"There was a phase in my life when I was really depressed. When I went through that phase, I thought I am getting a cardiac arrest...rushed to the doctor. He then said I am having an anxiety attack. I went to a psychologist post that. Then I realized that I had some internal issues to deal with, which got built up to such point that it resulted in anxiety." "I needed medication...first it was much stronger, then we slowly weaned it off and it's just three months ago that I actually stopped it all." "Those sessions made a big difference tome. During those sessions, we touched on many things of my life - loss of my father, baggage of other relationships & lack of a life partner. Today I feel a lot more free of it. I feel there are loads of other things to look forward to." - Karan Johar.
Everyone in this world has certain fears, everyone goes through certain moments in their life where they feel they are losing control of either their life or their mind. If you are going through the symptoms above, it is called a Panic attack.
Panic disorder typically emerges in one's late teens or early adulthood. More women have panic disorder as compared to men.
Researchers claim that panic disorder is sometimes known to run in families. They also unearthed that certain parts of the brain, along with biological processes, actively play a role in panic.
Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
- Irregular heartbeat or racing heart.
- Shortness of breath.
- Shaking and sweating.
- Dizziness and light headedness.
- Chest pain and heartburn.
- Choking sensations and nausea.
- Hot and cold flashes.
- Tingling sensations or numbness.
- Muscle spasms.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Fear of going 'crazy'.
- Fear of dying or being seriously ill.
- Feelings of unreality or being detached from self.
An individual experiencing a panic attack may not have all the symptoms, they may experience at least four out of these. It can be absolutely terrifying for an individual who is having a panic attack but it is not life threatening. Usually, a panic attack lasts between 10 - 20 minutes. There is no fixed pattern to panic attacks, some people may have them every week and for some there may not be any re occurrence for months.
How To Deal With A Panic Disorder
1. Learn about your problem
Many people misinterpret the symptoms of panic disorder and they run from doctor to doctor getting a plethora of tests done. Once you are satisfied that all basic cardiac and physical check up is normal, you need to stop and visit a psychiatrist or a psychologist who can correctly understand your symptoms and decide on an effective treatment plan.
2. Seek help
If you are experiencing panic attacks you need to visit a psychiatrist or a psychologist so that they can understand the crux of the problem. You need to be patient and work with your doctor/therapist. It would also be beneficial to know if you have a genetic susceptibility to panic attacks and to understand if the attacks are being triggered by conditions like Thyroid or lactose sensitivity.
Doctors may prescribe medicines like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or Benzodiazepines which will all help in the individual's anxiety. You need to be patient, medicines take 2 to 4 weeks to work. Don't lose hope and give the medication a try and let it do its work in its own time.
Panic disorder is usually tackled with medication and psychotherapy. A type of Psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is beneficial as a first line treatment of panic disorder. CBT is effective in identifying and changing the negative thought patterns, it teaches the individual different ways of thinking, behaving and addressing the feelings that come during a panic attack.
Regular exercise will aid in managing your stress levels, it will release your stress, improve your mood and boost your confidence.
6. Yoga, Meditation and Relaxation
Yoga , Meditation and Relaxation exercises done on regular basis can control panic disorder in long run, it can also reduce need for medication.
Don't Panic! Once you are seeking help you are on the road to recovery. Try diverting your mind into activities you enjoy. If your loved one is suffering from panic disorder then support, help and encourage them in dealing with their fears and consult a psychiatrist.