Silver Lining

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Panic Disorder

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Definition: Often experiencing spontaneous, unexpected panic attacks, which cause periods of intense fear

Symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
  • feeling of impending doom

Symptoms of panic disorder:

  • Sudden, frequent panic attacks
  • Feeling of being out of control during the attacks
  • Fear of future attacks
  • Avoidance/fear of places where attacks have occurred (agoraphobia)

Background/Statistics:

  • Six million Americans have it; women are twice as likely as men to have it
  • Affects 1 in 75 people, mainly teenagers and young adults
  • May be genetic, but also caused by stress or past psychological trauma
  • Occurs due to the activation of the fight-or-flight response caused by epinephrine (adrenaline), but there is not always an obvious trigger
    • One common trigger is fear of having a panic attack
      • This often leads to agoraphobia (fear of places where panic attacks have occurred): ex. a panic attack at a subway station might cause one to avoid subways/other crowded places

How to Feel Better:

  • Tell others. Many sufferers of panic disorder do not notify loved ones about what they experience because they fear being told that it is irrational or fake. However, it is important to tell others about what you experience because support is necessary to get through.
  • Inform medical professionals. People with panic disorder often do not tell doctors about their panic attacks, but doctors can help you get through your suffering, and can prescribe you something to help if the panic attacks get worse. It is also often comforting as well to have a medical professional whom you can trust.
  • Use stress-management techniques, such as meditation, exercise, or cutting down on caffeine. Stress is a major cause of panic disorder, along with other anxiety disorders, so try to cut as much stress out of your life as possible to start feeling better!

Sources:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia

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Author: silverlining

A community dedicated to spreading happiness and comforting those in need.

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