Many people suffer from panic attacks or anxiety attacks at least once in their lifetimes. For others, they get panic attacks often enough so that the condition interferes with their lives. Many people think that an anxiety attack is a heart attack or a physical medical condition. A panic attack is an overwhelming feeling of anxiety or fear and It can either paralyze you or make you over active. If left untreated, they can increase in intensity leading to a panic disorder.
Click Play Below To See A Typical Panic Attack
Causes Of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are caused by a variety of reasons such as physical reasons, emotional and psychological reasons. Physical illnesses such as mitral valve propalsed may cause an attack because the faulty heart valve may cause the heart to beat erratically leading to a panic attack as the brain interprets that as a sign of danger. Hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism and other physical disorders cause an imbalance in the hormones in the body leading to a fight or flight feeling in your body even when there is no danger. Withdrawal of some medications may also cause a hormonal imbalance or you may experience similar symptoms to those of a panic attack. Use of drugs and stimulants such as cocaine, nicotine and coffee may also cause panic attacks.
Psychological triggers may be something traumatic that have happened in the past so that if you happen to be in a similar situation you will get a panic attack. For example, if a person was raped in a dark park, when walking through a dark park they may get a panic attack as their memory sends messages to the brain to produce adrenaline so that they can run away from the perceived danger, which is the flight response to protect and defend themselves which is the fight response.
A stressful situation or increased stress in your work or home life may also cause panic attacks. Some of these may be a death in the family, being retrenched from work or moving to a new city because of fear of the unknown since your situation has changed. People who come from a family history of people who suffer from panic attacks are also likely to suffer from this condition.
Symptoms Of A Panic Attack
Persons who have a panic or anxiety attack may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Raised heartbeat or an erratic heartbeat,
- irregular or fast breathing,
- trembling,shaking and shivering,
- nausea feeling faint chest pain,
- a feeling like you are losing your mind,
- hot flushes or chills,
- numbness and
- fear of dying
These symptoms may occur for ten minutes or more depending on the intensity of the attacks. Some panic attacks may last up to two hours. You must finds ways to deal with panic attacks so that they do not interfere and lower quality of your life. If left unchecked, they can make you withdraw socially so as to avoid panic triggers or you may experience a decline in your quality of life.
How To Get Rid Of A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can be treated in a number of ways, by counseling, medications and therapy. One of the most common ways to treat panic attacks and disorders is using therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: involves undergoing therapy so that you deal with the thought patterns and behavior that triggers an attack. It helps you to realistically consider situations so that you see that the scenarios that you are imagining will not come to pass. This will make your panic subside and you are able to manage your thought process so that when a panic attack begins, you stop yourself from thinking anxious thoughts by thinking of the situation realistically.
Exposure therapy: is another type of therapy where your therapist supervises you as you mimic the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack such as hyperventilating and shaking. The purpose of doing this is to desensitize you to these reactions so that when they happen you do not go into a panic attack by default.
You may opt to use medications but these are mostly used for short term help because you have to deal with the root cause of the condition so that you deal with them to cure panic attacks. They may also be used with other forms of treatment such as therapy. Commonly used medications include antidepressants and benzodiazepines which are anti anxiety medication. They deal with the symptoms of panic attack as it happens so that the symptoms disappear. These drugs are not recommended as they are highly addictive with severe withdrawal symptoms and they do not rid you of panic attacks. They may be prescribed as a last resort if the panic attacks you are experiencing are really severe.
There are some things you will have to do so that you can manage your panic attacks. If you smoke, drink alcohol often, use drugs and stimulants, you may have to give these up. They may provide a calming effect when you use them but they actually exacerbate the physical symptoms of a panic attack. Learn to breathe deeply to combat hyperventilation as this is one of the first symptoms of a panic attack.
If you need to, carry a paper bag and breathe into it so that you are able to control your breathing. You may also learn to think of other things when a panic attack is setting. An example is naming different objects you can see in the room you are in or counting what you can see. The purpose of this is to move your focus away from scary and anxious thoughts. Exercising often will help with panic attacks because when you exercise you produce feel good hormones known as endorphins. You may also use yoga and meditation as ways to relax so that you deal with stress better.
A panic attack can cause havoc in your life, but with the above listed tips you may be able to control it.