Dr. Ankur Saraiya talks about how to prevent panic attacks using medication.
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For anybody who's had a panic attack, it's certainly understandable they'd be interested in knowing how you might prevent a panic attack. And I would say that the best way is to get an evaluation with a psychiatrist and find out if there is a medication that you can use that can actually suppress the panic attack. And the reason that this works is two fold. Number one: we do have medications that are very effective at suppressing anxiety symptoms. And second reason they're effective is that panic attacks are generally worse when there is a feeling of a lack of control, and by having the medication, the person who has the panic attacks gets a sense that they can actually control when they have a panic attack or certainly how bad it's going to be. And that greatly reduces the fear of having a panic attack. If you know that shortly after it starts, you can take something and basically stop it in its tracks, you're going to be much less worried about it. And therefore, in the long run, many people end up not needing to take medication because they've reached a place where they know that they can control it if they need to, and it's much less frightening. I'm not one to generally push medications on people, but this is one situation in which medications are so effective and don't necessarily have to be taken long term, that I would strongly recommend that people consider getting an evaluation from a psychiatrist and at least finding out what the pros and cons could be of taking the medications. I think most people would decide that it'd be worth taking them short term so that you wouldn't have to think of panic attacks in the long term.