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Panic attacks, anxiety, medication and PIP

sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
 I have several complex illnesses which affect my daily living and mobility. One of these is Bipolar forwhich I take Lamotrigine and Nortryptaline although the Nortryptaline also doubles as a pain killer. Last year I started to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. This has been discussed with my gp and my psychiatrist and as I am very reluctant to take any more medication than I already do (and I take quite a bit) it was decided that I would try and manage this myself (my choice) with breathing exercises and distraction etc. I like to try and help myself rather than rely on meds all the time. However, a few months ago I was struggling to control it but I am seeing my mental health support nurse at the end of June so I thought I would wait and woukd discuss it then. A few weeks ago I had my disastrous pip assessment. Two days later my assessor phoned to ask me what medication I take for my panic attacks and anxiety, as my cm wanted to know. I said Lamotrigine and Nortryptaline (which was prescribed as above).  Because I do not take or at least I don’t think I take actual medication for panic attacks and anxiety.  Will this go against me the fact that I’m not taking medication for my panic attacks and. Anxiety?  Lamotrigine is a mood stabiliser and as I have been so mentally unwell recently my psychiatrist has suggested Lithium which I have refused due to its side effects as I want to try other avenues first, Since my pip assessment my panic attacks and anxiety have gone through the roof and I’m now being sick at just the thought of leaving the house. I have an appointment next week with my gp to discuss this. So much for trying to help yourself, the DWP undoes  any progress a claimant maybe making. By trying to help themselves or otherwise. 

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    It shouldn't go against you although some may disagree. PIP is about how your conditions affect you not about a diagnosis. However, if a decision's been made then any worsening conditions won't be taken into consideration.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @sheZZa, thank you for taking the time to share this with us. Like Poppy has said, PIP is about how your condition affects you rather than any diagnosis. I wish you the very best of luck with the outcome and I hope your anxiety settles soon. If you need anything else then please don't hesitate to ask :)
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  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @poppy123456
    thank you. I just thought it was funny why she asked what medication I was on for my panic attacks and anxiety even though I had given a list of my medications. 
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @Chloe_Scope
    thank you. My panic attacks and anxiety are part of my Bipolar which has been the case since I first applied for pip in 2014. I was awarded enhanced both daily living and mobility then although that’s not to say I will now. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    You're very welcome! Well I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! I hope you have a lovely afternoon :)
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  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    sheZZa said:
    @poppy123456
    thank you. I just thought it was funny why she asked what medication I was on for my panic attacks and anxiety even though I had given a list of my medications. 
    Maybe she was looking to see if you had insight into your condition and treatment. The insight relates to the mental health assessment part.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @twonker
    we didn’t discuss it really other than her asking what meds I was taking for it. The conversation was over the phone and finished quite quickly. She said that the case manager wanted to know and that she might be call me for another assessment and would that be okay. Th next day I had a text from the DWP saying that they had received the report. It all seemed rather strange. I do have insight into my condition and do all that I can to manage it but sometimes I need help. Fortunately my gp is very supportive and my psychiatrist is always on hand if I need her urgently too.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @ilovecats
    thats good to hear. She had a list of all my meds. She only concentrated on the depressive side of bipolar. We did not discuss the manic side. It was obvious she had very little knowledge or understanding. Still I shall just have to wait and see. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    @sheZZa I've seen my report which I'm seriously annoyed about, the assessor has tried to make out I don't have mental health problems despite there being evidence, I'm not going to bore you with it but I made a post on the forums about it. It's made my health worse.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm very glad you have that support network around you @sheZZa! I wish you the very best of luck and have my fingers crossed for a good outcome :)
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  • melissahicking2019melissahicking2019 Member Posts: 122 Courageous
    edited May 2019
    hi, my friend just won his tribunal and he gets only risperidome 1mg for mental health depression and his panic attacks. So no particular meds for panic attacks as such, but also my friend refusedto take meds up until a few month ago and has only just started to take them.

    So at the time of assessment and appeal he was not on them.

    hope this helps.

    as long as you have good evidence to back up your application or appeal DWP or the tribunal will award you .

    Mel. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for sharing this positive experience @melissahicking2019! :) So glad your friend won is tribunal!
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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    That's good to read @melissahicking2019 wish my second assessor had been as understanding as the first one.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @melissahicking2019
    I’m pleased to hear that your friend was successful. It gives me hope. Thank 
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @WF2k
    I think they aggravate  people’s mental illnesses and cause others to suffer who previously did not before their assessment. How can those lacking in experience, knowledge and understanding  of any disability and make an informed, accurate and honest assessment. It filled me with great confidence when my assessor told me that she had never heard of one of my disabilities. Not! 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    I agree, I'm actually going to buy some rescue remedy because my anxiety has been so bad, I can't go to the medical centre it's a 3 - 4 week for an appointment and the GP's lack understanding anyway. Plus I find it hard to go out.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @WF2K
    I’m really sorry to hear how you’re feeling and this process causes so much added stress which you don’t need. Mental health illness is difficult to manage at the best of times and a 3-4 week wait to see your gp or psychiatrist seems forever when you’re desperate. Is it at all possible for you to change to another GP? Although that doesn’t mean that they will be any more understanding. I am extremely lucky with the support I get. If I can’t get an appointment my gp has told the receptionist to email her to say that I need to see her. She will then phone me and if needed I will see her no later than the next day. I hope you feel better soon x
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    I've tried looking for a different medical centre and they either worse than the one I'm with or I'm out of their catchment area :( I even asked the practice manager of the medical centre where my previous GP is at if I could go there, she said I was too far out, which is a shame as my previous GP has been really supportive over the years.
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    The days of having a nominated and regular GP are long gone. You are now more likely to see a locum than a GP that's if they agree that you can see a doctor in the first place. My surgery only offers appointments with a nurse. every time I have telephoned them.

    Luckily your records are online so it doesn't really matter who you see.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    Mine aren't online though.. I've checked! 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2019
    WF2k said:
    Mine aren't online though.. I've checked! 
    There's only a very limited amount of medical records available online. If you want to see them you have to request them, which is free of charge for digital copies.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    @poppy123456 Yeah, I'm alright, I don't need anything at the moment, was just responding to Twonker and telling him mine aren't online. Only very limited things as you have said.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,258 Disability Gamechanger
    My surgery allows access to my full records on line. I had to produce 2 forms of ID for  security with a written request.
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    edited May 2019
    WF2k said:
    Mine aren't online though.. I've checked! 
    They will be online within the surgery where the doctors and nurses can access them and read up on your history. There is really no need for you to access them yourself.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    They are not available unless you request them.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    Hmm I don't know, someone on another forum said they could access theirs online through something that some medical centres are signed up to but I can't remember the name of it.
  • stonker01stonker01 Member Posts: 51 Connected
    My partners previous GP practice gave me a password for online viewing this was the practice manager.
    The GP practice this time which has been our new practice printed off onto paper all of my partners records from the date she has been there with a list break down of all conditions and problems as far back as 1993.
    A week later gave me a disc with a password on paper which is my partners entire GP records I've not looked at it yet so not sure how this way works 
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
    edited May 2019
    Hi I recently got an award for PIP. Some points I was not awarded I am considering to request a MR. (I have posted a discussion on here on whether I should request as I do not wish to  have my money stopped whilst awaiting a decision).
     I just saw your discussion and thought it similar my recent application.
    Amongst other illnesses I have I also suffer with severe anxiety and depression and find it difficult to be around people and rarely go out. 
    I had evidence of a specialist stating this and that I take 150mg Sertraline. The DWP stated I am not taking specific anxiety tablets. Even though Sertraline is an SSRI which can help for both anxiety and depression (social phobia panic attacks, ptsd etc) So I am in the process of considering sending in a request for an MR along with the evidence and further information again.  
    Hope your decision is good news.
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
    @ilovecats I find it bizarre that I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression but given Sertraline 150mg as a medication. Which does not help me.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    Have you told your GP? It's trial and error with meds. You need to find what suits you.

    I don't take medication anymore after trying a lot of different ones, a psychiatrist advised me to stop taking them and then referred me for CBT, sadly that didn't help either! So I struggle daily with different mh problems plus fibro, I can't take tablets now anyway.
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
    Thank you for replying both of you. I didn’t find CBT helpful so my Sertraline was upped to 150mg from 100mg. I will go back to GP. But think it’s unfair for a decision by DWP to state I am not suffering severe anxiety when I know I am and a MH expert has stated this is the case.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    The same has happened to me and I've had different treatment, counselling, CBT, meds, even tried relaxation classes. Will probably have to do an MR when I get the decision.
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @KEE
    I read your other post. It is so wrong when the DWP penalise anyone who tries to help themselves and who try to cope without taking medication. You just can’t win. 
    I’ve been mentally preparing myself for an mr. One minute I’m positive and the next I’m not. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @WF2k
    Gone are the days when you could choose your gp and your surgery. After some of the stories I hear I know I am very lucky and fingers crossed it will continue that way. 

    When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar my psychiatrist gave me a list of medications and their side effects and told me to read up on them and then choose which medication I would prefer. I did and chose Lamotrigine which I am still taking. However, after Christmas my mood really plunged and my psychiatrist suggested that I try Lithium which I refused. We then agreed that I would join a Bipolar Support Group and see how I was after that. The chap running the support group was rubbish and I didn’t get much out of it. I’m still taking Lamotrigine and am being supported by a Community Mental Health Nurse. If I need to change medication or see my psychiatrist the MHN will arrange it. I am always given a say in my treatment.

    Also, I have all my medical records from my local hospital. I completed a medical request form and received my records a week later. I did not pay anything for them. It used to cost up to but no more than £50, but now there is no charge. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    I just don't think it's fair that people are judged by the meds they do or don't take, what type of meds they take and if they have input or not. Treatment doesn't work for all of us which I've found out myself over the past 25 years. 
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
    So true and the DWP are not Mental Health experts
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
    @sheZZa Thank you and Good luck to you too.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @WF2k
    I totally agree with you. I also think you should not be penalised for trying to help yourself and manage your conditions.,Whenever I have seen a constant/psychiatrist they strive to help me understand understand my conditions and support me to manage them. It’s a shame the DWP do not take the view that even you are trying to help yourself it doesn’t mean that your have recovered from your illness. 
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @KEE
    The DWP are not expert in anything. I have been seeing various neurologists for a spinal headache. It has taken me seven years to find a neurologist who specialises in spinal headaches and is treating me accordingly. If neurologists could not find the spinal leak and understand the symptoms how on earth could an assessor write a knowledgeable and informed report?! 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    @sheZZa I wish I had recovered from them, I wouldn't be suffering on a daily basis! I would probably be out doing the care work I wanted to do for years. 

    I have headaches 24/7 they ended up putting them down to Vertigo but I think there's a bit more to them than that. They say it's part of FM but I don't know, I have problems with my neck and ears as well.. I've tried to get help with them (along with a  lot of other health problems) but no luck just like the mental health problems.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    sheZZa said:
    @KEE
    The DWP are not expert in anything.
    I agree but it's not the DWP that write the reports, it's the HCPs and the case manager/decision maker relies heavily on that report.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • KEEKEE Member Posts: 84 Courageous
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    None of them have the knowledge and experience of medical conditions and the impact a disability can have on a person. Hopefully one day the system will change for the better xx
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    They don't need that knowledge because all conditions affect people differently. What might affect one person, may not affect another. You can have a disability but still not be entitled to PIP because if those descriptors don't fit you then you won't score the points for an award.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    I understand what you are saying but I disagree. I think they do need some knowledge. Disabilities do affect everyone differently and as such not everyone will need or be entitled to pip  but an assessor should have some insight into what a person has been diagnosed with and how it may affect them. Part of my disability is an eroded TVTO which is extremely painful and very debilitating. The assessor admitted she didn’t know what it was and so ignored it and just concentrated on depression and how suicidal have I been. She was only interested in my mental health probably because she could not fit anything else into the descriptors and would have had some light training in that condition. I also have a CSF Leak, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and Bipolar. I find them all very debilitating and hard to live with. Altogether it is very complex and the conditions overlap one another. . My assessor did not have a clue about CSF Leaks either and the questions which she read from her script were not appropriate for her to gain the information she needed to make an informed and honest report. Had she been knowledgeable I am sure the assessment would have been more positive and she would not have been irritated by me and continually press me for answers when I struggled to answer her questions. My previous assessor, a paramedic, four years ago, had an understanding of all my illnesses and the impact they may have on a person. Needless to say, she wrote a good report and I was awarded higher rate for both daily living and mobility immediately. This time I am expecting to request a mandatory reconsideration. 
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @WF2k
    would you pm me please to discuss your headaches? 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    Sure :) I dropped you a pm the other day as I recall :)
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited May 2019
    I have to agree with @sheZZa this has pretty much happened to me, I'm not going to go on because I feel like I'm repeating myself and ranting.
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
      psychiatrist suggested that I try Lithium 
    Wow that brings back memories!
    I was on that stuff along with other anti psychotic medication for about 5 years. The side effects, symptoms and compulsory blood tests were so bad that I ended up back under section. Eventually I managed to drop off their radar system, cut back on the quantity of the drugs and supplemented everything with up to 6 litres of cider a day + whiskey. That lasted another 12 months or so until I ended up in hospital with Acute Pancreatitis caused by the excessive alcohol and prescription drugs.


    You did the right thing. Lithium and other meds they mix it with is a godamned nightmare. 
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    @twonker
    I refused the lithium as I have enough going on without the side effects of that as well.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    Lol @sheZZa check your inbox XD
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