What Is Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer. These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack.
A person with panic disorder may become discouraged and feel ashamed because he or she cannot carry out normal routines like going to school or work, going to the grocery store, or driving.
Panic disorder often begins in the late teens or early adulthood. More women than men have panic disorder. But not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder.
What Causes Panic Disorder
Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain, as well as biological processes, play a key role in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that people with panic disorder misinterpret harmless bodily sensations as threats. By learning more about how the brain and body functions in people with panic disorder, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
Focus On Your Breathing
Concentrate on your breathing. Dont hold your breath, but breathe in slowly through your nose as you count to 5. Then breathe slowly out your mouth as you count to 5.
Keep focusing on your breathing for as long as you need to. If breathing and counting doesnt work for you, there are lots of other breathing techniques you can try.
Focus on whats around you. Remind yourself that youre having a panic attack and that it cant hurt you.
Try holding onto something or tasting chewing gum to help keep you grounded. Try naming:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch or feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste.
It can be tempting to try and leave or avoid the situation, but try not to. Stay where you are and keep focusing on things here and now until you feel calmer.
Focus on reminding yourself that:
- it will pass
- anxiety cant harm me
- I am in control.
Having a panic attack can leave you feeling tired or drained. Give yourself time afterwards to sit somewhere quietly, or to have something to eat or drink.
Talk about it
Talking can really help. Telling someone you trust can give you a chance to explain whats happened and let your feelings out.
Write things down
stuff that helpsme
Recommended Reading: Why Am I Having Anxiety For No Reason
When To Talk To Someone About Anxiety
Experiencing an anxiety attack is reason enough to seek medical help. Consider talking to a mental health professional about your anxiety attacks and the particulars of your anxiousness.
Anxiety often causes people to drink excessive amounts of alcohol or use dangerous drugs to cope with the symptoms of having an anxiety disorder. Substance abuse may provide temporary relief from anxiety, but it is not a long-term solution to coping with a mental illness. If youve relied on drugs or alcohol to manage your anxiety, .
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
S To Cope With An Anxiety Attack
Panic attacks can be distressing for the individual experiencing them. However, you dont have to let your anxiety attacks run your life. To better cope with anxiety attacks when they come, here are 4 coping methods that can help you work through them and experience some anxiety attack relief.
1. Engage In Deep Breathing Exercises
Because panic attacks have an impact on both the mind and the body, finding exercises that soothe both when we are experiencing intense fear is key to getting over anxiety attacks faster. One excellent exercise to engage in is a breathing exercise that will help you to calm your heart rate and focus on something other than your fear. Here are a few steps for a simple breathing exercise that can work for you.
- Sit or stand, with your feet apart about hip-width apart.
- Take a deep, slow breath through your nose, feeling it as it goes into your body and fills it up. You can make this easier by doing it to a rhythm, such as counting to 5 or 10 slowly.
- Once you are no longer able to take in any more air, begin releasing the air through your mouth to the same rhythm.
- Engage in this exercise for around 3 to 5 minutes or until you feel like you are more relaxed.
These kinds of exercises, which can be done anywhere, are a great tool to help you work through an anxiety attack when you experience one. Remember, you are in control.
2. Take Time To Stop and Challenge Your Thoughts
3. Distract Yourself From Your Symptoms
Getting Support For Your Anxiety Disorder
Recommended Reading: What Can You Take For Depression And Anxiety
Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
Panic Disorder Treatment Options
Panic attacks and panic disorders are treatable once the underlying cause is identified. Usually medical conditions and other factors are ruled out before making the diagnosis, says Flo Leighton, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and therapist with Union Square Practice in Manhattan. Getting to the root cause typically takes a couple of sessions, says Leighton. Here are some options that may be recommended to you :
Read Also: Can I Die From Anxiety
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
The symptoms for each type of anxiety disorder may vary slightly depending on the specific diagnosis. However, all forms of anxiety disorder include feelings of fear and discomfort. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be either mild or severe, but they all affect daily life to some degree.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Extreme fear
- Panic attacks
The good thing is, anxiety disorders are treatable, and treatment can help you lead a normal and productive life.
Reduces Anxiety And Tension
Anxiety relief is one of the major benefits of PMR. This includes generalized anxiety disorder or anxiety due to a stressful situation.
A of 50 unemployed individuals found that PMR reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. At the same time, it improved feelings of well-being and quality of life.
In another , it was determined that PMR had the ability to relieve tension and anxiety in dental patients. The researchers determined that PMR also helped reduce depressive symptoms in these patients.
A done in 2016 determined that PMR was as effective as acupuncture treatment in helping to decrease feelings of tension, anxiety, and anger.
Also, a found that PMR may help reduce anxiety in people with COVID-19, suggesting benefits for coping with difficult situations.
Also Check: What Herbs Are Good For Anxiety
The Factors That Can Lead To Panic Disorder
The following three factors contribute to interoceptive conditioning, higher anxiety sensitivity and development of panic disorder.
- Biological vulnerability. A genetic predisposition to certain personality styles, such as negative affect, contributes to the development of anxiety.
- Psychological vulnerability. Early developmental experiences can make certain individuals more likely to experience anxiety, especially if they grew up in controlled environments without opportunities to explore threatening situations.
- A specific psychological experience. A negative experience with an illness may cause a person to fear certain symptoms associated with that condition. Also, an individual may fear an illness if a family member modeled the illness as something to fear.
Gruner says that panic disorder often starts with an unexpected panic attack that surprises the person. They might have a panic attack while driving, in a parking lot, on a planesomewhere where it could have severe consequences to have a panic attack and also where the attack seems unwarranted based on the situation.
The first panic attack can be very disconcerting, and then an individual can fear that it may happen again, says Gruner.
Its Just One Of Many Options
While CBT can be helpful for many people, it doesnt work for everyone. If you dont see any results after a few sessions, dont feel discouraged. Check in with your therapist.
A good therapist can help you recognize when one approach isnt working. They can usually recommend other approaches that might help more.
How to find a therapist
Finding a therapist can feel daunting, but it doesnt have to be. Start by asking yourself a few basic questions:
- What issues do you want to address? These can be specific or vague.
- Are there any specific traits youd like in a therapist? For example, are you more comfortable with someone who shares your gender?
- How much can you realistically afford to spend per session? Do you want someone who offers sliding-scale prices or payment plans?
- Where will therapy fit into your schedule? Do you need a therapist who can see you on a specific day of the week? Or someone who has sessions at night?
- Next, start making a list of therapists in your area. If you live in the United States, head over to the American Psychological Associations therapist locator.
You May Like: Does Abilify Help With Anxiety
Types Of Extreme Anxiety
It is also essential to understand that there are many different types of anxiety disorders. Your doctor or therapist can evaluate your symptoms and determine what kind of condition you might have.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Things To Avoid With Your Anxiety
It starts with what to avoid. Many people don’t realize that they are unintentionally contributing to their own anxiety. Only by avoiding common anxiety mistakes will you be able to cope. Some examples include:
- Moping Coping with anxiety requires you to take action. But stress makes you want to mope. Spending time alone, in silence, with your own thoughts can be nice once in a while, but often thoughts are your enemy when you have anxiety. Distractions, staying active, and trying to be as social as possible are important.
- Bad Foods Diet does play a role in anxiety. Those with panic attacks should avoid caffeine, because they seem to be a trigger of panic. Fattening foods, refined sugars, alcohol, and fried foods also exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Eating habits don’t usually “cause” anxiety, but they make it worse, and the worse your anxiety symptoms are the more your anxiety will bother you.
- Anxiety-producing Stimuli Anxiety is a cumulative condition. The more anxiety you experience in your daily life, the more your other anxiety symptoms get worse. That means that you should avoid horror movies, dark alleys at night, spending time with people who are reckless – anything that produces anxiety should be controlled, to avoid the anxiety from getting worse.
You also need to avoid falling back into your old anxiety habits. Coping with anxiety is about commitment, so assuming you’ve corrected your anxiety problem and getting back to your old habits will harm you as well.
Also Check: How To Stop Anxiety Eating
Can Home Remedies Help
While home remedies continue to be a trending topic in all aspects of health, its important not to trade in proven medications and therapies for natural versions.
At the same time, lifestyle measures will certainly help your overall mental health, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Its important to discuss the use of any herbs or supplements with your doctor. This includes fish oil.
While theres some that shows the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may support brain health and subsequent mental illnesses, more research needs to be done to conclude whether taking fish oil and how much can effectively treat mental health disorders.
Not all studies support the use of omega-3 fatty acids for psychosis and other mental health conditions.
What Causes Panic Attacks
For lots of people, panic attacks can appear to start for no reason or without any warning signs. This can be really difficult for people when theyre having them regularly.
The reasons youre having panic attacks arent always clear. But there are things that can make people more likely to have them:
- Difficult experiences or memories
- Some health conditions
Some people feel like they have to avoid certain places because of their panic attacks, but doing this can actually make them worse. If youre struggling to cope or you want help with your panic attacks, your doctor can help.