Panic Disorder is also another kind of anxiety attack. Panic Attacks are always sudden and happen out-of-the-. It usually occurs when there are major life changes happening, though the reasons behind it are largely unclear. You could say that it is a far more intense feeling than feeling ‘stressed-out’. The level of fear is completely out of proportion to the actual situation and is more than often unrelated. The person having a panic attack may feel as though they’re having a heart-attack or might even be dying.
E.g.: Ram was preoccupied and was thinking about his upcoming interview when he took his dog for a walk as usual. They went along their usual route for a little while before heading toward the park. Suddenly, Ram starting experiencing chest pains and was having difficulty breathing. He had to stop and sit on the ground. Some passersby saw him collapse and rushed him to the nearest emergency. The doctors said there was nothing wrong with him. Ram himself says that he felt like he would have died at that moment and that the pain he felt was very real. What he experienced was a panic attack. He had been worried about his interview and was really tense.
What Ram experienced is a panic attack and can happen anywhere, anytime.
Panic Attacks may seem like death. They can be very severe and debilitate a person.
Signs and Symptoms :
These below are some of the most common signs a person with panic disorder may face:
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath cannot get enough air. They feel like they have run a marathon.
- They feel intense paralyzing fear
- They feel like they are choking or like someone is throttling/smothering them along with chest pains
- They experience nausea and stomach-ache
- They sweat profusely
- Experience a tingling sensation
- May experience hot flashes or sudden chills
- Almost always have a racing heartbeat
- Feeling of being in an unreal world or feeling detached
- They may fear of dying, losing control or going crazy
- Hot or cold flashes
- Heart palpitations
These may be very similar to the ‘fight or flight’ symptoms. But during a panic attack these symptoms rise out of nowhere. These symptoms are similar for kids as well.
They happen in very normal situations and can happen even when asleep. In addition to these, a panic attack can be marked by:
- It occurs suddenly without any provocation and without a way to stop it
- It passes in a few minutes.
Please remember that only a healthcare professional can identify a panic attack. Reach out to us immediately if you fear you have any of these symptoms.
Similar to many other disorders, Panic Disorder also does not have a particular set of causes. There are many causes, biological and environmental. Let’s discuss some:
- A life stressor-meaning a stressful life event; like the recent loss of a loved one
- Abnormalities in the brain: Sometimes the same disorder that causes the ‘fight-or-flight’ response causes panic attacks as well.
- Substance Abuse: Abusing alcohol or any other types of narcotics can also be a cause.
- Sometimes if the person has a family history of panic or anxiety, this may be passed on.
The same might apply for kids. They need more help when it comes to deciphering the attacks. They may have no clue as to what is happening to them.
Left untreated for long, Panic Attacks may increase and disturb life as it is. There are similar complications here as well:
- Development of different kinds of phobias: e.g.: Leaving the house, driving, staying alone.
- Avoiding social situations where one has to interact with others
- Problems they face at work or at school
- Increased risk of self harm as they tend to have suicidal thoughts
- Financial problems that arise as the person refuses to leave the comfort of their homes
- Narcotic or alcohol abuse
For some others it may lead to phobia wherein they refuse to leave home without help or refuse to engage in any kind of social activity.
Do consult a healthcare professional before these complications arise.