Panic attacks characterize a widespread form of anxiety disorder, affecting around 60 million people at least once in a lifetime. The onset of the problem is sometime between 15 and 19 years; the attack is unexpected, apparently unprovoked and traumatizing. Panic attacks can disable the sufferer, creating a vicious circle that is run by fear. Just think of what it is like to have a panic attack while driving, shopping or riding an elevator.
The patients develops a phobia, and starts avoiding the situations that might trigger the panic attacks. In time, fear and avoidance lead to such anxiety that more panic attacks are fueled. Hence, the most important part of the treatment is dedicated to breaking the vicious cycle of fear. The person has to face personal fears and move on, otherwise, a decay in the health condition is likely to appear.
Panic attacks should not be ignored because they can become debilitating. The main symptoms of panic attacks include:
-nausea and diarrhea;
-chills and hot flashes;
-fear of death;
-losing control etc.
Panic attacks usually lasts for 10 minutes on the average, and due to the symptoms they can be very well confused with heart attacks. There are even specific illnesses that have panic attacks as symptoms, as it happens with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or withdrawal after substance abuse. Panic attacks have also been reported in association with thyroid abnormalities, severe anemia or as adverse reactions to antimalarial medication.
Panic attacks can become manifest both during the daytime as well as at night, while you are asleep. Nocturnal panic attacks usually cause more respiratory distress and depressive moods. This happens because of the sudden state of fear that someone experiences when waking up abruptly. Lots of people suffering from panic attacks are initially misdiagnosed and have to go through a through process of medical testing that leads no where, while their condition deteriorates.
Who is more likely to suffer from panic attacks? Hard to tell indeed… There is a huge range of factors that lead to the installation of such extreme anxiety manifestations. However, scientists claim that people with higher anxiety sensitivity are more likely to develop such a condition, even this is not a rule. Major life stress, some traumatic event or physical illness might also lead to panic attacks. All the circumstances have to be investigated during therapy so that the patient comes to understand the cause of the problem and thus recover good health.