I, unfortunately, am not a psychology student, although I now wish I had been. Anyway, I don't really know what this blog is for, if its just for students with questions about their education or if I can ask one of you for your insight on something. I'm hoping one of you can help me.
I have a 22 year-old sister. For about 2-3 years now she has been suffering from these episodes that are really beginning to scare me, especially because I don't live close to her anymore and I can't do anything when she calls me. Her episodes start with chest pain, and then she goes into hyperventilation. She can't breathe and no matter what you do you can't get her to calm down and breathe deep, I at least haven't been successful over the phone, when we lived together I would hold her and try to calm her down. Anyway, she tenses up completely, from head to toe. Her fingers and toes clench up and you have to massage her them to get them back to normal. The worst is that I know it hurts her because she begins to cry and scream. On a few occasions she's called out for my grandfather. It seems to come in waves, because she will get like this, and then you get her to calm down and breathe normally but you can tell she's not all there because her eyes glass over and she looks to be out of it and then she starts hyperventilating again and she tenses all up and its the whole process all over again. When she finally gets over it all, she barely remembers what happened. She knows that she's gone through one but she can't remember details or anything. Last time it took a while to get her to really recognize her boyfriend who she's been with for about a year now. He mentioned that she was very distant with him. The way I've always described her episodes have been comparing them to exorcism. Some are worse, others are controlled in no time, and for a while she was able to detect the onset and she would calm herself before she would start hyperventilating, but the last two have been really bad. They occur like once a month, once every couple of months. I was attributing it to stress, but she's in a good place right now and I can't imagine that she's in as much stress as she was when they started becoming an issue. Another thing I think I should add is that she was bulimic, although I don't know if that has anything to do with it. She went to see a family friend's son who is a psychiatrist and he prescribed her some medicine, but I am still unaware of her actually being diagnosed with something. I think he thought they were just panic attacks and with the medicine it would get better, and it did for a while, but about a year ago they flared up again. I have researched online and I haven't found much aside from panic/anxiety attacks. I never knew they could get that bad, if that's what it really is. Anyway, I would really love some feedback. At least so I can guide her as far as professional help is concerned, who she should go see and all that.
I appreciate anything you can give me.