Dear Dr. Archer,
My wife has a serious problem. She is 31 years old, and recently started experiencing panic attacks. I believe she is now suffering from panic anxiety disorder, as it is getting worse.
Meanwhile, she is behaving like a confused person, forgetting things and being depressed. Even though she is doing her daily chores, she always looks like she is in deep thought and depressed.
From time to time she will be crying and then suddenly she is laughing. All the while, she is trying to hide this behavior from me. She refuses to talk to me about what is going on with her, and I am worried.
I took her to a psychiatrist, but he gave her three medications all at once! Is this normal? Please help me. Ask if you have any questions; I just want you to save my wife, please.
Depression and anxiety often occur together and panic attacks are considered a type of anxiety disorder so all of this you describe is often seen together. See this recent blog
. The one interesting thing you mention is the mood swings from crying to laughing which could be bipolar symptoms.
The key is to let a professional sort this out. On this site I focus on helping folks with a single problem that can be addressed with advice from me. But sometimes I recommend a psychiatric appointment when the symptoms are complex or medications may be indicated such as in this case, Tan.
Thus, here a psychiatrist is important and I’m glad you’ve already taken that step. As for three meds, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though I prefer to start with one medication, sometimes it may be appropriate to prescribe for example, an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety med for panic attacks and sleeping pill all at once.
Regarding your wife not talking to you, that’s a problem. I suggest you ask to go to her next psychiatric appointment with her and while there request to have her sign a release of information for you to with the doctor. That way the psychiatrist can discuss her case with you.
Make sure to get the exact diagnosis and to describe the mood swings, panic attacks and depression. The more information the doctor gets the better he can treat her condition and the more informed you will become.
As your wife gets better I think she will open up and talk to you more. It’s often difficult for someone to talk about new onset mental symptoms because they are frightened.