What is a Panic Attack?
A full-fledged panic attack is one of the most intensely uncomfortable experiences you can have. “Stop Panic Now” is designed to help relieve the accompanying symptoms including heart palpitations, dizziness, shakiness, the feeling of chest constriction, difficulty in breathing, and the desire to flee.
Triggers of panic a attack
A panic attack can be triggered by many things and there are also many ways to help alleviate them. As a panic attack or continued/chronic severe symptoms of anxiety could have a medical cause, a thorough medical evaluation may be a good idea. People experiencing a panic attack have at least three common fears: “I’m losing control”, “I’m dying”, and “I’m going crazy.” Any of these thoughts can contribute to continued panic and anxiety.
Panic is a stress response that can be triggered by "internal conditions" such as worry or dwelling on distressing thoughts, or by physical distress such as low blood sugar or even hunger. It can also be triggered by "external conditions" such as being in a crowd or in an uncomfortable environment; an intense sound can also trigger an attack. When there is real danger our natural stress response will come into play when needed, and we will either fight or flee from the danger. A panic attack can arise from merely a perceived danger that is not real. An attack can also arise completely out of the blue, which only makes it more frightening because it makes no sense.
Panic attacks and agoraphobia
People having a panic attack may feel they have gone crazy and question whether this exaggerated response is “normal”. They may develop a superstitious belief that whatever they were doing at the time was the cause of the attack and therefore, avoid similar situations in the future so as to avoid future attacks. This avoidance pattern can lead to a disorder called agoraphobia, a fear of going out in public. This debilitating fear of having a panic attack can manifest as an inability to go shopping, use public transportation, enjoy social events or restaurants, or even leave the house alone.
Long-term treatment for Panic Attacks
Physicians generally treat recurring panic attacks and panic disorders by prescribing medications such as Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. These drugs do provide immediate relief by medically relaxing the patient, but they come with potential side effects, such as prolonged drowsiness and the slowing down of reflexes, which restrict the user from operating machinery and driving. Continued use of these pharmaceuticals can lead to becoming dependent on them. Other medications including anti-depressants like Lexapro, Zoloft, and Paxil are prescribed to be taken on an ongoing basis. Their possible side-effects include loss of libido, weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, as well as uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when going off of them.
For long-term healing from anxiety and panic disorders I believe that it is helpful to see a counselor. Through the therapy process you may discover that there are possible underlying causes. Most importantly you’ll discover that you don’t have to work through this on your own, that a counselor can offer support through the process of healing. In order to decrease your overall level of anxiety level it can be helpful to decrease or eliminate caffeine and to pay attention to foods and substances that have a stimulating effect such as sugar and artificial sweeteners, like aspartame. Lack of sleep, skipping meals, hurrying, and staying under time-pressure all can contribute to increased anxiety, which can lead to a panic attack.
You may be helped by using high quality herbs and natural supplements designed to calm, or trying yoga, massage therapy, meditation, listening to meditative music, or by practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques. And by simply acknowledging and expressing your feelings. You can read up on anxiety. One source of information can be found in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, from which the the classic muscle-relaxation exercise used in this recording can be found.