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    Preventing Panic Attack Diarrhea
    horse_mom1 posted:
    Hello, I suffer from the worst symptom anxiety and panic attacks can have: diarrhea. And I mean, EXPLOSIVE diarrhea. When it hits, I have very little time to get to a bathroom. There are a few situations that are known to cause me to have a panic attack. I take half a Xanax as needed (which is not very often) for the general axiety. But it does not stop the diarrhea in the severe panic attacks.

    There are times when I cannot avoid the situations that typically cause me to have a panic attack. One situation in particular is being stuck in a car in traffic. For me,its a lot like being chlostrophobic and stuck in a confined place. My panic is caused by the possibility I'll have a panic attack (with explosive diarrhea) and there is no possible way I will make it to a bathroom, because there's no place to turn off and get out of the traffic. I have had messed myself on a few occasions and had to go home to clean up and clean my car.

    Over labor day weekend I would like to take a trip in the car with 3 girlfriends. I think its a 6 hour drive to and from our destination. I don't want to have to cancel due to the possibility I'll have a panic attack and have diarrhea while we're sitting in labor day traffic. I would like to know if there are any medications I could ask my doctor to prescribe that I could take before I go on this trip that would essentially stop all movement in my bowels on the days we'll be driving. I am truly desperate. My only alternative is to do very unhealthy things such as use the bowel cleansing product I had to use the night before my laparscopic hysterectomy surgery (can't remember the name but it was an over the counter product) and then starve myself and not eat or drink anything, and pump myself full of the Xanax for the drives. I'm just hoping there might be a medication available that might be a little safer approach.

    Thanks, Valerie
    Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to lewhelp's response:
    Hi Lewhelp and welcome to WebMD,

    I encourage you to start a new discussion on the board about the issue that's occurring for your son. That way, Dr. Farrell will be able to see it and offer some suggestions.

    To do that, hold your cursor over the orange Post Now button on the upper right and choose 'Discussion' from the drop down menu which appears. Fill in the subject line and body of the message (you can ignore the poll part if you want) and Submit.
    We never touch people so lightly that we do not leave a trace. ~Peggy Tabor Millin
    An_239041 replied to lewhelp's response:

    I have had panic attack diarrhea in cars for the past 9 years and I really struggle with it. I don't get panic attacks in any other settings and I am positive that my immediate need to use the bathroom is a result of the panic attack. It might sound silly, but one of the things that works the best for me, is to just tell the people I will be riding in the car with about my problem. Although my friends and family don't suffer from the same issue, they are generally understanding. What makes me feel so much better is to confirm with them that if I need to bail from the car and go to the bathroom on the side of the road/in a bag/in the woods/etc they will pull over immediately and not tease me. By knowing that if I have an accident, no one will judge me, I feel much more relaxed in the car and can avoid some panic attacks.

    I know you may not understand what your son is going through, a fear of panic attacks can be crippling. I think if you express to him that it is totally ok if he has an accident, you might help alleviate those fear he associates with the shame of making a mess. Pack a toilet and a change of clothes in the car and tell him if anything happens, you won't be mad. Be willing to pull over if he needs it. In the beginning, you might pull over 5x on a five minute-long drive, but that number will decrease as he becomes more comfortable in the car.

    I also tell myself I am doing a good job as a work through a panic attack. As he starts to get nervous, tell him he can handle it. Panic attacks (at least for me) tend to come in waves and if you can work through them, you can eventually relax. Knowing that a panic attack will pass can help you feel better about getting them in the first place. Tell him you are proud of him for every minute he lasts in the car without needing to bail and be willing to let him out/use the car toilet if he needs it.

    I hope this helps some! I think just making it clear that it is ok if he has an accident (rather than focusing on how to prevent the accident) may help him to feel better.

    Although I have some of my panic attacks under control, I get crippling anxiety when I am stuck in traffic. Because I can't get out of the car when in traffic and escape to the woods, I don't have anything to reassure myself. Any suggestions from anyone?
    redneb58 responded:
    clarisse2008 replied to AmandaInAus's response:
    Hi Amanda & Valerie! This is such a relief to know that I am not alone to suffer from diarrhea related to panic attacks! I even have a apps on my iphone called" toilet finder"! How many times have I spoiled evenings out with my husband and my friends...Trains, buses, traffic jams are real nightmares! I now have a big rubbish bag and toilet paper hidden in the glove compartment in my car"just in case" and I always "joke" with my husband that comes to the worse I will have to use my 2-year-old's nappies...I had to stop taxis to go to the toilet and one day I almost jumped out of a taxi(stucked in a traffic jam) because I thought that I couldn't hold it. The taxi driver locked me in and I almost cried until he told me that there was a petrol station a few metres away with toilet facilities. On top of that I live in China, so...language adds to the stress as well!!! My diarrhea is still bad but there are a few things that heped me with my journeys: taking immodium tablets (1 or 2-the fast relief one). Knowing that it's always available in my handbad really hepls. Also, I try to think of my next holidays and mentally plan it every possible details( I even picture myself taking the plane etc...). A few years ago I was on a contraception ( injection every 3 months) and as it stopped my period completely, the diarrhea disapeared! It was complete bliss!!!or almost...(side effects: I put on weight-a bit- and my sex life suffered). I can't remember the name of the contraception but I will find out and post it next time.Something else that seems to work for me is having the air-conditioning blasting of in the car, bus or standing under the right spot on the train. Somehow the hot flushes, the racing heart seem to calm down when it's freezing. I have done this in winter and in a panic even stripped to my thermal on the train!
    Anyway, I hope that one of those methods will work for least until you get home in dignity
    mielnoir responded:
    I am in the same boat as you except it has been a longer time I have had the symptoms including going to the bathroom. Whatever you do, do NOT stop using transportation of any kind. Avoidance is not healthy no matter how much you reason with yourself. I have been avoiding cars, buses, planes because I fear the same explosive result. It is a vicious cycle too. You fear which heightens your fight or flight response and like any other animal you instinctively go to the bathroom. For years I thought it was IBS. Went to the doc, he told me to use Rivitrol (clonazapam) which helps IBS sufferers. Turns out, it's bull****. I am going to suggest something quite odd or simple but it has worked for me. Progressive relaxation technique-why? Because you essentially are teaching your body the difference between you being tense or not. When you're a chronic anxious person like me and have been for years, your body seems to have forgotten what it is to relax which I think is why we have IBS like symptoms. Constipation one minute-diahrrea the next. Try it out every day for one week just to give you an idea of whether it can work for you. When I did it, I noticed within three days my body responding differently to stress, my mind too. I now drive in traffic for the first time in 15 years. I still hate traffic and get anxiety but when I do I take the opportunity to progressively relax. Goodluck!
    SLS0329 replied to xrissylynn's response:
    I am sorry it took so long to respond, I have not been on the site for a while. I hope you are doing better. I have had a ruff year with this myself but am finally doing better.It took a lot of trial and error to find out what works to get me though this. I tried accupunture but had attacks on the table and could not finish it and then decided to seek therapy, I thought maybe something was going on in my life that was triggering this. My therapist said that sometimes panic attacks start over something dramtic happening in your life or can just appear out of nowhere. She suggested for a while I go on medication(Lexapro 20mg) it changed my life and it is going generic in March of 2012. I was hesitant but I knew I could not live this way anymore. I also do always have zanax on hand which I can take with lexapro as needed. If your doctor won't give it to you, find another doctor. This is your life and you need to live it. At those stressful moments ie.. a 5 hour drive, youmay need something more. You have to treat it like you would take a aspirn for a headache right. Also go on Amazon and order Breathwork by Dr andrew Weil, this is a cd that you can listen to in your car and teaches you breathing techniques to get thoug your attacks. It really works and makes you feel like you gained control.Everyday I feel like I am getting a little closer to being my old self. Another thing is watch your diet, eat high fiber foods and take a probiotic every day along with eating yogurt. this will regulate your digestive system. I also went and got a colonic, there are clinics that do them look on line for one near you. They clean out your system. It does not hurt and you feel great afterwards. I felt like once I got myself cleaned out I had much better control.
    Getting back to the medication, your brain produce Sirotorin (excusse the spelling) and sometimes one side produces to much and you are off balance and then the panic attacks happen, the medication makes your brain balanced again and when you feel completly confident you are better the you ween yourself off. If you ever start getting them again, go back on. I spoke to many doctors and they all said Lexapro was the best, it can be costly, with my insurance it's 50.00 a month but again it is going generic in March.
    It took me almos a year to feel almost back to myself, I may not be totally where I want to be, but I am so much better then where I was. this is all going to take time but you will get better. You can't stop living your life. Remember life does not give you a dress rehersal, you only have on chance to do it. I wish you all the luck in the world, and remember, you're not alone.
    princessiu replied to SLS0329's response:
    I am so relieved to hear that others have this panic and run to the bathroom! I have been suffering through this for 10 years. It's horrible. I took Effexor XR(75mg) for 6 years. it helped so much but the side effects when I forgot to take a pill and when I finally weened myself off of it was HORRIBLE! I was vomiting, dizzy, shaky etc.
    I have had a bout with these attack for the past two weeks. Including on Thanksgiving after meeting my boyfriends mother.. so much for complimenting her on her food and loving her clean bathroom. I also went to get a massage and had to leave the table for an attack. I just started taking prozac (20mg) and so far I'm so much worse than better. Anyone have any luck with prozac or another drug?
    Any information or ideas to make these stop would be wonderful!
    ksmasne replied to AmandaInAus's response:
    Hi Ladies,

    I suffer from the same problems you do.I just had a colonoscopy do with according to the doctor found only a polyp which was the cause of my problem. He did a blood test, nothing.
    My mom, sister and niece have the same problem too. Myself and my mom were on paxil for a long time. In the beginning it helped but as the years went on stopped working. Also, I didn't have had this since I was in middle school. If I go into a new situation, with new people and not know where the bathroom is, I am sure to have an issue.
    If I could be included in your experiences and anything that help and I will do the same.


    ksmasne replied to Monster28's response:
    Hi Monste28,

    I have the same exact issue! I was given a small project to run and when I was told I had to attend meeting I was sick. I went through the same issues you did with the same out come.
    It's not just meetings. It is new situations, new people, not knowing where a bathroom is, people who talk too much and food I eat. I had a colonoscopy recentlyy and he didn;t find anything in there that would cause our issues. my mom, sister and niece suffer from this problem as well.
    If you have any new information since you wrote this over 2 years ago please let me know. my e-mail is [email protected]


    An_242946 replied to TinkererPutterer's response:
    I'm a 29 yr old male, and have suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for many years. I have seen a psychologist and a psychiatrist, he prescribed Lexapro and a generic called Lorazopam. I have been going through very similar things as you with regards to not letting someone drive me somwhere. I have hurt alot of my friends and family because i've missed trips,special occasions,etc. I have also become very dependent on my wife being by me when I have an attack. I miss a lot of work and have felt that I missed out on many opportunities in life. Not trying to push my religion on anyone, but prayer to my God, Jehovah has helped very much. I am not cured by any means and am still very limited in what I can do. At times the panick attacks are so vivid ( vomitting,diarreaha,chills,warm rush over my body,tingling hands) I think "This is it for me". I think back to the time before my 1st panick attack and think "Why can't I just go back to being normal". But I'm finally coming up with an "Action Plan" I'm going to take the necessary steps to control the attacks, Sorry so long.. P.S I read Isaiah 12:2 it gives me strength when I'm down/
    ksmasne replied to princessiu's response:
    Hi there,

    I was on Paxil for years for our problem and at first it totally helped. It gave my life back. After close to 7 years taking it though it stoped working. I tried Wellbutrin but it didn't work at all and my hair started falling out.
    I had a colonoscopy done and blood work whichl all came back fine. I have started taking Metamucil twice daily and that seems to help with the watery bowel movements but I still get the panic need to use a bathroom.
    I don't take any medication right now but I might have to revisit that if I want to have some type of life. I want to be able to travel and see more than the restroom.
    swaxx responded:
    Ok, recently I've been getting panic attacks when I feel like I need to go to the bathroom and I'm in a situation where I'm not in control. Like in the car with a friend driving, or in traffic. I've been starting to get over these panic attacks by delaying going to the bathroom at times when I'm in control. For example - if you're at home and need to go to the bathroom - DONT. Note the time and wait. See how long you can go before you really have to use the bathroom. In many cases I've been able to wait up to 2 hours before really having to go NOW. Use this technique to build CONFIDENCE. So when you are in traffic or somewhere else and have to go to the bathroom, you can say to yourself, "I've had this exact feeling before and was able a hold it for an hour, I'll be fine." Good luck to everyone I hope this helps
    ksmasne replied to princessiu's response:
    How come you didn't go back on the Effoxer? I am exploring different medications for this and was wondering if it stopped working for you over time?

    aliveagain responded:
    I could have written your letter exactly. I also took Xanax. I avoided places where I was confined, couldn't ride in a vehicle with anyone else (I made too many stops). Xanax is a great help. It is the fastest acting anti-anxiety med I have found, others took to long to kick in. I eventually became a "bathroom mapper", if I didn't know where the bathrooms were on the way as well as at the destination, I didn't go. Later, I became housebound, life was one big panic attack.

    I'm hapy to report thatmy solution came in a small, very inexpensive drug called Celexa. It is available in generic and can be purchased at Walmart for about $6.00 for a one month supply. It's just that simple. This drug has allowed me to go about my life again. It's amazing. Ask your doctor if he/she thinks it's a possible solution for you. I've had this problem since I was about 28 and wasn't able to solve it until I found a new doctor at age 45. Now, Life is good, not perfect, but good.

    Good Luck,
    aliveagain replied to ksmasne's response:
    Ask you Doc about Celexa. It's miraculous! I'm still amazed.

    Good Luck,

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