Dealing with Panic Attacks

Dealing with Panic Attacks

Suffering from Panic Attacks can be scary and life altering, depending on the severity of your attacks. The causes of panic attacks are unknown, but it is believed that genetics plays a role, and more women suffer panic attacks than men.

A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense fear or apprehension and it comes on suddenly, usually with no warning. People have mistaken panic attacks for heart attacks before, as the symptoms can be similar. To be diagnosed with a panic attack disorder, you would have to have four of the following symptoms: Becoming dizzy or feeling faint, having chest pain or discomfort in the chest area, irrational fear of dying, fear of impending doom when the situation doesn’t warrant it, sweating and/or chills, fast or racing heartbeat, numbness or tingling in extremities (fingers, toes, face), feeling nauseous , getting ‘the shakes’ or uncontrollable trembling and some people report a feeling like they are choking.

People with panic attack disorder often always are in fear of having a panic attack and they can become reclusive, afraid to go out and suffer and attack, since they come on suddenly with no warning.

If you suffer from Panic Attacks, how can you learn to deal with them? Some medications, including antidepressants have shown to help. Sometimes medication along with behavioral therapy has shown to have a positive outcome. Using therapy and medication, your symptoms should start to abate after several weeks. If they do not, always talk to your doctor so dosages can be adjusted or medication changed if the need arises. Behavioral therapy teaches you to understand and sometimes control stressors in your life and how you can learn to not distort normal everyday stressors. You may be taught relaxation techniques which can help replace panic thoughts, and reduce your feelings of helplessness.

Other things that have shown to have promise in reducing the severity of panic attacks is regular exercise coupled with ample amounts of sleep. Eating healthily and avoiding caffeine have also helped in lessening attacks.

Panic disorders are complicated and can be difficult to treat. Treatment is usually long term. Some people may never be ‘cured’, but over time, they do get better using medications and behavioral therapy.

Panic disorders can be debilitating, so if you suffer from them, seek help from your doctor. Many who suffer become unemployed, adopt a drinking or drug problem and can lead to agoraphobia which is when the fear of having an attack, keeps them from going out and doing things – they tried to avoid any situation where they may have an attack.

Understanding panic attacks is the first step in learning to deal with them, and realizing there is help.