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PANIC ATTACK OR PANIC DISORDER?

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Panic attacks are considered to be one of the scariest events a person might experience. During a panic attack the body goes into panic mode, (the fight or flight response). A person typically experiences severe pain in their chest, similar to a heart attack. Some may even feel like they are dying. Many people are often rushed to the hospital if they are unaware that the pain they are experiences is a panic attack. However, just because a person is not having a heart attack, does not mean that the pain they are experiencing is not 100% real. Most people will have at least one of two panic attacks in their lifetime. But if the panic attacks continue frequently, this can be known as a panic disorder. 

Symptoms of Panic Attacks may include the following:
  • Racing heart
  • Feeling weak, or dizzy
  • Severe chest pains
  • Having chills or severe sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling of terror or fear of suddenly dying



Panic attacks can suddenly come on out of the blue. One second you are sitting and laughing with a few friends, the next second you may find yourself doubled over in excruciating pain, firmly believing that you are dying from a heart attack. In the past, panic attacks have been shrugged off as just anxiety, but now it is being recognized for some people as a severe medical condition. A panic disorder can interfere with a person's quality of life  if  they are unable to predict when the next one will occur. Women are twice as likely to have a panic disorder then a male.

It is not clear as to why panic attacks occur. Studies show that panic attacks may develop from extreme stress, biological preconditions or a major life change. According to numerous medical sources (see below), an individual who has a panic disorder is more likely to commit suicide, or abuse alcohol and drugs. In addition, some sufferers may only get panic attacks at night; this is known as a "Nocturnal Panic Attacks." 

There is no cure for having a panic disorder, only treatment, which includes intense psychotherapy and anxiety medication. Anyone who feels they may be suffering from a panic disorder, should always visit their primary care physician or specialist and rule out other health problems, such as heart related illnesses. If an individual continues to have these symptoms, they should go to their local psychiatrist to get an appropriate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been made, follow your doctor's instructions and make sure that you have regular visits to your doctor until the panic disorders are under control. Regardless of what other people make think, a panic attack is painful, and NOT just something in your mind.



Understanding Panic Disorders!


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1John 5:3-4)."