HOUSTON — Your routine doctor's visits are an opportunity for you to speak up about all of the physical and MENTAL symptoms you experience.
Many don’t tell their primary doctors about mental health symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, or even mood swings.
UT Physicians Dr. Andrea Taylor suffered from frequent panic attacks.
“I had this horrible experience," she said. "My body almost felt like it was exploding from the inside.”
She said her panic attacks used to sometimes make her feel like she was going to die.
“Heart pounding, head spinning, sweating, feeling kind of woozy," she described of her symptoms.
Dr. Taylor said she first noticed she was experiencing a panic attack during her senior year of high school when she was on stage performing in the middle of a choir competition.
She said her panic attacks made her feel like she was going to pass out, but that never happened.
"It’s just the fear and that fear would further drive the anxiety," Dr. Taylor described as the thoughts behind her panic attacks.
Four years after her first panic attack, a visiting college professor told Dr. Taylor he believed she had a panic disorder. She said treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy changed her life.
“It felt like torture," she said. "It was really really hard, and I’m so glad I did it.”
Dr. Taylor is sharing her personal journey with mental health because she believes sometimes, the only way to get to the other side is to go through it.
“'This is really awful and I can handle it.' The more the person learns that typically what happens is they decrease in intensity, they decrease in frequency and people can work to get their lives back," she said.
Experiencing a panic attack is actually quite common. It's estimated a third of the population has experienced one, but only 3 to 5% have panic disorder.
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