Emerging suddenly when there is no reason; It is a disorder that shows symptoms such as chest tightness, contraction, palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating. Panic disorder, which is very common in the society, is accompanied by a constant anxiety about attacks and the outcome of the attacks, and a number of avoidance behaviors to prevent attacks.
Usually, when the person goes to the hospital as a result of the attack, he learns that he has not experienced this condition due to a physiological discomfort.
Although the age of onset of panic disorder is mostly 20s, it can be seen at any time in life. It is observed in women approximately twice as often as men.
It occurs between 10 minutes and 30 minutes, which occurs suddenly; The most intense fear and crisis moment experienced in the first 10 minutes. Its duration can rarely be up to an hour. There are at least 4 of the following symptoms in a panic attack.
– Acceleration of the heart beat, palpitations
– Chest tightness or pain sensation
– Abdominal pain or nausea
– Losing control, feeling like going crazy
– Fear of death
– Don’t be fooled, dizzy
– Chill or hot flashes
– Feeling strange or strange
Is it a heart attack or panic attack?
Most of the panic attack symptoms are physical, and often these symptoms are so severe that you may think you have had a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks repeatedly refer to the doctor or emergency room to treat what they believe to be a life-threatening medical problem. While it is important to exclude possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, high heart rate, or difficulty breathing, it is panic that is ignored as a potential cause.
To understand panic disorder, it is also important to consider the concepts of fear and anxiety, which are closely related to each other.
Fear; is the reaction we show in situations that suddenly appear. This “dangerous” perception creates slow or few reactions in the person. The person will either stick with the situation / event, defend himself or prefer to get away from the danger. This vital coping method is a biological reaction.
For example, you are in the forest and imagine a huge bear coming towards you. In this case, it is normal to react to fear and keep you alive. War or flight response comes into play here.
Fear causes sudden changes in our body. Pulse increases, pupils grow, physiological changes such as sweating, rapid breathing are observed.
Anxiety, on the other hand, includes worries about the future. Although it is not always as concrete as fear, it is a slower and more complex emotion than fear. Insomnia, nausea, tension in the muscles and anxiety about the future are the most common symptoms.
One of the most important reasons that increase fear and anxiety is that the person with panic disorder is constantly afraid and worried that a new attack will come. This reason is very effective in turning panic disorder into vicious circle. Serious concerns such as fear of an increased attack, not being able to reach the hospital, having a heart attack and dying or losing control can be experienced. Chronicization of these reactions mentioned above may also cause problems such as depression and anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder with agoraphobia
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to fear public spaces and open spaces. However, agoraphobia is believed to develop as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder. Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually occurs one year after your first recurrent panic attacks.
If you are agoraphobic, you are afraid to have panic attacks in situations where escape will be difficult or embarrassing. You may also be afraid of having panic attacks in an area where you cannot get help. Because of these fears, you begin to avoid increasing situations.
For example, you can start avoiding:
– Crowded places such as shopping malls or sports fields.
– Cars, planes, subways and other types of travel.
– Social meetings, restaurants or other situations where panic attacks are embarrassing.
– Physical exercise in case of panic triggering.
– Certain foods or drinks that can trigger panic, such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or certain medications.
– Going somewhere without someone’s company that makes you feel safe. In more serious cases, you can only feel safe at home.
Self-help tips for panic attacks
It is important to know that there are many things you can do to help yourself, no matter how weak or uncontrolled you feel about your panic attacks. The following self-help techniques can make a big difference to help you overcome panic:
-Learn about panic and anxiety. Knowing more about panic can go a long way to relieving your boredom. Learn about anxiety, panic disorder, and war or flight response during a panic attack. You will learn that the feelings and sensations you feel when panicking are normal and that you will not go crazy.
-Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine. All of these can cause panic attacks in sensitive people. Also, be careful with drugs that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and cold medicines.
-Learn how to control your breathing. Hyperventilation provides many sensations (such as dizziness and tightness of the chest) that occur during a panic attack. On the other hand, breathing deeply can alleviate panic symptoms. By learning to control your breath, you can calm yourself when you start to feel anxious. And if you know how to control your breath, you are also less likely to create the senses you fear.
– Apply relaxation techniques. When administered regularly, activities such as meditation and progressive muscle relaxation strengthen the body’s relaxation response (anxiety and panic-related stress response), and these relaxation practices not only increase relaxation, but also increase feelings of joy and equality.
Make sure to meet face-to-face with your family and friends. Anxiety symptoms can get worse when you feel isolated, so reach out to people who care about you regularly. If you think there is no one to go, discover ways to meet new people and build supportive friendships.
Regular exercise. Exercise is a natural anxiety relief, so try to move for at least 30 minutes most days (as good as three 10-minute sessions). Rhythmic aerobic exercise – such as walking, running, swimming or dancing – that requires moving both your arms and legs can be particularly effective.
Get enough restful sleep. Poor or poor quality sleep can worsen anxiety, so try to get comfortable sleep between seven and nine hours a night. If sleeping well is a problem for you, these tips can help you get a good night’s sleep.