At least one out of every 75 people suffers from Panic Disorder, which is something of a subset of a number of Anxiety Disorders.
Anxiety Disorders involve processes that are both mental and physical, and create problems that are both mental and physical. One reason why these sort of mood disorders are so difficult to treat is the fact that we do not have direct or conscious control of our autonomic nervous system or the functions of the brain’s inner structure where fear, distress, unease, insecurity and other negative feelings and emotions are generated. So, when I address the misery of patients whose lives are constricted by worry or punctuated by debilitating panic attacks, it is imperative that we don’t forget the roles that neurochemical as well as purely mental factors play, or how they work in tandem.
When fear or anxiety comes on suddenly – and especially if it is debilitating – you are suffering from Panic Disorder. A panic attack can be induced simply by worrying about the next obligation. In many cases, panic attacks occur during a major life transition.
People who suffer Panic Disorder are also likely to experience hypochondria. Once irrational fears are admitted into one’s thinking sufficiently enough to affect their behavior, it becomes more difficult to ward off health-related fears. Any sort of chest pain “could be” a heart attack. Slight dizziness after standing up could be the precursor of a stroke and so forth. Some of these patients are afraid that they will stop breathing, lose consciousness or lose their sanity.
Although we might think of Panic Disorder as a condition that is “all in the head” of our patients, the panic plays havoc on the nervous system, sometimes causing physiological symptoms such as heart rate anomalies, pain or tightness in chest, shortness of breath, trembling, sweating, nausea, numbness and tingling, hot flashes, chills, dizziness and choking sensations.
Many people who suffer from panic attacks might think they’re going crazy, and this is where I first step in with cognitive therapies to help ease this fear. Triggers to panic attacks clearly make themselves known, and it is these triggers we address.
Further, we focus on relaxation techniques and positive visualization, all of which are extremely beneficial for panic attacks. If needed, I prescribe low-dose anti-anxiety medication to work in concert with the cognitive concepts.
If you or someone you know suffers from panic attacks, understand that this is not an easy “irrationality” to conquer on one’s own. Panic Disorders and other Anxiety Disorders are issues I see on an almost daily basis, and I have every confidence we can help you or your loved one find solutions and peace. Contact me directly, call my office at (949) 481-0118, or for fastest service, simply complete my no-obligation Schedule an Appointment online form. I look forward to working with you.
To learn more about the entire “family” of Anxiety Disorders and their treatment, purchase Volume 2 of my 3-book series, Healing the Mind and Body: The Doctor and Patient Guide.