I’ll be sitting in my car, trying my best to push myself to get out and go to work. Then anxiety sets in. Racing heart, sweats, hyperventilating. I’m frozen with panic and overwhelmed by every little thing. Walking from the car I feel dizzy and somewhat claustrophobic. It feels as if nothing and no one can help me out. This is a panic attack.
In the last post, we talked about my schizoaffective disorder. So I thought, why not continue with the theme. So we’re going to discuss Panic Disorder. Panic disorder occurs when you experience recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.
Doesn’t sound like any fun, huh? It’s not, But I’ve been working hard on my anxiety. See, panic disorder may not have a cure, though you can learn to live it. You still can have a normal life. You just have to understand this disorder first. Learn what works for you.
First let’s talk about what happens during a panic attack. How can you recognize it. Symptoms of a panic attack go as follows:
-Feeling your heart racing
-Shaking or trembling
-Chest pain or discomfort
-Shortness of breath
-Sense of impending doom
If you have any symptoms of Panic Disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible. Panic attacks are hard to manage, and they can get worse without treatment. Panic attack symptoms can look like other medical problems. I’ve heard a lot that it’s close to what a heart attack feels like. If you do not know what’s going on with your symptoms, this is the time to go to your primary caregiver. They’ll be able to tell you whether it is something completely medical, or a possible panic attack.
About 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a given year and it is twice as common in women than in men. Panic disorder can interfere with daily life. For me, it’s mainly cost me missing work days. Or I’ll have to cancel a doctors appointment because of it. This is not exactly an easy disorder, but you can live with it.
Not much is known about what causes panic attacks or panic disorder. The only possible causes I found are:
-Major Stress(like losing a loved one)
-Certain changes in the way parts of your brain function
-Temperament that is more sensitive to stress or prone to negative emotions
(this list came from Mayoclinic.org)
After ruling out a medical diagnosis, such as a thyroid problem, your best bet is to see a counselor or psychiatrist. I personally see both. A counselor will help you figure out your triggers, and help you find a reason you have this disorder. Medications are also a big help. There are several types of meds that can help you. SSRIs(antidepressants),SNRIs(also a class of antidepressants), and Benzodiazepines(sedatives for central nervous system depressants). The last one is not recommended if you have problems with drug use.
We’ve talked about natural herbs that help anxiety in another post. So I won’t be repeating myself on this one. Just go back to the post “Herbs for Anxiety”.
In conclusion, this may not feel like an easy disorder, but it is manageable. With counseling,
medication, and the right headspace you can live a normal life.
Once again, I hope this has been helpful and educational. Thank you for reading.
Until next time, Namaste.