Panic Disorders: Could You Be Suffering?

Panic disorders occur in many people and are categorised by recurring and regular panic attacks, usually for no real reason at all. Anxiety is common and can occur at any time in life, not just when we are exceptionally stressed, and it is a perfectly natural response to stress, emotional trauma or danger. However, in people who suffer from panic disorders, stress and anxiety are a more regular occurrence. Anxiety is the term used for feelings of unease and this can be quite severe at times, including feelings of fear and worry. There are a number of conditions which can increase the likelihood of anxiety occurring, which involve phobias and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). The latter of these is a long-term conditions which leads to excessive anxiety and worry relating to a number of situations and events in the person’s life. Post-traumatic stress disorder can also cause anxiety – this is a condition caused by extremely stressful or distressing events, and can actually lead to psychological and physical problems. If you’ve experienced a stressful event or gone through something very distressing, it’s likely that you may develop anxiety and stressful symptoms. You may wish to speak to your GP about this in order to limit the risk of you developing a panic disorder.

A panic attack causes your body to produce a number of physical and mental symptoms. You’ll feel overwhelmed by fear and worry, as well as feeling nauseas, sweaty, trembling and feel as though you heart is beating irregularly. Depending on how severe your disorder is will determine how often you feel this way – some people only have one or two a month, while others have attacks several times a week. They can be very frightening, particularly if you’ve not experienced them before, but they aren’t dangerous. The attack is not going to cause you any physical harm and it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to be admitted to hospital for a panic attack. If you’re worried about panic attacks or feel that you’re getting them more regularly, you should speak to your GP who can advise you of how to deal with them.

Panic attacks affect one in 10 people, and they’re usually the result of a stressful event. It’s believed that one in 100 people in the UK have a panic disorder; they’re often developed when the individual is in their twenties. It’s also twice as common in women than men. Researchers still aren’t sure what triggers panic disorders. The main form of treatment for them is to reduce the number of panic attacks you suffer from, to ease the severity of your condition. There are two types of treatment for panic disorders – medication and psychological therapy. The former is something that your GP will be able to discuss with you, to find the right type of medication for your condition. The latter can either be arranged privately or through your GP. Your counsellor will be able to discuss the reasons behind your panic disorder, delve into why you feel so stressed, and help you to find ways to combat your problem. Generally, trying to avoid stressful activities and remain calm can help to set you on the right path for treating panic disorders. You may find calming activities helpful, such as yoga and meditation. General calming techniques such as deep breathing and counting to ten can also help you to ease an attack when it strikes.

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