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Dr G
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shania09 posted:
Is there a difference between a panic attack and anxiety attack?? If so what are they? Also..I hafve been taking 30mg of cymbalta for a little more then a month. For the last few weeks I have had 3 severe panic attacks. They just start out of the blue, no triggers nothing. The last oneI had, I was on the computer playing a game. Suddenly my chest begins to tighten and it felt like someone had me in tight hug, I started to sweat ALOT, then the sense of dread was so severe and so frightening I started crying and I couldn't stop. This has happened 3x. Is it possible the cymbalta has something to do with this?? Nothing else has changed. I read sometimes a anti-depressant can make them worse. All I do know, I so do not want to experience that again. I am trying not to dwell on it, but dammit I can't seem to!! Before I was able to repeat in my head "I have done this before I can do it again" I can't seem to do this now.
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Shania,

While you're waiting for responses here, try also posting on our Anxiety & Panic Community .
 
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Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear Shania,

So, a panic attack is a sudden onset of physical anxiety symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy, heart beating fast, and a sense of impending doom. It typically lasts for several minutes and then passes. "Anxiety attack" isn't really a technical term to mean anything -- sort of like "nervous breakdown" -- not a technical term for anything. People can certainly have sudden periods of anxiety, which may fell like attacks, but often anxiety is a longstanding, smoldering feeling that can wax and wane. Panic specifically means the physical types of symptoms mentioned above.

Cymbalta has been well-studied to treat panic attacks. It has not been shown to cause them. If you ever had panic attacks before Cymbalta, chances are it's merely failing to treat them. If these are brand new panic attacks, then it is possible you are having an unexpected, opposite reaction to the medicine than it's expected to have, in which case it may be worth discussing with your doctor whether to stop it and see if the odd emergence of panic attacks goes away. (and, panic attacks persist off the Cymbalta, then they likely have nothing to do with it)

Dr. G.


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Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

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