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:: Health Conditions
- Panic Disorder
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What You Fear the Most Cannot Happen
Panic attacks are very real, very awful, and emotionally
debilitating. Many people who experience their first panic
attack find themselves at hospital emergency rooms... or at
doctors offices - prepared to hear the very worst news
possible about their health.
When they dont hear that theyve had a life-threatening
condition (such as a heart attack), this news may actually
increase their anxiety and frustration: "... if I am
physically OK, what happened to me? I experienced something
so dreadful I cant even explain it. So
whats happening to me?"
A panic attack is a horrible and terrifying experience,
but it is not in any sense dangerous. Panic disorder
is actually an entirely natural bodily reaction
that is occurring OUT OF CONTEXT.
For example, when we feel our survival is somehow
threatened, all mammals have an instinctual response
to either fight or flee. This response produces
a sudden surge of adrenaline, accompanied by strong
feelings of anxiety and panic, and a very intense
urge to flee or escape the situation or circumstance.
It is interesting that the intensity of the reaction
and the strong urge to flee are things that would
ensure your survival if you were truly in danger.....
The flow of adrenaline and the resulting extra
blood flow increases your strength and awareness
of the danger. This extra "awareness"
of the perceived danger may cause all sorts of
feelings, such as dizziness, nausea, hyperventilation,
heart palpitations, confusion, lack of control,
unreality, being dazed, shaking, trembling, and
sweaty palms, among others.
During a panic attack, your body goes through
the same physical processes as it would if you
were in real danger. The DIFFERENCE, of course,
is that although you feel you are in danger, you
really ARE NOT. That you undergo panic attacks
- without knowing why - only makes the situation
much more frightening.
Because of these feelings of panic, it's very
common to "invent" or attribute danger
to the accompanying bodily symptoms. Remember,
though, that NO ONE has ever had these things
happen to them as a result of a panic attack:
"I'm going crazy": No one with
panic attacks and anxiety has ever gone "crazy".
In fact, because you realize that you have panic
attacks, this is just another indication that
you are not going crazy. People that "go
crazy" lose contact with reality. Anxiety
people are too much in contact with reality. Thus,
people with panic and anxiety problems NEVER "go
crazy". It simply cannot happen.
"I'm going to pass out": Temporary
dizziness leads people with panic to feel that
they may pass out. This is not possible because,
during panic, your heart beats faster, and your
blood pressure rises. As the blood pressure rises,
it becomes impossible for you to "pass out".
When people faint or "pass out", it's
because of a sudden DROP or lowering in blood
"I', having a heart attack":
when the heart begins to beat quickly and people
experience "palpitations", they sometimes
feel a heart attack is occurring. In the first
place, the heart can beat quickly and continuously
for a long period of time without causing any
damage. Although heart palpitations seem to occur
in the left side of the chest, there are many
DIFFERENCES between panic attack and a
real heart attack. During a real heart attack,
the primary symptom is a crushing sensation inside
the chest and a pain that is continuous. During
a panic attack, the attention is focused on the
quick and rapid beating of the heart itself. ("I
can hear my heart beating even in my ears!")
People having panic attacks are NOT experiencing
heart problems. A real heart attacks produces
crushing internal pain that doubles people up
and drops them to the floor. They DO NOT hear
their heart beating nor do they care. The intense,
crushing pain is the only thing they can pay attention
"I will stop breathing and suffocate":
Sometimes panic sufferers feel that because they
can't catch their breath (and are hyperventilating),
they will suffocate. This is impossible
because you cannot pass out and suffocate. It
feels like you can because the mixture of oxygen
and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream is out
of proportion. That is why people feel weak, dizzy,
lightheaded, and faint. Suffocation is not a possibility
during a panic attack. In a few moments, as the
body gradually calms down, breathing returns to
normal, and the other symptoms gradually go away.
"I'm losing control": Experiencing
many anxiety symptoms all at once can cause a
person to feel that they are "losing control"
of themselves. Sometimes the fear is of acting
nervous and foolish in public where others will
be able to notice. Sometimes the fear is of being
rushed to the hospital in an emergency vehicle.
For other people, it is the fear that losing all
control proves they are crazy and may have to
be institutionalized. Actually, the fact that
you think you could "lose control" guarantees
that this is not really possible. The only people
who really "lose control" are people
who are not aware of this and are not ever
concerned or bothered by "losing control".
Although the thoughts and feelings of anxiety
and panic are all too real, the brain is being
tricked into thinking that you are somehow
in danger - when actually you are not. Part of
effective therapy includes realizing this and
slowly changing ingrained thought patterns. Another
part of therapy is in actually tapping the emotional
side itself - to quiet and relax the mind so that
anxiety and panic will have no choice but to eventually
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack can only be described as a
comprehensive emotional nightmare. Some people
with panic feel like they are in an escalating
cycle of catastrophe and doom and that something
bad is going to happen to them "right now
this very moment."
Others feel as if they are having a heart attack
as their heart races. The heart palpitations convince
them that they are about to have an attack. Other
people feel that they are going to "lose
control" of themselves and will do something
embarrassing in front of other people. Others
breathe so quickly, gasping for air, that they
hyperventilate and feel like they will suffocate
from lack of oxygen.
Common symptoms of panic include:
- a racing or pounding heartbeat
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- feeling that "I cant catch my breath"
- chest pains or a "heaviness" in
- flushes or chills
- tingling in the hands, feet, legs, arms
- jumpiness, trembling, twitching muscles
- sweaty palms, flushed face
- fear of losing control
- fear of a stroke that will lead to disability
- fear of dying
- fear of going crazy
A panic attack typically lasts several
long minutes and is one of the most distressing
conditions a person can experience. In some cases,
panic attacks have been known to last for longer
periods of time or to recur very quickly over
and over again.
The aftermath of a panic attack
is very painful. Feelings of depression and helplessness
are usually experienced. The greatest fear is
that the panic attack will come back again and
again, making life too miserable to bear.
Panic is not necessarily brought
on by a recognizable circumstance, and it may
remain a mystery to the person involved. These
attacks come "out of the blue". At other
times, excessive stress or other negative life
conditions can trigger an attack.
Sadly, many people do not seek help for panic
attacks, agoraphobia, and anxiety-related difficulties.
This is especially tragic because panic and anxiety
are treatable conditions that respond well to
relatively short-term therapy. The National
Institutes of Mental Health is currently conducting
a nationwide campaign to educate the general public
and health care practitioners that panic and the
other anxiety disorders are some of the most successfully
treated psychological problems. Clinical research
provides us with a solid blueprint of methods
that can help us overcome anxiety, panic, and
Active, cognitive/behavioral therapy has been
shown by research to be the most effective therapy
in dealing with the anxiety problems. Usually,
there is no reason to rehash the past and analyze
it to death. In fact, the more you think and analyze
your problems, the worse you can make your condition.
(Analysis = paralysis). Instead, a focus on making
the present better so that the future is (almost)
anxiety-free is the best and most permanent course
of action to take.
Today, panic is being successfully treated in
the vast majority of cases. Active cognitive-behavioral
therapy plus a strong motivation and persistence
on the part of the client are the essential ingredients
in overcoming this major anxiety disorder.
Having one panic attack is bad enough, but most people could
cope with it as long as they knew they wouldn't have another.
The problem with panic attacks is that once you have had one, you:
- Worry that you are going to have another one
- Can sometimes get a 'conditioning' effect that triggers panic again when you return to a similar situation to where the first one happened
- Tense up if you feel at all anxious
These 3 factors make it more likely that you will have another panic attack, which is why many people find that they don't just have one.
Getting rid of the most important factor in panic
The conditioning effect of panic is the most difficult to
deal with because it happens unconcsiously, so you have little
control over it. Hypnosis is a powerful,
effective and 100% natural part of you...
Self Hypnosis uses a technique to remove this effect, effectively
're-educating' your unconscious mind that the situation where
you experienced panic is not a truly dangerous one.
This allows you to control your anxiety levels much more
"Stop Panic Attacks" also relaxes you very
deeply, reminding your body and mind how to feel that way,
and helping you stay more relaxed, more of the time.
Panic Attacks and get control back over panic...
and Causes of panic disorder - Panic disorder is a pathological
condition characterized by repeated panic attacks, combined
with a series of long-lasting symptoms and attitudes that
are present between the attacks.