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I am a twenty year old male who has just recently about two months ago started having anxiety/panic attacks. I was diagnosed with panic disorder when I was younger but have never had problems with it until very recently. In october I had an attack where my chest was beating very fast and out of rhythm, my hands, feet, and face went very tingly and my chest was very tight. I felt as if I was going to faint so I visited the emergency room and after a normal EKG and chest X-ray they sent me home saying it was anxiety attacks and I was fine. It happened about four days later and I visited the hospital again with the same results, only this time he prescribed me to the antidepressant paxil. I just started taking paxil five days ago and I was wondering how long it normally takes to take full effect? I was also wondering if anyone else had panic disorder so bad that it afftets daily life? I am constantly worrying that another attack will come along and often avoid public places because of this. Is it possible to have anxiety so bad that it affects every aspect of your life? Also, I have been having shortness of breath with chest tightness, neck and back stiffness and pains, headaches, and dizziness. Could these be signs of my panic attacks and can they get worse if I worry all the time? I will give a brief overview of what I experienced over the past couple months. I have an appt. with a psychiatrist in about a month.

Every day stuff:
I have headaches and constant aches and pains in my upper back and neck and sometimes shoulder. I have a very intense fear of death or doom and avoid physical activity and public places. I worry constantly about heart problems and lung problems or strokes. My appetite ranges but I recently had my gallbladder out so I am trying to eat small healthy meals when I feel like eating. It is affecting my schoolwork greatly because some days it is so bad that I can't go anywhere including class. Sometimes I feel hopeless and like I am going to die so I get in depressed moods every once in a while. I also avoid going anywhere where there is not easy access to an exit.

On bad days I constantly take my pulse worrying that an attack is going to come and my heart is going to start pounding. I am dizzy and lightheaded most days and sometimes get tingling sensations in hands or neck or feet or face with trembling. I am fatigued and exhausted most of the time because I am constantly worrying about these attacks and it stresses me out. When I am having an attack, I feel all of these symptoms multiply especailly heart racing, trouble breathing, tightness, tingling, and numbness. I know I am not having a heart attack but it is hard to tell myself that with these feelings that occur.

I have also noticed that after days of drinking alcohol or when I am hungover, these symptoms occur all day sometimes for two to three days. Could this cause it to get worse? Can i expect paxil to work in full effect within a few weeks?

Any thoughts?

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