It is human to be a little anxious and nervous once in a while but if this nervousness and anxiety gets out of hand, and then it is a matter of great concern. Anxiety is a normal preventive action of the body in case of a danger but when this danger becomes imaginative or unreal, this anxiety can cause panic disorders.
Know what a panic attack is?
Panic attack is the fight-flight-freeze response of your body in case of any danger or threat. Your heartbeat accelerates, your blood starts pumping at a faster rate, you feel overwhelmed, nauseous and at the lives end. It is an intense fear that comes unannounced and unexpected and is accompanied by the immobilizing intensity. And know that panic attacks are quite sudden and can be quite frightening.
The reason for the attack cannot be defined as they come out of the blue, without any warning, even when you are in a relaxed state of mind.
Panic attacks can strike out of the blue and can be a one-time thing, but in most cases, it reoccurs and resurges when the situation re-arises when panic attack had happened before. For instance, it might occur due to the fear of crowds or claustrophobia or fear of public speaking and such reasons.
Panic attacks don’t last longer even at the peak of the attack. And the good news is that panic attacks are treatable, there are certain coping techniques that one can learn and practice when having an attack. But, the problem arises when the attacks have become a regular occurrence and are a part of other disorders.
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
Panic attack can strike at any time, whether you are at home or at work or at a mall or away at a vacation. It is better to be prepared in advance and have the knowledge of the telling signs and symptoms of a panic attack.
Anyone having a panic attack may have a few or all of these symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Terrible trembling of the body
- Chest pains and heaviness
- Sweating profusely
- Feeling light-headed
- Fear of dying
- Feeling helpless
- Hot or cold flashes
- Feel like going crazy
- Feeling choked
Any of these symptoms will not last more than half an hour in any person, even at the peak of the attack.
Having a panic attack or two is not a matter of concern but if it persists and repeats every now and then, then it becomes a panic disorder. Having repeated episodes of panic disorders often leads to panic disorders that is accompanied by behavioral changes and persistent fear of another panic attack. Panic attacks without any obvious triggers can also be panic disorder.
Recognize the disorder
Having a panic attack lasts for a short while but it leaves a lasting imprint in the mind of a person. If one is suffering from reoccurring panic attacks, it is bound to take a toll on the physical and emotional health of a person and make him scared of the next panic attack. This may make the person anti-social, scared to venture out in the public and turn him into an emotionally burdened person. He may lose his self-confidence and this will have an adverse effect on his physical and mental health.
Know if you are suffering from the panic disorders if you
- Have frequent panic attacks that are not correlated to any specific situation
- Are scared of the next attack and live in the fear of getting another attack
- Have a fear of losing control
- Have experienced behavioral changes in yourself
Panic disorder symptoms
- Phobic avoidance
A person may start avoiding the situation or a specific place where he had a previous attack and where he thinks there will be no help available or there will be no escape outlet, this becomes Phobic avoidance. In its extreme form, it can become agoraphobia.
- Anticipatory anxiety
A panic attack has passed, yet you are not feeling relaxed and are living in the fear of the next attack. You are anticipating the next panic attack and are not able to have a normal everyday life due to this fear.
Managing and treating panic disorders
If one feels he has a panic disorder, first thing to do is consult a specialist immediately and determine the level of problem. The doctor will conduct a few tests and will try finding out the reason or the triggers for the attacks. Your doctor might refer you to a mental health specialist, like a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
There are two ways of treating panic disorders – psychotherapy and medications. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment for you depending on your medical history and symptoms.
There is a type of psychotherapy for the panic attack patients known as the Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT in short. In this therapy, the patients are taught to think, behave and react differently during an attack. In due process, the attacks diminish and the patients are cured completely.
There are various types of medications that may be prescribed depending on the severity of the problem. They are
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
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Apart from these two methods, the patients can self-help themselves and cope with the attacks on their own in due time.
- Practice breathing techniques or learn yoga
- Get adequate sleep
- Keep in touch with your friends and family
- Have complete knowledge about panic attack
- Exercise regularly and know your triggers
- Breathe quietly and slowly
- Stand up for yourself