Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

By: Dalimar Rentas

People experience anxiety in many different ways and it might kick in only a few times in their lives. Experiencing anxiety a few times is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders have intense, excessive and persistent worry in everyday situations. It may lead to other fears and mental health disorders, problems at work or school, and social isolation. That is why this week’s topic is about a specific anxiety disorder which is panic attacks. 

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Panic Attack:

·      A sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.

Panic attacks typically include some of these signs or symptoms:

·      A pounding or racing heart

·      Sweating

·      Chills

·      Trembling

·      Breathing problems

·      Weakness or dizziness

·      Chest pain

·      Sense of impending doom or danger

·      Fear of loss of control or death

Causes of panic attacks:

·      Family history

·      Major stress

·      Temperament that is more sensitive or prone to negative emotions

·      Certain changes in the way of your brain function

Complications that panic attacks may cause or be linked to include:

·      Development of specific phobias, such as fear of driving or leaving your home

·       Frequent medical care for health concerns and other medical conditions 

·      Avoidance of social situations 

·      Problems at work or school

·      Depression, anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders

·      Increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts

·       Alcohol or other substance misuse

·       Financial problems

You should always talk to your doctor about your symptoms. The doctor will make sure to check your health history and may refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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Treatment:

  • Psychotherapy 
  • Medication 
    1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 
    2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) 
    3. Beta-blockers Benzodiazepines

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*If you or someone you love is experiencing panic attacks, panic disorder helplines can be a useful resource to get through a crisis and find a treatment program.*

  •  Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642)

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml

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