I believe that as it with many things, you cannot understand panic attacks, unless you have experienced them. When I was first depressed I had panic attacks and feelings of derealization.
I thought and felt like I was losing my mind. Panic disorder is very treatable. I am on two SSRIS (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibiters),Sertraline (Zoloft) and Fluvoxamine (Luvox). My panic attacks are kept in check by these medications. Panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia. People who are afraid of having a panic attack in public, sometime do not leave the relative comfort of their home. Agora -Phobia usually requires cognitive behavioral therapy. Steve Bloem
From John Hopkins
Anxiety is a common, normal and often useful response to life's challenges and dangers. But in people who suffer from an anxiety disorder, anxiety levels spin out of control, causing psychological and physical symptoms that interfere with normal functioning, appear even in the absence of obvious external stressors or are clearly excessive in the face of the stressors.
Researchers believe that anxiety disorders result from hyperactivity in certain areas of the brain, perhaps related to low levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for keeping activity levels of nerve cells in check.
Panic disorder. One of the five major forms of anxiety disorder is panic disorder -- sudden but short-lived attacks of terror and a fear of losing control.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 6 million adults (about 3 percent of adult Americans) suffer from panic disorder each year. It is twice as common in women as in men. One study estimated that only one in four people with panic attacks receive appropriate care.
Panic attacks begin without warning during non-threatening activities. Affected individuals often go to the emergency room or consult a cardiologist because the physical symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack. Panic attacks generally peak within 10 minutes and dissipate within 20 to 30 minutes. They are characterized by some combination of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or a racing pulse
- Discomfort in the chest
- Dizziness, lightheartedness or feeling faint
- Choking, nausea or stomach pain
- Hot or cold flashes
- Trembling or shaking
- A feeling of detachment from one's surroundings or a sense of unreality
- Tingling or numbness
- Fear of dying or losing one's mind
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