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Everything You Need to Know About Panic Disorder and it's Symptoms

Dec 26, 2007
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that can be treated successfully. It is characterized by attacks of fear and terror that are usually accompanied by sweatiness, pounding heart, faintness, dizziness and weakness. During these attacks, the people with panic disorder feel flushed or chilled and their hands tingle and feel numb. They may also experience chest pains and nausea. These attacks usually produce a a sense of unreality and fear of losing control and impending doom.

People with panic disorder are usually fearful of the physical symptoms mentioned above. That is already a sign of people having panic attacks. Sometimes, they think they are losing their minds, having heart attacks or about to die. They cannot predict where or when their attacks will occur so these in-between episodes are full of worries and anxieties. Some of them dread the embarrassment from the next attack that they quit their jobs and opt to stay at home instead.

Panic attacks can take place even when asleep. An attack usually lasts 10 minutes or maybe less but there are some signs that an attack can last longer. These panic disorders affect 6 million American adults. It is more common in women than men. The symptoms show in late adolescence or in early adulthood but not all who experiences a panic attack eventually develop panic disorder.

Those who have redundant and full-blown attacks are disabled by their condition. Therefore they should seek treatment before they isolate themselves from society. There are some cases wherein the attacks can lead to trauma. For example, say an attack took place in an elevator. Soon enough, the person may become afraid of getting into elevators.

Panic attacks can restrict the lives of people suffering from this disorder. It also makes them avoid normal daily activities like driving or grocery shopping. About 1/3 of people with panic disorder stay at home and are not able to confront their fears unless they are with their spouse or someone they trust.

Panic disorders are accompanied by other anxiety disorders, or depression. It can also be associated with substance or alcohol abuse. These conditions must be treated separately because the person will not be able to heal from his panic disorder if he is still induced in alcohol or drugs.

What are the causes of Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is said to run in families. This means that it runs in the genes. But there are also cases where people who do not have history of the disorder still develop it.

The other biological factors are stressful life occurrences, surroundings and state of mind that is exaggerated. These all play a part in triggering panic disorder. Usually, the first attack is due to physical illness. Then the attacks that follow after that are due to stress or side effects to a certain kind of medication. Those who tend to take on too many responsibilities may also suffer attacks.

Studies that have been conducted on animals and humans show results that there are specific brain areas involved in panic disorder. Fear is the emotion that evolves whenever there is danger. There is a stimuli in the brain that causes a fast and protected response whenever this emotion arises.

The body's fear response is coordinated by the amygdale. This is a small structure that is located inside the brain. Eating disorders are also linked to have rooted from panic attacks as well. Other mood disorders can also lead to panic disorders. These are the clinical depression and bipolar personality disorder.

Panic attacks are caused by stimulants. Examples of stimulants are caffeine and nicotine. These can already induce the attacks in people suffering from panic disorder. Chemicals like carbon monoxide can also trigger the attacks. The response varies from person to person.

How do you treat Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder can be disabling but it can also be regulated. Because of the troubling symptoms, these are more often than not mistaken as mental instability. This misconception prevents people who suffer the disease to go see their physicians.

The treatment for panic disorder is medication. There is also a kind of psychotherapy termed as cognitive-behavioral therapy that greatly assists those who have the disorder. The person must go to a mental health professional (psychiatrists, professional counselors, social workers and psychologists) he trusts for better results.
About the Author
Gaetane Ross is a Certified Natural Health Consultant who has spent over 4 years focusing on Nutrition and Health. She also specializes in Alternative Medicine, Spiritual Healing and Healthy Lifestyle.

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