Dearest reader, I guess if you are reading this, then either you or a loved one of yours is suffering from panic disorder or any associated ailment.
Thus, I want to ascertain to you that I do understand where you are coming from, what you are going through and that your most desired wish is to escape, break free from this vicious circle of fear.
I’ve suffered from severe panic attacks and agoraphobia myself for half of my life, so I can proclaim with an open heart, and an open mind, that I do completely understand your disposition.
I am here for you as much as I can…I’m having your back; this is coming from the bottom of my heart. By the way, I have written a thorough article regarding my ten self-proven tips and one wonderful tool that help to prevent and heal panic attacks and anxiety.
I suggest you read the post and follow the guide whenever you feel an impending threat approaching. It will definitely give you relief
That being said, let’s jump right into this and begin with trying to understand the causes of panic attacks in people a bit better. This will help us to release them in the future. In future articles, I will help you to learn how to embrace your panic attacks, acknowledge their presence and let them go. It will take some time, dedication and trust, but we will beat this together – I promise!
How Panic Attacks Express Themselves
Morbid fear dominates emotional life and everyday life. The experienced fear is out of proportion to the situation in which it occurs. It shows up violently excessively or nests itself persistently.
Anxiety and panic disorders are associated with physical and often other emotional symptoms. Very frequently, a vicious circle of fear arises: For fear of the fear, the affected people restrict their everyday lives enormously; sometimes withdrawing completely into their protective four walls.
Persistent feelings of anxiety or panic attacks can be an expression of an independent anxiety disorder or even a symptom of depression, psychosis or another mental illness.
There is often a close correlation between anxiety and depression, or a kind of parallelism develops between them (mixed anxiety disorder), without one or the other permanently prevailing.
In anxiety disorders, the anxiety center in the brain is overactive. Responsible for this is the interaction of several factors.
These can consist of familial predisposition, early childhood experiences, traumatic experiences and personality disorders.
Research has also shown that in anxiety disorders often increased responsiveness to various stimuli, including stress factors, is present in certain brain areas (limbic system e.g.) – but not only there.
It involves important neurotransmitters that cause imbalances.
Among the most important anxiety disorders or panic disorders (doctors use both terms alternately for this most common mental illness) include:
▪ Phobias with and without panic,
▪ Panic disorders with panic attacks
▪ generalized anxiety disorder
▪ Anxiety and depressive disorder, mixed.
Phobias: To be Afraid of Something, With or Without Panic Attacks
Phobias are fears of something, be it spaces, situations, people, animals, objects. Among other things, psychoanalysts see this as an unconscious shift from deep-seated fears to actually harmless objects or encounters.
The affected person cannot, for various reasons, point out the original fear which triggered the crisis; he is also not aware of them. Separation fears and other childhood experiences, as well as predispositions and increased sensory sensitivities of cerebral nerves, also play a role.
Phobias are often associated with panic attacks and avoidance behavior. But they can also be characterized by persistent feelings of anxiety, for example, before dealing with other people (social phobia).
– Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia
Anxiety triggers are certain locations or spatial situations such as large, open spaces, crowds, subways, cinemas, supermarkets. Even long or solo trips can cause anxiety. Those affected panic because they feel lost or at the mercy of being unable to immediately return to a protective location, such as their home.
This local fear prevents some from even leaving home because they are afraid of relapsing anxiety. This is called agoraphobia. Sufferers develop in the further course, and not infrequently, additional depression symptoms and addictions.
A separate form of agoraphobia is claustrophobia. Here, fear centers on narrow, small spaces such as elevators, changing rooms, airplanes, crowded trains. Physicians also classify them as specific phobias (see below).
Fearful situations of panic cause strong feelings of insecurity and anxiety. The inner unrest can increase to unbearable. The urge to leave the place immediately is great. Sometimes even the thought of a room in question triggers intense feelings of agitation.
The fears do not always manifest, but often, in sudden onset of panic attacks with severe physical symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, sweating, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.
In extreme cases, those affected breathe excessively (they hyperventilate), and may even faint due to an excess oxygen amount being transported to their brains.
The strong physical complaints stir up the additional fear of suffering from a life-threatening illness. The anxiety attacks can take several minutes to hours. The symptoms decline after the peak of the attack.
– Specific phobias
Here, very specific objects or situations cause anxiety, which also manifests itself in inner restlessness, anxiety and even panic attacks. For example, agitation reactions are limited to spiders or dogs only. Even non-existent but suspected diseases (hypochondria) can trigger constant fears.
Others are particularly afraid of exams, air travel or injections. For some people, there are again narrow spaces that terrify them (claustrophobia). The fear of some kind of animal or event can increase to such an extent that those affected, for example, at the sight of syringes, faint, and limit their daily lives significantly to avoid the fear-inducing object.
Panic Disorders: Panic Attacks as an Expression of Anxiety
Anyone who suffers from a panic disorder experiences the fear of a raid, usually, without that, there would be a recognizable occasion or reason. The panic attacks lead to a pronounced fear of the next, uncontrollable anxiety attack.
Panic attacks can also occur as a result of a surviving illness, such as after a heart attack. This creates a vicious circle of mutually reinforcing fears. Panic disorders are often associated with phobias, especially with agoraphobia (see above).
The sudden onset of attacks are intense and associated with acute physical symptoms. These include feelings of tightness, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, feelings of fainting.
The feeling of fear can increase up to the fear of death. Frequently, sufferers fear to suffer a heart attack. A panic attack takes a few minutes to a few hours.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Always in Fear
With this disease, anxiety and worry permanently determine the thinking and the lifestyle of those affected. The fears do not relate to a particular situation, but to many areas.
Those affected are constantly concerned about something; their loved ones, their health, their job performance, their upcoming business ventures, e.g. The fear is often not consciously experienced as a worry, but as a permanently existing state of mind.
Sleep disorders, high blood pressure, indigestion, and other regulatory disorders can be the result of mental over-excitement. Depression, which in turn is also a cause, or obsessive-compulsive disorder is not uncommon.
Physicians speak of a generalized anxiety disorder, also known as anxiety neurosis when the typical symptoms persist for a longer period of time (at least half a year) and are present on most days.
Constant, inner restlessness, nervous tension, constant pondering about possible dangers and accidents are characteristic. Worries are getting out of hand and can no longer be controlled. This often results in control constraints.
In addition, there are concentration disorders, sleep disorders, increased irritability. Physical complaints such as muscle tension, headache, nausea, indigestion, sweating, and dry mouth are common.
Heart Anxiety Syndrome – Functional Heart Complaints
This condition also called cardiac phobia or heart anxiety neurosis causes pain in the chest, which can radiate into the arms. It may occur over and over again, even without physical exertion present. Some sufferers experience almost realistic “heart attacks,” panic attacks with tachycardia, sweating, trembling, fainting feelings, e.g..
They are convinced that they have fatal heart disease and are constantly focusing on it. Even the usually inconspicuous physical findings of the medical examinations cannot always convince them. Behind such complaints hides a pronounced anxiety disorder.
Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders
Frequently, people suffering from an anxiety disorder turn to the doctor because of the associated physical ailments or sleep disorders.
The physician will first ask specific questions and thoroughly examine the patient. It is also important for the doctor to know whether certain prescription drugs, alcohol or other narcotics could play a role.
If there are no physical disorders that could lead to the described symptoms, it is up to a psychiatrist and psychotherapist to diagnose the clinical picture and its severity by means of systematic surveys and tests. The psychiatrist also investigates other possible mental illnesses or excludes them through appropriate tests.
Therapies for Anxiety Disorders
Behavior therapy with special programs has proved to be extremely effective in the treatment of many anxiety disorders, especially phobias and panic disorders.
The cognitive behavioral therapy helps those affected to recognize ingrained behavior patterns, thoughts and feelings as well as the associated fears and to change them through targeted exercises. These treatment concepts are also often successful in generalized anxiety disorders.
For example, in behavioral therapy, also called systemic desensitization, the therapist gradually confronts his patient with the situation that triggers his phobia, first mentally, later in real life (habituation training).
By doing so, he can learn to deal with his fear and gradually overcome it. Depending on how an affected person experiences his anxiety, other procedures are also suitable, such as anxiety overload (flooding therapy).
Depending on the form of anxiety disorder and the course of therapy, psychodynamic therapy may also be considered. It has emerged from psychoanalytic and depth psychological-therapies.
The duration of treatment is usually much shorter than that of classical psychoanalysis. Although the therapist and the patient also reveal deeper psychological conflicts underlying the fears.
Therapeutically, however, they work especially on current strains and symptoms. Together they actively develop solution options.
Among other things, doctors consider psychodynamic therapies when behavioral therapies do not work for different reasons. In the meantime, there are also special programs for anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorders; the psychoanalytic focal therapy.
Relaxation therapies often accompany different psychotherapeutic procedures. A healthy lifestyle with a lot of physical activity also helps to feel more stable again.
One important note for you: When fears start to appear more frequently and begin to burden your life, you should find your way to a therapist as soon as possible.
This is helpful so that constricting thoughts and reaction patterns do not solidify “hopelessly” or lead to other psychological problems such as addictions.
As usual, I do hope that my article can be of help to anyone – better yet, to everyone who suffers from this disease. When I still was burdened with panic attacks myself, I used to say to myself that I didn’t even wish those to my worst enemy – I truly meant those words!
Today, I know this trial times made me stronger, and it was only through those experiences that I found my purpose in life – To help the less fortunate who are still struggling with this ailment.
Oh, yes, in case you’ve forgotten, go on to read the article with my 10 tips. I promise you will feel better if you stick to my suggested routine.
Please, feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions and/or own stories and confrontation with panic disorder. Also, like, share and follow us to stay in touch and keep updated.
And, remember: You are beautiful, precious and unique regardless of what others say. Thus, keep on shining. I’m sending you lots of love, encouragement, harmony and an abundance of all good things.