freaking out-because it is incredibly intense), but i will distract myself doing something on my own or lay down somewhere really comfortable while my nervous system calms and adrenaline breaks down. Also, I can’t drink caffeine when I’m having periods of them, it will lead to one, or I’ll have more of them. Any stimulant can trigger a panic attack if you’re in a place of being susceptible to them.

1 Like