Panic disorder is a common condition in which a person has episodes of intense fear or anxiety that occur suddenly. Panic attacks can indicate the presence of panic disorder, depression, or other forms of anxiety-based illnesses. A panic attack typically lasts for several minutes and is one of the most distressing conditions that a person can experience. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. An attack generally peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer. At least 1.7% of adult Americans, or about 3 million people, will have panic attacks at some time in their lives. Panic attacks may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder. These attacks are a serious health problem in this country. About 5% of the population will experience panic attacks during their lifetimes. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, and having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger a panic attack.
More women than men are affected by panic attacks. Some people are affected by frequent panic attacks, a condition known as panic disorder. A panic attack is a response of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The most common symptoms may include: trembling, dyspnea(shortness of breath), heart palpitations, chest pain (or chest tightness), sweating, nausea, dizziness (or slight vertigo), light-headedness, hyperventilation, paresthesias (tingling sensations), sensations of choking or smothering. Many of the symptoms that occur during a panic attack are the same as the symptoms of diseases of the heart, lungs, intestines or nervous system. The similarities between panic disorder and other diseases may add to the person’s fear and anxiety during and after a panic attack. Heredity, stress and certain biochemical factors may play a role. Several medicines can make panic attacks less severe or stop them altogether. Paroxetine (brand name: Paxil) and sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) are antidepressant medicines that have been approved by the U.S.
Medications from the beta blocker family (for example, propranolol) are sometimes used to treat the physical symptoms associated with a panic attack. Antidepressants are very effective in preventing anxiety and panic attacks. Antidepressants will not make you lose control or change your personality. These medicines can be used for as long as necessary, even for years. Alprazolam and clonazepam (brand name: Klonopin) are also medicines approved by the FDA to treat panic disorder. These medicines give relief from fear and anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people learn to deal with panic symptoms, using techniques like muscle and breathing relaxation. Antidepressants, such as Tofranil, often help reduce anxiety and the frequency and severity of panic attacks. Psychotherapy offers support and helps to minimize the fearfulness of symptoms, and sometimes is sufficient to clear up the disorder.
Panic Attack Treatment Tips
1. Alternative treatments like meditation and relaxation therapy are often used to help relax the body and relieve anxiety.
2. Psychotherapy offers support and helps to minimize the fearfulness of symptoms, and sometimes is sufficient to clear up the disorder.
3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people learn to deal with panic symptoms, using techniques like muscle and breathing relaxation.
4. Antidepressants, such as Tofranil, often help reduce anxiety and the frequency and severity of panic attacks.
5. Benzodiazepines These anti-anxiety drugs act very quickly.
6. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce or eliminate panic attacks.