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Displaying items by tag: Panic attack

Thursday, 12 July 2012 17:04

In the Belly of the Beast

When we get panic attacks, we all tend to deal with them differently. Mostly because we are all unique individuals and because of that no one persons anxiety or panic attack is exactly like anothers. This is neither good nor bad. Because of this, it wouldn't make sense for me to try and tell you know to treat your anxiety, because what works for someone does nothing for someone else. That being said, all I can do is talk about my experiences and hope that by reading them, someone can relate and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.


You are not alone.


Ever since I knew my worry and symptoms had a name - anxiety disorder - I began searching for articles to read, treatments, and more importantly, people like me. I've been on many online fourms and websites looking for that reassurance that I wasn't the only one feeling the way I felt. I soon found out I was one of millions of people worldwide who suffer with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety Social Net is a great place where I feel I can really be myself. I don't really talk about my anxiety on other social media websites, so I am grateful I can come on here and feel 'normal'.


Let me start out by saying I am on medication right now for my anxiety and depression. I had been medication free for many years, and i was trying to cope naturally. Certain events in my life had made my anxiety unbearable. I was lost, scared and to be honest, I didn't know if I could fight anymore. It was a losing battle and I had lost who I was and what I was worth, in the fight. I did some research and decided to call my local behavioral health facility. They did an assesment and told me I would be staying with them for a few days. It was volluntary, and I knew I needed help, so I took the offer. I didn't know at the time it would be the best decision I could ever make. Once I got of the stigma of being in a "mental hospital", I starting taking every opportunity they gave me with open arms. In the hospital, they put me on medication and monitored me. like most people with anxiety, I get very nervous taking medication, mostly because everything I've been on has given me terrible side effects. I usually start by only taking a quarter of what the doctor perscribed. At the hospital I didn't have a choice, they sat by me with the new medication and a cup of water and urged me to take it. I swallowed the pill and withen 20 minutes I was knocked out.


When I woke up I realized I wasn't dead, and I should take this opportunity to trust the doctors. I did, and I felt better. When I got out (I stayed for 4 days), I felt like a new person. Things were looking up and I had a new look on life.


Until June 1st. On June 1st I got a call at 2 am from my dad. My parents were living about 6 hours North of me. I woke up to my phone ringing and I instantly got a knot in my stomach. Nothing good could be at the other end of the phone. It was my dad. I knew something was wrong. I picked up the phone and answered it by saying "What's wrong!?", my dad's voice was shakey as he told me my mom had had a heart attack. She was alive, but they had to do emergency surgery and they had to fly her 45 minutes to another hospital in Oregan. I hung up the phone and my world came crashing down. I got news she passed away around 6am. Her heart was not strong enough and they could not get to the blockage. She was not sick, she wasn't morbidally obese, it was a complete shock. I love my mom with all heart. I never really knew when people talk about heart break, that a piece of your heart litterly breaks.


Since then I have been battling my anxiety with a vengance. My armor is on, my sword is in hand and I am ready to fight this war. I know there will be days when I feel defeated. When I don't want to leave the house, when the thought of going to grocery store brings feelings of terror and when I'll be perfectly fine then all of sudden I feel like I am going to die. Everyday is something new, and that's my normal.


I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to put all these thoughts in my head into words, and I hope I can make a difference in somebody's life who is battling anxiety. We are not alone and I am proud of every single person who wakes up everyday with anxiety and keeps living, keeps pushing, and won't let thier anxiety define who they are. We are people above all, we are not our illness.



Published in Anxiety General Blog

Are you having a Panic attack? How to identify the signs and symptoms and how to manage panic attacks

It can happen to anyone at any time: in the office, shopping center, while driving, or even while one sleeps at night. Suddenly, without any warning, an individual may feel frightened and extremely overwhelmed.  All at once it feels as if the world is closing in around them and their anxiety levels rapidly rise.  The overwhelming and intense fear and anxiety that the individual feels is seemingly neither justified, nor related to, the present situation. For individuals who have experienced a panic attack the experience can be extremely overwhelming and scary.  The symptoms of a panic attack closely resemble those of a heart attack, but disappear usually within half an hour.  When an individual experiences a panic attack for the first time they will most likely feel extremely scared and overwhelmed by the experience.  It can be extremely scary to feel as if one has lost control of their emotions and anxiety levels.


What Ca You DO?

Have you or someone you know ever been impacted by this type of an experience? If so, the person affected will never forget the sensations and will most likely want some additional information regarding their panic filled experience.  Information and supports are highly valuable so that individuals are better prepared if they ever face it again in the future. If an individual has not experienced a panic attack themselves then it is still extremely valuable to gain a greater understanding of how panic attacks and panic disorders arise and affect individuals.  Everyone should learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of panic attacks and should take active measures to avoid this anxiety filled experience.  Even if you do not believe that you are at risk of developing a panic attack, chances are that someone you know or love may experience one sometime during their lifetime.  Everyone can benefit from gaining a greater understanding of panic attacks.


People who suffer sudden panic attack may experience the following symptoms:


  • Acceleration of heartbeat
  • Sweating or chills
  • Tremors
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling out of control


The panic attack, though overwhelmingly intense and frightening, is a brief panic filled episode that usually lasts approximately 10 minutes.  The duration, exact symptoms, and intensity of the panic attack will vary from person to person.  In some cases, it may take up to half an hour for the symptoms to disappear completely.


Panic attack and panic disorder

The experience of a panic attack is viewed as being a manifestation of anxiety that may occur in relation to various other events, experiences, situations, and relationships that cause stress in the individual’s life.  For example, an individual experiencing a panic attack may be overwhelmed and stressed by family relationships or work.  Even though the panic attack may appear to happen during a completely unrelated situation to the major stressor in one’s life the two experiences are strongly linked.  If the panic attack happens only once then it is simply an uncomfortable and unsettling experience.  If the panic attacks recur frequently then it is identified as a condition known as panic disorder. This condition can be completely paralyzing if the person, in addition to suffering from the panic attacks, begins to fear repeat panic attacks in the future.  This experience of repeated panic attacks and the fear of potential upcoming panic attacks creates a vicious cycle which leads to increasingly intensified symptoms.


Panic disorder is characterized by the following:


  • Avoidance of the places and situations where the person experienced panic attacks in the past, which leads to a major disruption in their functioning.  Examples of this could be avoiding a store, an elevator, or a car where a previous panic attack took place.
  • Beginning to feel that everything is out of control
  • Feeling great concern that another attack is about to come
  • Experience of increased levels of anxiety and stress
  • Repeated panic attacks over at least a six month period


These symptoms can quickly spiral out of control and should be treated with medical supports.  Fortunately, a panic disorder is a condition that can be treated effectively with medication and psychotherapy, or a combination of both. If necessary and deemed appropriate, an anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.  Antidepressants and heart medications, known as beta blockers, have been shown to help individuals manage episodes of panic disorder.


If you experience a panic attack, even if you only experience it once, it is strongly recommended that you see a doctor. You should receive a complete medical examination that will rule out the presence of any other disease or physical problem.  If you find that the frequency and intensity of your panic attacks continues to increase it is strongly recommended that you continue to consult a doctor to evaluate your symptoms and condition.  Individuals with a panic disorder are more prone to depression, suicide attempts, and the abuse of substances like drugs and alcohol. If not treated panic attacks may recur for months or even years, wreaking havoc on one’s emotional state.


Possible Treatment for Panic Attacks:

Panic attack sufferers do not have to be held captive by worry because there are many effective treatment options for this condition. Panic attacks can be treated with medication and through psychotherapy.  These treatments can be used either on their own or together depending on the degree of severity of the condition and the type of treatment that is determined to be most appropriate.


MedicationFor Panic Attacks:

panic attack medication

The most common medication treatment for panic attacks is antidepressants. These medications have the power to inhibit the development of panic attacks through altering one or more of the brain’s chemical levels in the body.  Typically,  levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are targeted. The type of antidepressant drug usually used for the treatment of panic attacks are SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. This type of medication is commonly viewed as being a last resort treatment method and is generally only used when all other resources have been exhausted. It is a very potent and effective drug.  However, it needs to be used under strict medical supervision and close diet monitoring because it has the possibility to interact with some foods, drinks, and other synthetic drugs that the patient may be consuming. SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Another commonly prescribed drug is benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety drugs. Like the SSRIs, these medications should be taken with strict guidance from a physician and should only be used sparingly because they can be very addictive. The duration of medication use will depend on the individual patient’s need. Sometimes a medication may only be needed for a week and in other cases an individual may find they need to stay on medications for years or even throughout the rest of their life. Psychotherapy  For Panic Attack:psichlogy And Anxiety

Physiotherapy For Panic Attacks:

psychology of a panic attack

Psychotherapy is generally viewed as still being the best form of treatment for panic attacks.   Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating panic attacks. This particular kind of therapy focuses on the importance of individual behavior and the thought processes of an individual.  Through this therapy individuals can gain greater insight into their symptoms.  Additionally, individuals can be equipped to manage and prevent their symptoms in the future.

Published in Anxiety General Blog
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We are a community of people struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone!