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Panic Disordersfrom: Conquer Anxiety and Depression
Everyone has some moments or periods of anxiety in their life, but they're usually associated with some cause that can be identified. Panic disorders, on the other hand, are distinguished by the fact they seem to occur unexpectedly and without a cause that can be specifically identified. People jokingly say they just had a "panic attack", but real panic attacks can be so severe they become debilitating while occurring. They can also last a minute or even several hours.
It's important to understand that anxiety is a normal reaction to what the body sees as a physical or mental threat. With normal anxiety, the worry disappears once the cause of the worry is eliminated. With panic disorders there's no real cause and so there's nothing to be eliminated. That means the panic can occur repeatedly and will not be resolved at a point in time.
There are certain physical symptoms that define a panic attack. You may have trouble breathing or your heart races. You can start sweating, feel sick to your stomach, feel dizzy or even have chest pain. In general, a panic attack can make you feel as if you're being smothered. Panic disorders are diagnosed when these symptoms occur more than two times and you worry continually that another attack is going to happen.
Panic disorders are not related to a specific activity. This is where people often use the terminology the wrong way. If you have a fear of driving on the interstate and only "panic" in anticipation of having to do so, you probably have a phobia or anxiety disorder. As mentioned, panic disorders happen without cause or reason. True panic disorders are not due to medication, events or physical illness. It's this feature of panic disorders that make them more difficult to treat.
Panic disorders may display symptoms irregularly too. You can have a panic attack one a year or once a week. The worse thing you can do is to avoid dealing with the experience, especially if you start worrying about having another one. You can have the doctor rule out physical reasons for a racing heart or shortness of breath, but if you are healthy and start worrying about another panic attack, chances are you have one of the panic disorders.
There are several treatments for panic disorders. They include learning to relax, learning to control your thought processes and even learning to control your physical reactions to name a few. If you learn to take control of what is happening in your body and mind, you can often learn to cope with panic attacks in a way they become much less frightening and traumatic. Some people are able to use a combination of exercise, counseling and a higher level of awareness to even eliminate panic attacks. Since panic disorders are not related to a specific event or cause, you'll have to learn how to control the general anxiety level in your life to eliminate the panic attacks.
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