On my previous post, I discussed on Fear. But we often hear about Panic Attack and it seems to be a serious problem. Can we get rid of it or No Way??? Let’s find out.

What is this Panic Attack?

When the fear become a intense fear at a sudden period of time, it turns to a panic attack. This includes palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something bad is going to happen. Typically, this last for about 30 minutes but the duration can vary from seconds to hours.There may be a fear of losing control or chest pain.


Panic attacks can occur due to number of disorders including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, drug use disorder, depression, and medical problems. They can either be triggered or occur unexpectedly.

Let’s find the cause of this Panic Button

This can happen due to biological, environmental or social cause. The first stage in developing a disorder involves predisposing factors, such as genetics, personality, and a lack of wellbeing.
Biological causes may include obsessive compulsive disorder, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, Wilson’s disease, mitral valve prolapse, pheochromocytoma, and inner ear disturbances (labyrinthitis). Dysregulation of the norepinephrine system in the locus ceruleus, an area of the brain stem, has been linked to panic attacks.

Take the example of our beautiful, Princess Diana. Can anyone believe that this lady too suffered from panic attacks. While suffering from depression for many years and from post-partum depression after the birth of Prince William, her first child, Princess Di was also reported to experience panic attacks. Her bodyguards later reported that during her first royal tour she cried and shook uncontrollably as she travelled to her various destinations, but always managed to compose herself before she arrived.

Though genes plays a great role in this panic attack but our environment also has a great deal with it.

Your environment may be the trigger that sets the disorder off, and a series of stressful events can intensify feelings of anxiety.

Most all of us arrive at adulthood with a wide variety of growing-up experiences which shape our personality and determine to some extent how we deal with what life throws at us. Of course abuse or neglect of any type during childhood or adulthood can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders, and a chaotic home life can also be an influence. If a child believes his world to be a threatening place, he may well experience chronic anxiety or fear. Some researchers believe that extremely traumatic events which occur in childhood can actually affect the development of the brain, which in turn leads to anxiety.

Oprah Winfrey, the ever-present talk show guru, is a celebrity whose traumatic past resulted in struggles with anxiety for many years. Sexual abuse at a young age and a teenage pregnancy that resulted in a baby who died soon after his birth resulted in severe nervousness and difficulty relating to people for many of her early years. However, learning to cope with her anxiety problems gave her the strength she would later use to make important life decisions, such as creating her own television show.

A person with social anxiety disorder may be extremely fearful of embarrassment in social situations. This fear can affect personal and professional relationships.
Social anxiety often occurs early in childhood as a normal part of social development and may go unnoticed until the person is older. The triggers and frequency of social anxiety vary depending on the individual.
Many people feel nervous in certain social situations, such as when giving a presentation, going out on a date, or taking part in a competition. This is normal and would not qualify as social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety becomes a medical condition when everyday social interactions cause excessive fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment.

Singer and pop sensation Adele has to overcome her anxiety every time she sets foot onstage to perform. She has stated that in large venues she is terrified of panicking and having to rush offstage to the disappointment of her fans. In a show in Amsterdam the musical icon experienced nerves so severe that they led to acute nausea, and at one show she actually snuck out through a fire escape to get away from all the pressure. Despite suffering from panic attacks she has performed all around the world, and even managed to meet her biggest idol (Beyonce) in person, which she says gave her some much-needed self-confidence and greatly decreased her anxiety.

What can be the symptoms of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks involve sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. People experiencing a panic attack may believe they are having a heart attack or they are dying or going crazy. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms:

  • Racing heart.
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy.
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers.
  • Sense of terror, or impending doom or death.
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills.Chest pains.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Feeling a loss of control.
Panick Attack and Children and Adolescents !!!!!

Children and adolescents with panic disorder have unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear or discomfort, along with other symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or feeling short of breath. These periods are called “panic attacks” and last minutes to hours. Panic attacks frequently develop without warning.
Panic disorder often begins during adolescence, although it may start during childhood, and sometimes runs in families.

If not recognized and treated, panic disorder and its complications can be devastating. Panic attacks can interfere with a child’s or adolescent’s relationships, schoolwork, and normal development. Attacks can lead to not just severe anxiety, but can also affect other parts of a child’s mood or functioning. Children and adolescents with panic disorder may begin to feel anxious most of the time, even when they are not having panic attacks. Some begin to avoid situations where they fear a panic attack may occur, or situations where help may not be available. For example, a child may be reluctant to go to school or be separated from his or her parents. In severe cases, the child or adolescent may be afraid to leave home. As with other anxiety disorders, this pattern of avoiding certain places or situations is called “agoraphobia.” Some children and adolescents with panic disorder can develop severe depression and may be at risk of suicidal behavior. As an attempt to decrease anxiety, some adolescents with panic disorder will use alcohol or drugs.

Gender, gender gender…..Panicking

Men and women experience Panic Disorder somewhat differently. Fully twice as many women as men are diagnosed. Approximately 2-3.5% of men and 5-7% of women have been diagnosed. When considering differing age groups the differences remain, 1.3% of males who are 15-24 years of age versus 2.5% of females; and, .6% of males 35-44 versus 2.1% of females. Only Hispanic and African American men have lower rates than other ethnicities. The panic attacks generally start at age 20.7 for men and 22 for women; whereas the disorder is diagnosed at about 23.7 for men and 25 for women.

More women will experience more debilitating forms of Panic Disorder such as with agoraphobia. They also have more frequent panic attacks. Females report more and different symptoms than do men. The top three symptoms for men are sweating, stomach pain, and chest pain; but women experience more shortness of breath, trembling or shaking, or heart pounding. Men have more pain symptoms and women more respiratory symptoms. There has been a lot of study about this in recent years, and it appears that women, particularly when impacted hormonally before menstruation, over-react to a sense of not being able to breath, called the “suffocation false-alarm theory”. In addition, their brains may not be appropriately regulating one of the brain’s neurotransmitters, and so they are less able to regulate anxiety when they feel it. Men, on the other hand, may be more at risk for responding to a pain symptom. Women have different hormones to deal with pain, i.e.: think about child birth, and men do not. Also most men are better able to admit pain than fear, thus these symptoms are reported most frequently.

Other diagnosis or what are called co-morbid diagnoses, can exist for both. In men, there is a higher pre-Panic Disorder diagnosis of Cyclothymia, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or Depression but in women more frequently Bulimia Nervosa. Also, while both may have a diagnosis of a personality disorder, men tend to have the more severe ones such as Borderline, but women have a more anxious type such as Histrionic or Dependent. Men will try to self-medicate more often, thus having more alcohol and nicotine addiction or abuse prior to seeking treatment.

Male and female thought processes can also be different. Often men are taught to minimize fear and avoid situations that trigger it, and women are socialized to report fear while avoiding the situations. Some men tend to think less expressively but also less catastrophically than do some women who have Panic Disorder. Men may feel more anger, hostility and depression, but these results are not consistent. Women tend to be more extroverted than their male counterparts.

Men and women do experience Panic Disorder differently, from the symptoms, to the thought processes that lead up to it, to other life experiences and diagnoses.

It’s time to treat it well

Panic disorder can be effectively treated with a variety of interventions, including psychological therapies and medication with the strongest and most consistent evidence indicating. Psychotherapy might be effective in relieving panic attacks, however, those results alone should be addressed with care. While the results obtained in joint treatments that include cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are corroborated by many studies and meta-analysis.

Lifestyle changes

Caffeine may cause or exacerbate panic anxiety. Anxiety can temporarily increase during withdrawal from caffeine and various other drugs.

Increased and regimented aerobic exercise such as running have been shown to have a positive effect in combating panic anxiety. There is evidence that suggests that this effect is correlated to the release of exercise-induced endorphins and the subsequent reduction of the stress hormone.

Benefits of incorporating an exercise regimen have shown best results when paced accordingly.

Muscle relaxation techniques are useful to some individuals. These can be learned using recordings, videos, or books.

Breathing exercises

In the great majority of cases hyperventilationis involved, exacerbating the effects of the panic attack. Breathing retraining exercise helps to rebalance the oxygen and CO2 levels in the blood.

One such breathing exercise is a 5-2-5 count. Using the stomach (or diaphragm)—and not the chest—inhale (feel the stomach come out, as opposed to the chest expanding) for 5 seconds. As the maximal point at inhalation is reached, hold the breath for 2 seconds. Then slowly exhale, over 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle twice and then breathe ‘normally’ for 5 cycles (1 cycle = 1 inhale + 1 exhale). The point is to focus on the breathing and relax the heart rate. Regular diaphragmatic breathing may be achieved by extending the outbreath by counting or humming.

Although breathing into a paper bag was a common recommendation for short-term treatment of symptoms of an acute panic attack, it has been criticized as inferior to measured breathing, potentially worsening the panic attack and possibly reducing needed blood oxygen.While the paper bag technique increases needed carbon dioxideand so reduces symptoms, it may excessively lower oxygen levels in the blood stream.

Therapy

The first part of therapy is largely informational; many people are greatly helped by simply understanding exactly what panic disorder is and how many others suffer from it. Many people who suffer from panic disorder are worried that their panic attacks mean they are “going crazy” or that the panic might induce a heart attack. Cognitive restructuring helps people replace those thoughts with more realistic, positive ways of viewing the attacks. Avoidance behavior is one of the key aspects that prevent people with frequent panic attacks from functioning healthily. Exposure therapy,which includes repeated and prolonged confrontation with feared situations and body sensations, helps weaken anxiety responses to these external and internal stimuli and reinforce realistic ways of viewing panic symptoms.

Meditation may also be helpful in the treatment of panic disorders. There was a meta-analysis of the comorbidity of panic disorders and agoraphobia. It used exposure therapy to treat the patients over a period.

Medication

Medications options for panic attacks typically include benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Benzodiazepines are being prescribed less often because of their potentially side effects, such as dependence, fatigue, slurred speech, and memory loss.Antidepressant treatments for panic attacks include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and MAO inhibitors (MAOIs). SSRIs in particular tend to be the first drug treatment used to treat panic attacks.

While the use of drugs in treating panic attacks can be very successful, it is generally recommended that people also be in some form of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Drug treatments are usually used throughout the duration of panic attack symptoms, and discontinued after the patient has been free of symptoms for at least six months. It is usually safest to withdraw from these drugs gradually while undergoing therapy.

Scarlett Johansson, a gorgeous movie star and a part-time singer, Scarlett Johansson surprises a lot of people when they find out she sometimes experiences social anxiety and panic. In discussing her films, she has revealed that she often experiences panic attacks before having to get in front of the camera. However, she has also shared a hopeful story of overcoming one of her worse anxiety experiences, a movie set where she was feeling nearly dead from anxiety:

“I told myself, there’s no way this can go on for the next five weeks, so I’d better learn to calm myself. And that’s exactly what I did. The rest of the filming was the best experiences ever on set after that.” -Scarlett Johansson

Edvard Munch, the famous Norwegian painter responsible for the famously anxiety-evoking painting The Scream, was inspired to paint that particular work by one of his own severe panic attacks. Turning his traumatic panic experience into art was a big part of what led to his immortality as an artist. He was once quoted as saying that for him, as with many famous people with anxiety:

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which I have tried to express in my art. -Edvard Munch

Nikola Tesla, the mechanical genius who discovered the uses of energy and robotics that played fundamental roles in creating the world we live in today, suffered from panic disorder from the age of 5 onward. After the death of his brother, the genius developed many phobias and compulsions that actually made him the prolific perfectionist inventor that he became. He also experienced panic attacks marked by bright flashes of light before his eyes that none of the students of psychologyВ… could ever explain satisfactorily. He supposed that his mental attitude allowed him to think deeply rather than clearly, believing that:

The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. -Nikola Tesla

So, you will be thinking why am I saying these famous people name, it’s because they too suffered from panic and learned to overcome them by their talent, even they used this panic as an arm of their success.

I know well that we are no famous but we are no simple too. If you have this panic attack, be calm, think about it and try to use it in your favour.

When the famous people can do, why can’t we.

I personally often get panic when people shouts at me but after such incident, I listen to music, soothen myself and then I work on it.

I shared this information with you all, so that we all can cope up ourself with this NotablePanic” and can run forward breaking the obstacles.

6 thoughts on “Alarming….Panic Attack!!!

  1. Amazing post! So much good truthful information in here. I personally suffer from panic attacks due to needles or medical procedure to the point were I faint from even the discussion of it. It has taken many years to get to the point where it doesn’t rule my life; however, it is something I face on a daily basis. Thank you so much for this post. Can I share this?

    Liked by 2 people

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