The National Institutes of Mental Health report that over 4 million Americans struggle with panic attacks. Psychologist Dr. Thomas Richards and other experts explain how this common condition’s terrible and horrifying experiences won’t result in any of the dangers you fear most. Panic mode is your body’s natural reaction to survive threats. When your fight or flight impulse kicks in, adrenaline and blood flow, surges may trigger intense anxiety, panic, an urge to escape, and increased awareness of perceived peril. This response would ensure survival if the danger were real.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Racing heartbeat
- Sweating or chills
- Tightness in your throat and chest
- Extreme hunger or loss of appetite
- Clammy palms
Many drug treatments are effective. Combining Aripiprazole, generic Abilify, with a variety of antidepressant medications can help you avoid future episodes. Search Canada Drug Pharmacy for other prescriptions that treat this disorder. Active cognitive/behavioral therapy also has good success rates. Rehashing the past and over analyzing your problems can worsen your panic disorder. So Richards advises that strong motives and persistence can make your present better and your future anxiety free.
Why These Alarming Conditions Won’t Occur
Despite the multitude of traumatizing symptoms, your life isn’t in jeopardy during panic attacks. Yet misunderstanding your feelings makes your situation even more frightening. In your anxious state, you may worry that your body’s reactions will cause potential dangers. But a panic attack can’t trigger any these phenomena.
Loss of control
A flood of anxiety symptoms can make you feel like you’re losing control of yourself. Worrying about others noticing your nervous or foolish public behavior is common. You might fear that an ambulance will rush you to the emergency room. Or you could fret that losing control proves you’re crazy so you’ll end up in a mental institution.
In reality, your ability to conceive that you might lose control makes that impossible. This occurs only in someone who’s unaware or unconcerned about losing control. Even though your anxiety is real, panic attacks trick your brain into believing erroneously that you’re in danger. Recognizing this distinction can help you change entrenched thought patterns. Quieting and relaxing your mind will encourage anxious and panicky feelings to disappear.
You may mistake a panic attack’s rapid palpitations for a heart attack. Yet these two conditions differ greatly. Fast heartbeats that pound in your ears signal a panic attack. But a heart attack causes a crushing sensation within your chest with severe, debilitating pain. You double over and collapse in intense internal agony. Most people with anxiety issues feel that they also suffer from heart problems. But your heart can beat continuously at a fast rate for an extended time without producing damage.
Temporary dizziness during panic attacks may lead to concerns that you could pass out. This can’t occur because panic attacks make your heart beat faster and your blood pressure rise. It’s actually sudden blood pressure drops that cause fainting.
Panic attacks increase your breathing depth and speed. This decreases the blood supply to your head. While this small decline isn’t dangerous, it can produce various unpleasant yet harmless and temporary symptoms. When you can’t catch your breath while hyperventilating or experiencing choking or smothering sensations, you may be afraid that you’ll suffocate. With the oxygen/carbon dioxide mixture in your bloodstream out of proportion, you may feel lightheaded, faint, and weak. But suffocation during panic attacks isn’t a possibility. As your body calms down gradually, your breathing will return to normal, and your other symptoms will subside.
Anxiety and panic don’t cause insanity. Realizing that you’re having panic attacks is a sign that you aren’t going crazy. Anyone who does is out of touch with reality. Anxiety makes you overly conscious of actualities, so going crazy can’t happen.
Psychotherapist Vanessa Ford and psychology professor Dr. William Sanderson recommend strategies to help minimize common panic attack symptoms.
Take your medications regularly
Always follow your doctor’s prescribing directions for your treatments to provide optimal benefits.
Remedy distorted thinking
Realize that anxiety may exaggerate your fears. Recognize and correct distorted thoughts quickly to help prevent attacks.
Discover your body’s reactions
Be aware of your body’s stress responses like stiff, tight muscles, and shallow or rapid breathing.
Retrain your breathing
To combat hyperventilation, take about 12 diaphragmatic breaths per minute. Be sure your abdomen, not chest, moves in and out.
Practice calming techniques
Regular yoga and meditation sessions will help replace anxiety with relaxation.
Overcome avoidance behaviors
Skipping events and locations that triggered past panic attacks reinforces your misconception that doing ordinary things such as attending parties and taking public transportation are unsafe. Reintroduce dreaded situations and places slowly until you break your routine of avoidance without adverse reactions.
If a panic attack occurs, focusing on overblown fears or physical symptoms can exacerbate or prolong your anxiety. Deliberate grounding like focusing on the ground beneath your feet or a color from your environment can bring you back to reality.