In the tons of information about why panic episodes occur, there is very little information about how to keep driving panic attacks from occurring. Often, why episodes occur is clearly from some traumatic event. Sometimes, it is unclear why these attacks began in the first place. More about the cause of general anxiety disorder in a bit.
As a victim of driving panic attacks and general anxiety disorder (GAD), your life has to be adjusted to work around your panic disorder. If you experience panic while driving, you adjust your driving habits to keep from having an incident while you are driving. You may chose to not drive and only take the bus or cabs — whatever it takes to keep the terror from happening. And the result is that your life becomes a game of avoidance. The panic and anxiety rule your life. The problem here is that the more effort made to avoid having a sudden attack of fear, the more complicated your life becomes, the more you think about the fear and anxiety and the more sacrifices you make.
Your friends and family are affected as well. Using the driving and panic attack example again, you don’t visit your family as often as you would because you are afraid of having an attack while driving. You forego public events because the traffic sets off an incident. Avoiding the anxiety becomes debilitating. It just goes on and on.
Breaking the cycle is critical. The cause of the anxiety is fear which causes the panic. Once the panic begins, adrenaline rushes in and the fear levels start to rise, the more intense the panic becomes. Anxiety levels increase until either the victim actually loses consciousness for a few seconds from hyperventilation or another action slows the victim down , permitting the stress to subside. Sometimes the intervention is the experience of the emergency room when you think you are having a heart attack. This situation is fairly common.
That the anxiety causes the panic is well understood by the victim. The problem is how to take control of the situation, address control of the fear and therefore to avoid a driving panic attack. Being aware that a panic incident puts you out of control is terrifying in itself. Again, this is self-perpetuating.
Fortunately, there is help. For most people, the correct training can eliminate panic episodes entirely. It does not take behavioral therapy nor does it involve drugs. The cure is to no longer be afraid of panic attacks caused by anxiety. Once the fear is gone, the entire cycle is broken.
This may sound far too easy and, actually, it is easy. As horrifying and embarrassing as having an driving anxiety attack can be, every victim needs to understand that the action of a panic scare will not injure you. Yes, your heart will race, you will break out in a cold sweat and you can feel dizzy, but these are not going to harm you. Getting out and walking or running will a great deal of anxiety. This is useful information when working to avoid an incident. The act of working to control anxiety is a healing act because you feel that you are finally taking control of the situation. Not having control is part of the anxiety.