Sunday, September 02, 2012

Panic Attacks Information for Treatment

By Emily Dickson

There are a few pieces of panic attacks information which most people are already aware of, such that a panic attack is a sudden, overwhelming episode of debilitating fear which is often irrational in nature. This fear comes along with symptoms such as sweating, increased heart rate and rapid, shallow breathing.

Sufferers report that they feel like they are dying, having a heart attack or will have a heart attack due to the symptoms they feel within their bodies. The first time that a person suffers a panic attack they typically do not understand what is happening. Often times the person is helped by simply understanding exactly what a panic attack is, and how many other people suffer from it. Once a panic attack has taken place, most people turn their fear towards experiencing another attack.

Help for panic attacks can be found in a variety of ways but most people who suffer from panic attacks do not seek treatment. Therapy, medications plus relaxation techniques can help individuals to be rehabilitated. Behavioral therapy allows the person to feel some of the symptoms of a panic attack but helps the person to see that the symptom itself is nothing to fear. This part of behavioral therapy is called interoceptive exposure. For instance, the individual might be encouraged to bring on some of the sensations of a panic attack like an increased heart rate. The person then learns that although they have this feeling it does not always bring on a panic attack and they can handle it. Behavioral therapy also includes real life exposure. They may be introduced to the things they fear in order to become accustomed to them.

There are a variety of different relaxation techniques which may be used. Patients are generally encouraged to start by trying to relax their shoulder muscles as soon as they feel a panic attack approaching. This focuses the patient on this muscular tension, which allows them to concentrate on alleviating it. The idea is to progress from relaxing the shoulders on to the rest of the body in order to product a state of total body relaxation; being able to control one's breathing is essential here, since a panic attack generally causes rapid respiration and heart rate. In order to slow their breathing, the patient can try breathing out slowly through their mouth, much as if they were trying to blow out candles on a birthday cake. While doing this, the panic attack sufferer needs to keep in mind that they are not going to die nor are they going to lose their sanity because of the symptoms of their attacks - these kinds of fears commonly make panic attacks even worse.

Panic attacks are a form of a panic disorder caused by anxiety. There are several ways that people show their anxiety through a panic disorder. Post traumatic stress disorder is often seen after an individual has gone through a traumatic event like the death or separation of a loved one, physical attack or abuse, an accident or witnessing a traumatic event. An individual might also be diagnosed with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). This type of anxiety disorder involves having unwanted thoughts or obsessions that can't be removed from the person's thinking. They might become obsessed with urges that provoke them to repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors or routines to ease their anxiety.

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