Panic Attack - Haiti Observer Blog

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Medication and Therapy Best Practices for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Panic attacks and their off-spring, panic disorder, can be both managed and treated.

Treatment for panic attacks or panic disorder falls under three categories: medication, therapy, and health regimen.

Medication options that prescribing physicians use to treat panic attacks or panic disorder include a variety of antidepressants, anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and heart medications.
The therapy treatment plan most effective uses both cognitive and behavioral approaches. During the first phase of therapy, information about panic attacks and panic disorder and its commonplace occurrence in many people's lives offers reassurance the sufferer is not losing their mind, or is at risk of suffering a heart attack. The second phase introduces behavior modification techniques to overcome negative perceptions about panic attacks and panic disorder.

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Understanding Panic Attacks

A panic attack begins suddenly without warning. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

The fear experienced during a panic attack is so intense the sufferer feels like they are going to die or lose their minds.

When a panic attack occurs with a first-time victim, they often believe they are suffering a heart attack, or having a mental break-down. They will frequently call for paramedics and end up in the emergency ward for tests and observation.

A panic attack originates in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and symptoms vary from chest pain to lightheadedness to numbness and tingling sensations, among others. During the attack, the SNS releases large amounts of epinephrine, the fight-or-flight response hormone.

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Managing Panic Attacks

Learning to manage a panic attack is the difference between living a full life or a severely constricted one.

One of the primary ways to manage a panick attack is to understand what you are experiencing is a panic attack, not a heart attack, as is so often the perception.

When you feel a panic attack coming on, calm down. This is an effective and powerful response to feeling out of control that so often accompanies an attack.

Repeat a mantra, something as simple as 'I'm going to be okay'.

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Panic Disorder Phobias Limit Daily Activities

Panic disorder is the label used to describe someone, who has suffered repeated panic attacks.

Panic attacks, occurring at regular intervals without knowledge of the trigger mechanism, can debilitate a person in their everyday lives.

Panic attacks appear without warning and can last from several minutes to several hours. The sufferer is subjected to paralyzing pain, thoughts of imminent death, depersonalization (withdrawal from reality), rapid heart beats, and other alarming symptoms. Oftentimes, a first-time sufferer will end up in the emergency room, believing they have suffered a heart attack.

Understanding all this, it's not surprising that sufferers often develop a phobia. They believe that the panic attack is associated with the place at which it occurred. They begin to experience a side effect known as situational avoidance, restricting their ability to lead a normal life. In extreme cases, the sufferer develops agoraphobia, a fear of going outside. They become recluses, afraid of venturing outside their homes, for fear of an attack.

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Panic Attack Studies Show Causes are Speculative and Incomplete

Panic attacks are a biological and hormonal event.

But what brings on these terrifying occurrences called Panic attack?

Researchers suggest that heredity may play a role, according to interviews of study subjects. Some responders indicate a member of his or her family suffers from panic attacks also, or other anxiety-related disorders.

Researchers speculate an abnormal biological function may contribute to panic attacks, but have not yet discovered a determining genetic marker. Pertaining to ethnic backgrounds, panic attacks can occur in all races, without exception. But gender statistics conclude women are 50% more prone to panic attacks than men. Panic attacks can occur at any age, but usually target young adults.

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