Panic attacks are very common in the today's society. Learn more about them, their symptoms and treatment.
Your heart is racing fast, your palms are sweating, you are out of breath...you might be having a panic attack. The stress of today's fast-moving life can often cause anxiety symptoms and panic attacks (PA). If you are experiencing PA, you should understand more about them in order to know how to prevent or deal with them. Let's first start with the symptoms: tachycardia (this is when your pulse beats really fast, also called "racing" heart); trouble breathing; chest pains; feelings of terror; weakness; dizziness; feeling that you have lost control.
Usually, the symptoms last up to 10 minutes. If the panic attacks happen again and again, then you might have a panic disorder, which causes anxiousness and fear about when the next panic attack might occur. This disorder is a common one and affects more women than men.
The exact causes of panic attacks are not clear. People who often experience panic attacks are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, or to suffer from depression. They are also more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.
Every case of PA is treated in different way. Sometimes the panic attacks are caused by stress and stop after the stressor is removed. Medication (like Xanax, Ativan, antidepressants) and psychotherapy ( cognitive-behavioral therapy) are used to treat the disease.
Also, exposure therapy can be used for panic attacks. This is when you are exposed to a situation that causes you a panic attack in controlled environment in order to learn how to cope up with the PA.
If you are having PAs, you should learn more about them, learn how to control your breathing, exercise, sleep enough, practice techniques for relaxation and avoid smoking, drinking caffeine and alcohol.
Here is one breathing exercise, which you can use during a panic attack to ease the symptoms. First, breathe in through your nose as slowly and deeply as you can. Second, slowly breathe out through your mouth. Keep breathing in and out until you start to feel better.
Sometimes the Panic disorder is accompanied by Agoraphobia. This is a phobia by fear of public places. The patient may avoid open spaces, buses, planes and other means of transport, and starts to spend more time at home, because of the fearful and irrational thoughts, he or she experiences, like that they will lose control, collapse, have a heart attack, go crazy or die. With the isolation, the agoraphobic loses friends, relationships and this leads to worsening the problem.
Many people who are having panic attacks are embarrassed to ask for help, because they are afraid of being laughed at. But this is an actual disorder, which can cause many social and personal problems, so if you are experiencing PA, do ask for help. This is a treatable condition and you will definitely feel better if you don't have to hide it.
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