How to Deal with Panic Attacks
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Millions of Americans suffer from panic attacks. But what are panic attacks and how does someone deal with them? Check out this video to find out more about what to do if you have a panic attack.
Transcript: For the two to six million Americans that suffer from panic attacks, what's the best way to deal with...
For the two to six million Americans that suffer from panic attacks, what's the best way to deal with them? Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear or panic accompanied by physical symptoms, like a racing heartbeat and dizziness. For people who suffer from panic attacks, it can be immensely helpful to learn in-the-moment anxiety management techniques. One particularly effective one is to breathe slowly and deeply at the first sign of an attack. This may sound simple, but during a panic attack, most people find that they either tend to hold their breath or that their breathing speeds up with their heartbeat, becoming shallow and somewhat ragged. These responses make symptoms worse, which is why individuals who suffer from panic attacks can benefit from breath re-training. To do this exercise, an individual finds a time when he or she is relaxed and then practices taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, rather than shallow ones from the chest. This means inhaling and expanding the belly, and then exhaling, and pushing all the air out of the belly. Also known as yoga breathing, this is a powerful way for people who feel out of control to help themselves when having an attack. Once a person masters this skill he or she can try it while walking or conversing with someone. Eventually, relaxing diaphragmatic breathing becomes second nature, so that it's easy to use even when panicking. Muscle relaxation goes hand-in-hand with this type of deep breathing. Anxiety causes muscles to tense up, so making a conscious effort to relax them one by one helps ease symptoms. The activity also takes a sufferer's mind off the attack itself. It's also vital to learn to stop and think during a panic attack. Sometimes, ending the cycle of racing thoughts can be as easy as taking a moment to focus on them. The "stop and think" method helps when fears of going insane or dying accompany a panic attack, a frequent and unfortunate occurrence. Finally, people with panic attacks need to be aware that stepping away from the panic-inducing situation can help ameliorate an attack. Sufferers shouldn't be afraid to leave, or to ask for help doing so. And while these self-help methods work, it can also be immensely effective to see a mental health professional to discuss anxiety management techniques. They will also be able to prescribe medication, like Klonopin or Xanax, which help ease panic symptoms. Remember, there is relief for panic attacks! If you can't get yours under control, get professional medical help!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Panic attacks affect millions of people in US. Understanding panic attacks is an essential part of helping others who have them, or even yourself. Watch this video learn more about why panic attacks occur and what to do about them.
Transcript: Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes repeated, unexpected attacks of intense fear. These...
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes repeated, unexpected attacks of intense fear. These attacks may last from minutes to hours. And for anywhere between two and six million Americans, panic disorders are an everyday reality. The intense feeling of panic and the racing heart that accompanies it is familiar to us all! For most people, it's possible to pinpoint the genesis of where the panic is coming from and to then rationalize it in their heads, so that they might calm down again. But for people with panic disorder, rational thinking has little bearing on feelings of panic. Panic disorder is a serious anxiety disorder, which strikes without reason or warning. With panic disorder, at least four of the following symptoms suddenly occur within 10 minutes. Chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or faintness, palpitations or pounding heart, sensation of shortness of breath, sweating, chills or hot flashes, trembling or shaking. Sometimes stomach upset and other symptoms are also present. Often, these physical issues cause a person to fear that they are going crazy, having a heart attack, or even dying. Together, these symptoms are known as a panic attack. Often, attacks are followed by at least 1 month of persistent fear of having another attack. While anyone may experience a panic attack, people with panic disorder have them on a frequent basis, and generally, they occur for no discernible reason. In fact, the frequency and unpredictability of panic attacks leads people with panic disorder to experience persistent fear of having yet another one. There are often extreme changes in behavior at home, school, work, or with family. The fear of a panic attack may lead an individual to avoid public places, crowds, and other situations in which panic may occur. In extreme cases, fear gets so bad that a person will refuse to leave his own home. This is known as agoraphobia, a condition that occurs in approximately one-third of people with panic disorder. So why do panic disorders develop in the first place? Doctors aren't sure, but genetics may play a role. Studies suggest that if one identical twin has panic disorder, the other twin will also develop the condition 40% of the time. However, panic disorder often occurs in family members who are not blood relatives. Symptoms usually begin before age 25. Although panic disorder may occur in children, it is often not diagnosed until they are older. People with this condition often have medical tests and exams for symptoms related to heart attack or other conditions before a diagnosis of panic disorder is made. People who abuse alcohol or drugs may be more susceptible to panic disorder as are people who go through a major life stress, such as losing a job or dealing with a natural disaster. Additionally, panic disorders are twice as common in women as they are in men. Whatever the cause, this condition can be extremely debilitating and difficult to cope with alone. Many people with panic disorder first seek treatment in the emergency room, because the panic attack feels like a heart attack. In order to diagnose panic disorder, a health care provider will perform a physical examination, including blood tests and a psychiatric evaluation, as medical disorders must be ruled out before panic disorder can be diagnosed. Panic disorders may be long lasting and difficult to treat. Some people with this disorder may not be cured with treatment. However, most people can expect rapid improvement with drug and behavioral therapies. Luckily, a combination of talk therapy, or psychotherapy and prescription medication like Klonopin, Paxil, or Xanax can help up to 90-percent of sufferers find relief! Dependence on anti-anxiety medications is a possible complication of treatment. Dependence involves needing a medication to be able to function and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. It is not the same as addiction, which involves the uncontrolled use of a substance despite negative results. Dependence and addiction often occur together, but dependence itself is not always a problem. See a health care provider immediately if you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Are you often anxious and nervous? There is a possibility that you might be suffering from a panic disorder. Watch our video to know more about the symptoms of a panic disorder.
Transcript: Everyone feels panicky from time to time, but a panic attack is a sudden feeling of terror that strikes...
Everyone feels panicky from time to time, but a panic attack is a sudden feeling of terror that strikes for no discernible reason, and lasts anywhere from several minutes to, in more extreme circumstances, several hours. A panic attack is generally accompanied by a host of physical symptoms, ranging from a rapidly pounding heart, hot flashes, sweating or chills, and trembling. During a panic attack, a person may get very dizzy or may have sudden chest pains, difficulty breathing, or trouble swallowing. It's not uncommon for panic attacks to be accompanied by intestinal distress, like abdominal cramping and nausea. Additionally, a panic attack may come with tingling or numbness in the hands. During a panic attack, all of these symptoms may be SO intense that an individual experiencing them may feel he or she is losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying. Although it may seem like an eternity to the person having the episode, a panic attack generally reaches maximum intensity anywhere from within a minute to about ten minutes once them begin. And most attacks diminish slowly over the next half an hour, although some panic attacks can take hours, or even a full day to dissipate. It is common for the first attack to cause a person to go to an emergency medical facility. Subsequent attacks occur several times a month and are often as severe as the initial attack. About three fourths of Panic Disorder patients are women. Panic Anxiety Disorder begins most often when people are 20-30 years old. It begins less often in teenagers or persons in their forties. It is uncommon for the disorder to appear in the elderly for the first time. Panic attacks may strike at any time, without any warning, even when a sufferer is asleep. Due to this unpredictable nature, people who experience them often live in an anxious, fearful state about when the next attack may occur. When a person experiences frequent panic attacks, he or she may be diagnosed with a condition called panic disorder. Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that affects anywhere from two to six million Americans. And while debilitating, the disorder CAN be effectively treated with therapy and medication. Though dependence on medication IS a danger of treatment. Remember: The symptoms of panic attacks can resemble those of life-threatening illnesses. So seek medical attention to rule out a more serious problem and to get started on a treatment course to relieve panic attacks!More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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