“One day, without any warning or reason, I felt terrified. I was so afraid, I thought I was going to die. My heart was pounding and my head was spinning. I would get these feelings every couple of weeks. I thought I was losing my mind.”—J. A
"The more attacks I had, the more afraid I got. I was always living in fear. I didn’t know when I might have another attack. I became so afraid that I didn’t want to leave my house.”-- K.C!
Who of us has not experienced a sudden jolt of anxiety when stopped by a police officer for speeding, or when faced with an important event in their life, like getting married, taking an important test, or going on a job interview?
We all experience anxiety from time to time and, normally, we are able to manage it. However, people who suffer with panic disorder will tell you that normal every day events trigger anxiety that is beyond their ability to control.
Panic disorder is a severe illness and left untreated can become debilitating. People with panic disorder often feel discouraged and feel ashamed because they cannot carry out every day routines like going to the grocery store or driving. Many people with severe panice disorder can even have difficulty functioning at school and work.
**People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes. Sometimes symptoms may last longer. These are called panic attacks.
**Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or a fear of losing control even when there is no real danger.
**People with panic disorder may also have:
**An intense worry about when the next attack will happen.
**A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
**Physical symptoms such as pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, or stomach pain.
No one really knows for certain. However, when people who suffer with Panic disorder are interviewed, one often finds that anxiety runs in their family. Many times, persons experiencing a panic disorder have experienced some stressful event, such as a near death experience, a sever car accident, or some other event in which they feel their life was threatened.
Many times, women who had a difficult time during delivery of a child will report the onset of panic disorder.
Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.
I have found (CBT) cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful in dealing with panic disorder. CBT teaches a person how to think more positive and prevent worry. I usually combine CBT along with other therapies that help to resolve anxiety, such as.
The important thing for you to know is that if you are someone you know suffers with panic disorder, it is treatable. Seek out a licensed therapist who works with anxiety and panic disorders and get a clinical evaluation.