Information about Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that stimulates severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks happen, you might think you are losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying. Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful condition ends. But if you have had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a situation known as panic disorder. Although panic attacks themselves are not fatal, they can be frightening and, importantly, influence the quality of life. But the treatment of panic attack can be very beneficial.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Symptoms of Panic attacks typically start suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time when you are driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep, or in the middle of a business meeting. You may have rare panic attacks, or they may arise repeatedly. Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms of panic attack generally peak within minutes. You may experience fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides. Panic attacks typically involve some of these signs or symptoms:

1) Sense of impending doom or danger
2) Fear of loss of control or death
3) Rapid, heart rate
4) Sweating
5) Trembling or shaking
6) Shortness of breath
7) Chills
8) Hot flashes
9) Nausea
10) Abdominal cramping
11) Chest pain
12) Headache
13) Dizziness disease
14) Numbness or tingling sensation
15) Feeling of detachment

One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you will have another one. You may fear to have panic attacks symptoms so much that you avoid particular situations where they may arise.

Panic Disorder Causes

It is unknown what causes panic attacks or panic disorder, but these factors may act:

1) Genetics
2) Major stress
3) The temperament that is more sensitive to stress
4) Particular changes in the way parts of the brain function

Causes of Panic attacks may appear suddenly and without warning at first, but over time, they are generally stimulated by specific situations. Some research recommends that your body’s natural fight-or-flight response to danger is included in panic attacks. For an instant, if a grizzly bear came after you, the body would react instinctively. The heart rate and breathing would speed up as the body prepared for a fatal situation. Many of the same reactions happen in a panic attack. But it is not known why a panic attack causes when there is no definite danger present.

Complications of Panic Disorder

Left untreated, panic attacks, and panic disorder can influence almost every area of your life. You may be so afraid of having more panic attacks that you live in a constant state of fear, ruining the quality of life. Complications of panic attacks may create or be linked to contain:

1) Development of particular phobias, like fear of driving or leaving the home
2) Frequent medical care for health concerns and other medical situations
3) Avoidance of social situations
4) Problems at work or school
5) Depression problem, anxiety disorders, and other psychiatric disorders
6) Increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
7) Alcohol or other substance misuses
8) Financial problems

For some people, panic disorder may involve agoraphobia disease avoiding places or situations that make you anxiety because you fear to be not able to escape if you have a panic attack complications. Or you may become reliant on others to be with you to leave home.

Diagnosis of Panic Disorder

The primary care provider will understand if you have panic attacks, panic disorder, or another condition, like heart or thyroid problems, with symptoms that resemble panic attacks. To help pinpoint a diagnosis of Panic attacks, you may have:

1) A complete physical test
2) Blood exams to monitor the thyroid and other possible situations and analyses on the heart, like an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
3) A psychological evaluation to talk about the symptoms, fears or concerns, stressful situations, relationship problems, situations you may be avoiding, and family history

You may fill out a psychological self-assessment or questionnaire. You also may be asked about alcohol or other substance use.

Panic Disorder Treatment

Treatment of Panic disorder can help to minimize the intensity and frequency of the panic attacks and develop the function in regular life. The main treatment choices are psychotherapy and medicines. One or both types of treatment may be suggested based on the preference, the history, the severity of the panic disorder, and whether you have access to therapists who have specialized training for the treatment of panic disorders.

Updated: January 21, 2020 — 1:12 pm

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