If you find yourself suffering from anxiety attacks or long-lasting feelings of fear – which can include symptoms like a pounding heart, difficulty breathing, or sweating – and these attacks come out of nowhere, there’s a chance you suffer from panic disorder. You should check with a doctor regardless of the diagnosis.
Mental health and treatment for it are unfairly stigmatized due to fear of being judged, or seeming “weak.” While mental disorders are not a sign of weakness, acknowledging mental illness is actually a sign of strength. In fact, many disorders are common, and those that aren’t are spread over the population. The likelihood that you will be affected by mental illness – directly or indirectly – is high. Here is some information to help you understand panic disorder better.
What Panic Disorder Is
Unexpected and frequent panic attacks are the first sign that a person might have panic disorder. The cause is not obvious – there may be no clear trigger, and it might not be in response to any danger. Panic disorder is not the same as having occasional panic attacks, but if they are frequent and unexpected, you should speak with a professional.
Symptoms and Signs of Panic Disorder
Some people report physical symptoms similar to a heart attack: tingling, trembling and a rapid heart rate are three possible symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms and frequency are so intense that sufferers of panic disorder will make significant life changes to avoid the occurrence of panic attacks. Typically, panic disorder begins in late teens or early adulthood. Other signs can include:
· Sudden, repeated panic attacks – a feeling of overwhelming fear and anxiety
· Feeling out of control; during the panic attack they may experience a feeling of impending doom or a fear of death
· Difficulty breathing
· Dizziness or weakness
· Chest pain
· Nausea or stomach pain
Causes of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder’s roots are difficult to pin down, though they do tend to run in families, even if not everyone gets them in the family. They are believed to be rooted in survival instincts like “fight or flight” being activated too strongly and/or too frequently.
Treatment of Panic Disorder
You should speak to a medical professional if you believe you have panic disorder. There are many options to help ease the worst of it. Psychotherapy and/or medications can be used to treat it in many cases. You must be diagnosed first, typically by a mental health professional. A thorough discussion with your primary care physician will help guide you through the best steps in your particular case.
Panic Disorder Support
If you are having symptoms of panic disorder, you should let someone know whom you trust. This way you won’t have to deal with the symptoms and results alone. If you know someone who may suffer from panic disorder, let them know that you are willing to be there and support them through the stress that panic order can cause.
You can find more information about panic disorder here: https://medlineplus.gov/panicdisorder.html