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Displaying items by tag: Panic attacks

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 18:39

Doctors + Sertaline

 

Well, I dont know about anybody else, but visiting the doctors is so nerve racking.. i fear the unwell people around me, germs, and anything the doctor may say.

found something useful.. if anybody gets nervous in the waiting rooms, take a kindle! the need to concentrate on the story helps the time go faster and reduce the anxiety and panic x

But atleast its good news for me today :), i am however also upping the dose of sertraline to 150mg... anybody else on this medication? and on this dose?? it is tripple the dose i was on a couple months ago. whats your views on it??

Atleast i have a very understanding doctor who rreally goes the extra mile to understand, listen and do the best she can for me, i really appriciate it :) its nice to have someone you can trust with your health and wellbeing.

 

x

Published in Diary
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 06:42

Your Panic Attack Cannot Kill You

Some Facts on Why a Panic Attack Can't Really Kill You

 

Your panic attack cannot kill you. Of all the things I have learned, this is by far the most crucial. When you are in that moment of panic, your heart is racing, your mind is lost, you're having trouble breathing, and you may feel like you're going to die. When I had my first major panic attack, I thought I was about to die. I was literally saying my good-byes to the world as I paced back and forth in my bathroom at 5am. I awoke my wife, unsure if I was going to be saying good-bye to her forever or having her drive me to the ER. But upon waking (and scaring the Hell out of her) I was able to get some comfort and began to calm down. It soon passed and a state of confusion took over for the fear. I will get to that in another post. But, although I sure felt like this must be the end for me, it surely wasn't. This was years ago and I am still alive and kicking.


Your panic attack simply does not have the ability to kill you. I will explain why. The panic attack is created entirely by you. It may seem to be triggered by outside factors, but really it is all coming from your amygdala, a primal part of your brain that controls feelings such at the fight-or-flight response. If you have an anxiety disorder, this fight-or-flight response is simply being misdirected. It is being triggered when it really isn't needed. This is what makes it so scary. If you stubbed your toe while going for a glass of water in the middle of the night, you would feel pain, but you wouldn't feel fear because you know the source of your pain is from the corner of that chair that was left where it shouldn't be. If you felt that same pain just now as you're sitting at your computer desk reading this, you'd be extremely alarmed. The reason is that you wouldn't know the source of the pain. The same is true with anxiety. If you feel scared while facing a legitimate threat, say you are facing an angry bear, you are going to feel anxiety and panic for sure. But it will be well placed. Your amygdala is giving you instinctual fuel to get yourself out of that dangerous situation quickly. You will flea and the panic and fear will leave you shortly after the threat is gone.

 

But, in the case of an anxiety disorder, you are experiencing that same fight-or-flight response when there is no legitimate threat. This makes it all the more alarming. You don't have anywhere to direct this fight-or-flight. There is nothing to fight and there is nowhere for you to direct your flight. This perpertuates the fear. In the analogy of the bear, you would simply have learned to be afraid any time you saw a bear. In the anxiety case, your brain will simple place the same type of association with whatever stimulus is around at the time. If you were driving over a bridge when your panic attack hit you, your brain my end up putting a fear association with bridges and you may begin to feal anxiety when crossing bridges. That's the way these things work. It's important to understand why these associations are there in order to get past them.


The panic attack is created entirely by your amygdala, a part of your brain. You have no direct control over the amygdala. You can only control the input that is directed towards it. If it recieves the signal for panic, it will act accordingly. You have the ability though to change how other parts of your brain operate in order to inhibit the signals of panic from being sent to the amygdala unneccessarily. This comes with a deep understanding of who you are and how you think. You have to change the negative thought patterns that are contributing to these false signals being sent over to that primal part of your brain.

 

With an understanding of the amygdala comes the realization that it does not have the ability to destroy itself. The human body is not equipped with a "self-destruct" button. Have you ever played in the swimming pool to see which of your friends can hold their breath the longest? The overwhelming urge to return the surface will happen long before you really run out of life-sustaining oxygen. Sit now and try to stop your heart from beating. It cannot be done. Your amygdala is also responsible for this. It keeps your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and all of your other primary functions going. It also triggers that natural fight-or-flight response that becomes a panic attack when misdirected. It simply does not have the ability to end your life. The amygdala's primary function is to sustain your life. It is a very primal part of your brain and just does not have the option to do anything else.

 

It can not destroy itself and thus it cannot destroy you. Having faith in this can go a long way to stopping that panic attack before it eats you alive. Acceptance is one of the most advocated methods for overcoming anxiety, and for good reason. Acceptance becomes a lot easier when you realize, with confidence, that there is an end. You will survive the panic attack. It will last no longer than 20 minutes, usually much shorter than that, and then your life will continue. If you tell yourself this, and truly believe it, when panic begins to set in you may find yourself just coasting on in peace.


Best of luck!

 

-Aaron

Published in Anxiety General Blog
Saturday, 10 November 2012 09:11

Anxiety Attack at Night - Nightmarish attacks

How to Deal with Anxiety Attack at Night

 

Lack of sleep can make anyone lose focus during daytime; some people become very irritable and do not have the energy to do any progressive work. Sleep lost is attributed to some mental and physical conditions. Sometimes people with certain ailments find it hard to sleep. In some cases stress and depression also causes lack of sleep.

Anxiety attacks at night are very possible for those people who are very stressed in their everyday lives. Body and mental fatigue can trigger anxiety in anyone, especially those who have quite weak personalities.

Chronic anxiety attacks can be experienced at night when the condition is not properly diagnosed and treated.

 

Common Reasons Why anyone can Experience Anxiety Attacks at Night:

 

Chemical imbalance causes anxiety attacks at night. If the brain can not release enough serotonin for the body, chemical imbalance occurs. Serotonin is a substance responsible for the body to stay clam and relax; without adequate supply of this substance, a person can suffer from panic attacks at night.

A stressful day can result in an anxiety attack at night. A person who recalls the unhappy events of the day will naturally find it hard to relax and can have certain panic-stricken thoughts that can lead to anxiety.

Having sleep disorders such as sleep apnea that affects the heart beat as well as the blood pressure can make the person have disturbed sleeps at night. Sleeping and waking up continuously at night can cause anxiety attacks at night.

Addiction to certain substances can also cause sleep disturbances that can trigger anxiety attacks at night. Too much coffee, alcohol or drugs when consumed by an anxiety patient may worsen the condition.

 

Anxiety Attack Symptoms:

 

Any normal person, who has suddenly been thrown at a very stressful period in his life, can experience anxiety attacks at night. But a person who is chronically suffering from anxiety can normally go through continuous anxiety attacks at night. Her are some symptoms that may tell you that you are having anxiety attacks at night:

 

    • your post is promoting a questionable product or service.
    • you post is offensive to others
    • your post is not relevant to ASN (for instance a dentist promoting his services) 
    • your post offers no value to the community or is an excuse to post a link or promote a service.
    • Faster heartbeat and palpitations
    • Sudden chest pain when in bed
    • Discomfort while trying to relax in bed
    • Excessive sweating
    • Nausea
    • Body trembling
    • Numbness and dizziness
    • Hot and cold feelings to the extremes
    • Muscle and joint pains
    • Unexplained tiredness

     

    Prevention of Anxiety Attacks at Night:

     

    If you had a stressful day and you are afraid to having anxiety attack at night, then you might want to try some things to prevent it from happening.

    Take a warm shower before bedtime to help in the easing of the tensions in the muscles.

    Meditate for a few seconds, so that your mind will be taken away from thinking of the stressful events of the day. Instead of thinking how the vents has gone through, think of other events that have made you happy or think of good things to look forward to.

    You can also read a book or have a few minutes with your children. Some activities such board game playing or book reading with kids can make anyone relaxed. Kids have the powered to make anyone feel at ease and forget the problems of the day.

    At nights after stressful days, avoid drinking too much coffee, which may keep you awake. If you are awake longer than necessary, you will have the tendency to think of what happened and this may trigger the attack.

     

    Treatments for Anxiety Attacks at Night:

     

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is the recommended treatment for anxiety attacks at night. This therapy is a systematic approach in solving disorders that are commonly related to dysfunctional emotions and behaviors. With a psychiatric therapy you will be able to find out the reasons for the attacks and will enable you ant your therapist to find the right answers to your problems.

    There are also anti-anxiety drugs that are available with the right prescription from your physician.

     

    Here some more info on anxiety attack at night

     

     

Published in Anxiety General Blog
Saturday, 06 October 2012 22:56

A Hard Month, Impossible Anxiety and Panic Attacks!

Last month, on September 3rd, I had a huge panic attack out of nowhere after coming home from IHOP at 3am in the morning. I felt some strong social anxiety at IHOP and knew something was wrong, but I freaked out about an hour after I got home and lost it, and thought I was having a heart attack! I wasn't of course, but when it had happened I felt so weak I thought I was going to collapse, my head was spinning A LOT, and I felt impending doom. After they dealt with me at the hospital by giving me fluids and some ativan through an IV, I had complained to them about my stomach being all torn up recently. It was IBS type symptoms, but I wasn't specific because I was just getting over my biggest panic attack ever. So, they gave me Nexium, and some ativan. I took the Nexium and before you knew it, my stomach BLEW UP! All of a sudden I had acid reflux, I couldn't sleep in my bed, because the acid would run up my esophagus and was causing me to be extremely nauseous and the acid was slamming against my gastric ulcer, or ulcers constantly. I was not only full of anxiety, but now, I was constantly scared that I was dying because of my issues!

I went to my doctor the next day and got her to give me a prescription for Buspar. As a back story, I've been on Lexapro for years, but about three years ago I complained to my doc that the sexual side affects were too much, and I was far too tired all of the time. I had been seeing someone and I wanted to be able to "perform", so, we tried new medications. NOTHING worked. Everything was worse than the Lexapro. Cymbalta made me so that I couldn't walk across the room at work, Pristique made my heart pound through my chest, I tried Celexa again, and it just was a no go. Must have been because of the Lexapro, and so, it was deemed that nothing was working and I was very susceptible to the side affects of all this medicine, so he gave me a prescription for Xanax and told me to hang in there. Which, I did, until the last part of last year when I started having an extremely hard time. I started having constant anxiety, and I could NOT shake it. I told him, and I may have tried Lexapro again, that slips my mind, but I guess the side affects were still too much. So, for the last three years, I've been off and on meds, but more OFF them, and that came back to haunt me last month when I had the worst panic attack I've had in 11 years, and am continuing to deal with it as we speak.

I've come dependent on the Xanax, and the Buspar at 20mg, 2x per day does not seem to do the job entirely. I have been haunted by dark thoughts of dying now and at an old age, so dying at all and I can't stop my mind from racing. I am having more and more mini-panic attacks, I just had a crazy episode not two hours ago that has just let up. I can't exactly call my doctor now because it's a Saturday, but I believe I need to be tapered off the Buspar and back onto the Lexapro. I still have a full bottle, so it is possible to start immediately but I don't want to do ANYTHING without his approval.

I've since quit the Nexium and calmed my stomach down with a Aloe Vera Stomach Formula drink and Zantac, with more natural stuff on the way, but even though my stomach has improved the last few days, my stress still tears at it, and I'm still suffering from harsh night time reflux and have to sit up in my chair. Nevermind that before the Nexium, I never had this problem. IF I had a hiatal hernia, it certainly never bothered me with the short episodes, which were few and far between. I've had to change doctors because the last one didn't take me seriously about the problems the Nexium was causing, which included sending a pulse to my chest and making my arms and neck buzz and tingle that kept me from sleeping at night, and the new doctor tried Prilosec, which worked, but had the same symptoms, and between that and the BUSPAR I could barely operate. So, since maybe Thurs. of last week, I've been on Zantac and Aloe Vera, with antacids. I'm hoping that gets better sooner than later because it's making me stress more! It's one big vicious cycle. He also setup an appoint with a specialist to get me scoped from both ends to confirm my IBS/Ulcers, and probably Acid Reflux issues and make sure nothing worse was going on in there, which, in itself, has me frightened, because of the unknown of the tests and if there could be anything worse going on with me. I'm not bleeding from either end, so if there is, I can only imagine at the very least it's not advanced staged. I think that in itself is crazy however also, because more than likely it's just a more sever form of IBS and a few Ulcers getting slammed by the Acid that the Nexium made 100% worse for weeks on end until i figured it out!

So here I sit, tripping like crazy, trying to keep my mind off all of this negative stuff while waiting on getting the endoscopy and colonoscopy all at the same time. All of this weighs heavily on me. I can't even make it in to work and had to get the boss to do a schedule change for me, which I'm hoping will eleviate some of the stress, since my schedule is 5:45am, and I haven't been able to sleep at night. So now, I'm gonna work at night, try and sleep during the day.

I am NOT doing well right now and I'm having a very hard time! I may even have to go ahead and let my car go because I'm missing so much work. Which means, I will have to call the bank and negotiate some type of return and then pay off any excess balance that I might be upside down on over time and ruin my credit on top of that I imagine. I just can't afford to live like I had been and that would be the first thing to go. :(

I just want my life back. :( I'm going downhill fast, and the only support system I have are friends on Facebook. Some are helpful, but ultimately, I have no one here with me to tell me it's going to be ok and I'm hurting.

Published in Diary
Friday, 22 June 2012 20:29

attack

Had a Panic attack at acdemy... the day before Father's day... there were so many people there that couldn't breathe at all! I just wish that my anxiety would go away!

Published in Diary
Friday, 08 June 2012 05:00

History to Present

When I was a little kid, I didn't feel shy. I was always very reserved and soft-spoken, but I didn't feel any awkwardness. When I was six, another kid once asked me why I was so shy. I remember responding with, "I just don't have anything to say." So much of the time, I still feel that I'm not a shy person, and that I never have anything to add to a conversation. Back to history though. Growing up, I had so many opportunities. I was always doing so many extracurricular activities like dance and art classes, but my parents never, and I mean NEVER forced me to do anything I didn't want to. Little me learned that I never had to do anything that made me uncomfortable, and things started to get uncomfortable. The more I was told my voice was too quiet, the more I was called tiny, the more I was told I looked so young, the more I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to...the more anxiety seemed to plant its seeds. I went to private school until I was 14. Most of the kids there had known each other since at least second or third grade. The first half of the year at my new public school was fantastic. I had so much to learn, I was well-liked by most everyone, and I had my first boyfriend. The day he broke up with me was one of the first major turning point in my life. I learned what depression was. Other than school, I did not leave my house for two months. When I was at school, I was a ghost. My friends stopped calling, and I stopped caring. I lost interest in all the things I used to love. People started to see me differently. I was no longer the bright and happy girl. I was odd. To odd even for the outcasts. People would approach me, but quickly lose interest. And eventually, no one approached me. Even depressed, I was enthusiastic about my new appearance. I started wearing make-up, dying my hair, and dressing creatively. To others, I guess I looked as depressed as I acted. Needless to say, they were less enthusiastic than I. I can't really say what the next few years were like, because I don't remember much. I found new friends, and new hobbies that mostly included drugs and alcohol and boys. My only anxiety I remember back then came from wanting so badly to express myself creatively in ways my parents didn't approve of, and from school which became increasingly difficult. I started having health problems and eating disorders. School became a nightmare. I couldn't keep up with my friends, drugs, health problems, eating disorders, family problems, and school. I started having panic attacks. They would start the instant I laid out my homework on the table. My work wouldn't get completed, and I was terrified of going to class empty handed. I stopped going to class because I was always either sick or panicking about being empty handed. It was a vicious cycle. Whenever things got tough or uncomfortable, I would run away from them. I didn't have to deal with anything I didn't want to. The one thing that was always comfortable was relationships. I was always in one, never single for more than a week. They always ended in one of two ways; I got bored, or I had smothered them so much that someone ended the unhealthy relationship. The more I was in relationships, the less time I spent with friends or focusing on myself at all. When my significant other wanted space, I was terrified because I had no life outside of them. Another vicious cycle. I think that's when my social interaction got really uncomfortable. And of course, I never had to do anything that made me uncomfortable. All I cared about and thought about was my boyfriend. And who wants to hear someone blab on and on about their significant other? I tried to make friends, but no one stuck around for long. I was always the one initiating plans. I wasn't involved at school or work or anywhere for that matter, so I didn't have a place to connect to anyone. I went through periods of giving up. When I got to the point of feeling like a circus freak from how socially awkward I felt when I'd go to the grocery store, I'd throw myself into social situations like parties. (but never without Jack, Jim, or Jerry to help me endure the dreaded introductions and small talk.) It was magic! I'd wake up in the morning with pictures on my camera, and new friends. And it seemed to cost me no effort. Well most functioning people can't always spend time with Jack, Jim, or Jerry. I didn't feel comfortable when they weren't around. I tried to be a productive functioning member of society, but that included going out and talking to people. it seemed I had to choose; be a non-functioning lonely recluse, or be a non-functioning social drunk. The choice seemed logical enough to me....until of course, I hit that "rock bottom." This was no way to be. Surely, I thought, therapy will help me. Well it did, but only because I had fun learning about psychology and how awesomely screwed up I was, and it helped me to be a little less lonely. Someone not only listened to all my bullshit, but they gave me compliments too! Drugs didn't help much either. I was on them for depression, and they made me feel like shit. What was a 16 year old doing on Prozac anyway? So now, I'm 20 years old and I'm terrified of people. I've never had a job because I'm terrified of being interviewed. I avoid every day responsibilities that require me to talk to someone. I rarely approach strangers, no matter how badly I want to say something to them. I spend all of my time alone when I'm not at the doctors office. I spend hours every day on social networks wishing I had friends, doing the things I love. My personality is so confident, happy, and even social. So why can't I show it? When I'm faced with showing it, I turn into a spineless jellyfish. I'm suddenly unsure of myself. When I'm approached in public, my brain instinctively says "Oh God. Please go away." I don't really want the person to go away most of the time. The longer I have to stand there, the more ridiculous my thoughts become. The anxiety grows from "I'm nervous" to "I feel awkward" to "I wonder what she thinks of me." to "She probably thinks I'm an idiot." to "Brain, shut up and focus on the conversation" to "She can see that I'm nervous." My mouth becomes dry. My eyes dart around the room. I even say things I don't agree with just because they're more convenient at the time, and my brain is so busy racing that I don't have any room to think about how I actually feel about what's being said. And once I think the other person can sense my nervousness, any fraction of feeling content is demolished. Will this be the model for the rest of my life? Time will tell.

Published in Diary

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
Monday, 27 February 2012 09:18

Panic Disorder Tips and Info

Here Some Useful Information on Panic Disorders

Individuals with a panic disorder experience sudden intense attacks of anxiety.  These attacks are often repetitive and can occur at any time.  These attacks are often referred to as panic attacks.  Panic attacks will often arise unexpectedly in individuals.  They can erupt suddenly and rapidly intensify.  Some individuals mistakenly identify the symptoms of a panic attack as being a heart attack because of the similar symptoms of these two medical conditions. 

Panic attack symptoms are unique and individualized for each person.  Individual experiencing a panic attack typically report symptoms such as chest pain, feeling faint, overwhelming fear of losing control, intense fear of death, upset stomach, difficulty breathing, a chocking sensation, feeling detached, sweating, chills, shaking, rapid heart rate, numbness in extremities, and hot flashes.  Panic attacks must be experienced for at least 6 months and involve a majority of the symptoms above to be considered to be a panic disorder. 

Panic disorders can be experienced at the same time that an individual also has a different anxiety or psychological disorder.  It is important that panic disorders, whether experienced as a singular disorder or as a compounded disorder, can be treated.  Panic disorders can be treated and managed in the following ways.

 

Antidepressant medications have been shown to be effective in the treatment of panic disorders.  The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil are commonly used to manage panic attack symptoms.  Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and anti-seizure medications have all been found to be helpful medications in the treatment of panic disorders.  If one type of medication does not seem to fit the unique needs of an individual another type of these medications could potentially help. 

 

Relaxation skill building is extremely important for learning how to manage anxiety and stress that mount during and before panic attacks.  Taking regular walks, reducing and abstaining from consuming caffeine, and taking time to relax are all important relaxation techniques for managing stress.  Relaxed breathing skills are also important for an individual with a panic disorder to learn.  Relaxation skills should be utilized regularly in an individual with this disorder’s life.  Additionally, they should be utilized as soon as an individual begins to feel a panic disorder come on. 

 

Eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and drugs.  These stimulants can make the panic symptoms worse and can make panic attacks occur more frequently.  These drugs increase stress and anxiety levels in the body and create an environment a chronic stress environment within the body.  Each stressor that arises in life is intensified when these stimulants are present within an individual. 

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common counseling treatment method for panic disorders.  This treatment focuses on changing the way that the brain processes information and transforming the behaviors of the individual. 

 

Education about the body’s natural stress response can be extremely valuable for individuals with a panic disorder.  This information can help the individual understand how their body manages and processes stress.  It can normalize the stress experience and assist individuals in reducing their anxiety surrounding how their body manages stress. 

 

Daily assignments to reduce and manage stress are critically important.  To transform the body’s response to stress the individual must daily make a conscious effort to slowly change how they respond to and react to stress.  Individuals can try out different and new coping methods and strategies to see which ones can help them to overcome their anxiety.

 

Overcoming a panic disorder will take time and may require trial and error.  Individuals should not grow discouraged if they are unable to completely eliminate their panic attacks right away.  Instead, individuals should work to at least slowly reduce the intensity of their experience of anxiety.

Published in Anxiety General Blog
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