Could I Have Panic Disorder
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Q:  Could I Have Panic Disorder

I have bipolar disorder and I am currently on 1500mg of Depakote a day, which seems to be helping to a certain degree (it has pulled me out of extreme depression). I also have frequent "mixed states" where i feel panic stricken and homicidl/suicidal. For this my doctor put me on 10mg of Zyprexa daily, yet I still found no benefit. I have now switched to 1mg of Risperidone,and found myself feeling panicky today and had to take 2mg of Xanax (which my doc is hesiotant to prescibe to me since I have a history of drug abuse). Is it possible for me to have a seperate panic dissorder? Why are these "major tranquilizers" not working for me? ANy suggestions would be most appreciated.


Dear Faye -- 
Lot's of my patients have gone through what you're going through.  Many of them have benefited from adding more mood stabilizer, targeting the panic symptoms (usually sleep is pretty fragmented too and when the sleep is better, so is the panic). So you could ask your doc' whether you might use other mood stabilizers (read about 'em on my website in the treatment section, and "treatment details" section of the BPII stuff).  I'd have considerable confidence this approach will help, although there are always exceptions.  Good luck.  (There's also a therapy for panic disorder to consider, 10-12 sessions, and it's even kind of fun at times, and it works as well as med's for people who only have panic disorder; you might be a little different there, but it is very unlikely to hurt you except for time and money). 

Dr. Phelps


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