What Are Panic Attacks? - Symptoms, Causes and How To Stop Them
What Are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are a sudden overwhelming feeling of terror or doom, where a person believes they are in a life-threatening situation. Some people experience panic attacks only in specific situations, which is due to a phobia of that situation. For example, people suffering from social phobia may experience panic attacks before or during social situations. For others, panic attacks have no specific trigger and can happen at any time. For these people, it is very difficult to predict when their panic attacks happen, so they live in constant fear and worry of when the next attack will occur.
What Are Panic Attacks, Are They The Same As Panic Disorder?
Not everyone who has a panic attack will develop a panic or anxiety disorder. Many men and women will have one panic attack and then never experience another for the rest of their lives. Panic Disorder is diagnosed when a person has recurring panic attacks that don’t seem to be triggered by specific situations. Panic disorder sufferers also worry constantly about when the next attack will happen. Is estimated that three to six million Americans have a panic disorder and it is more common in women than in men. Young adults are more susceptible to panic attacks, but they can happen to individuals of all ages, including the elderly and children. For those who have more than the occasional panic attack, treatment is important. If left untreated, a panic disorder can be very disabling and debilitating.
What Are Panic Attacks Symptoms?
When a person has a panic attack, their heart rate increases, they feel weak, sweaty, fatigued, and dizzy. It is common for sufferers to have a chilled feeling and they may have numb or tingly hands. Sufferers feel as if they have lost control as they experience smothering sensations and chest pain. Most genuinely believe that they are in the middle of a heart attack or a stroke; they have an overwhelming and frightening feeling they are going to die. What are panic attacks? They are debilitating; they can occur at anytime, even during sleep. In rare cases, panic attacks can last for one hour or more, but most times they last around ten minutes each episode.
What Are Panic Attacks Triggered By?
Panic attacks are often brought on by stress, worry, and significant life changes. Those who suffer from panic attacks also often suffer from specific phobias such as social phobia or agoraphobia, and can also be prone to depression. Sometimes experiencing a panic attack in a specific situation or place can create a new phobia. This occurs when a person regresses back to a prior panic attack and continues to associate it with that particular situation or location or a similar one. For example, a panic disorder sufferer who once had an attack in a dark stairwell will likely go out of their way to avoid other stairwells in the future. Caffeine and certain drugs can also trigger panic attacks.
What Are Panic Attacks Complications?
Many people with panic disorder become very isolated; they start to lead a restricted life. They avoid many things, including once normal, daily activities; these may include shopping, driving, working, and socializing with friends in general. Essentially, these people go out of their way to avoid anything, whether it is a person, a situation, or a place, that they think may bring on a panic attack. This avoidance behavior can become so extreme that a person begins to show signs of agoraphobia, where they are afraid to leave their home and venture into public places or open spaces. It is important for people who experience regular panic attacks to seek treatment early on to stop a panic disorder from progressing to agoraphobia.
What Are Panic Attacks Treatment Options?
Luckily, there are many panic attacks treatments. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is known as being the most effective for anxiety attacks, panic disorders, and agoraphobia. This type of therapy focuses on changing a patient’s way of thinking. It encourages the patient to look at the cause of their worry and then to face it head on; when doing so patients see their fears in a realistic light.
What Are Panic Attacks Cognitive Behavioural Examples?
An example of how cognitive behavioral therapy works is with the fear of driving, a common fear among panic disorder sufferers. Their overwhelming fear is: What happens if I have panic attacks while driving? Will I crash my car? Will I kill myself? Will I hurt others? A CBT therapist will help the patient see that if a panic attack occurs while they are driving they will be able to safely pull over to the side of the road and that a crash is unlikely. Once this is understood, the fear of having a panic attack begins to diminish.
The One Move Technique for Stopping Panic Attacks and Anxiety
One of the most successful treatments available for panic attacks is known as the One Move Technique. This technique helps sufferers to break their pattern of fear by teaching them that there is no REAL threat, only a PERCEIVED one. This helps to lessen the worry of another attack occurring, which is crucial to recovery from panic disorder.
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