I would like to provide you with informed information about Panic Disorder.
Having the correct knowledge about what is happening to you can be a very powerful tool in overcoming your present issue, and so knowing how Anxiety manifests within you will help you to remove some of the fear associated with your current symptoms and begin to stand back from them. It can also help you to gain the answers to lots of questions that you may have about your symptoms and what it all means going forwards from this point.
Common feelings with all Anxiety Disorders are fear, anxious feelings and Panic Attacks. When those Panic attacks start to appear for no real reason and strike randomly and often, and then there is a subsequent preoccupation with these Attacks, then this would be described as Panic Disorder.
A Panic attack is an sudden intense episode of fear. Panic attacks can last minutes or hours and within that time you will be very uncomfortable, usually having a variety of weird or frightening thoughts, uncomfortable physical sensations and urges to protect yourself.
Panic Attacks themselves are not at all dangerous, but the thing is they are incredibly effective in their work of convincing you that they are. So much so that even people who have had thousands of attacks still believe that the next one won't be like the rest and will be the one that takes them to the point of no return.
That is the strength of the panic cycle and why we can develop Panic Disorder, other Anxiety Disorders and different Phobia's from an anxious feeling or an initial Panic Attack.
Let's look at how this can start and happen to you in the first place.
It is very easy to turn a Panic Attack to turn into Panic Disorder and it is helpful to how you can begin to make this happen.
The first Panic attack will catch you off guard and scare you as you won't have felt anything like it before, it can be an overwhelming experience. The fear of this awful thing happening again quickly grows and you begin to become preoccupied with having another similar attack putting steps in place to protect yourself from it happening again.
When we are suffering stress symptoms, the tendency is to begin to focus inwards on your symptoms rather than outwards at the world and your regular life, the focus on the symptoms then becomes the problem. But getting caught up in the content of the feelings, thoughts and general symptoms is not the right way to go about finding a solution to this problem as there is a bigger cycle going on that causes these symptoms and that is what you have to break. The content and symptoms will then disappear as they are irrelevant in the bigger picture.
This focus on your fear can build quickly, almost becoming an obsession, eventually you flick your internal switch and turn on your fear response. Once this fear response switch within you is turned on, you find you experience attacks in a variety of places and situations. Once this happens, it is a normal response for you to follow your natural instinct to protect yourself from this and the usual definition of this protection will be to avoid any situation or place in which you feel Panic symptoms, or apply a behaviour that you feel may help you to cope if the anxious feelings come. This avoidance will also apply to future situations in which you perceive you may feel Panic symptoms will occur.
The trouble is that one place or situation very quickly becomes a lot of situations until you don't do anything at all. That is the reality of Panic disorder and the avoidance or safety behaviours that you put in place to protect yourself are the very things that keep this cycle going.
Sufferers of Panic Disorder often feel fine one minute, and yet the next may feel totally out of control and in the grips of a Panic Attack. Sufferers start to dread the next attack, and quickly enter into a cycle of living 'in fear of fear'.
Symptoms of panic disorder are very similar to what you feel during a Panic Attack, but they may be constant and severe:
- Racing Heart
- Numb hands, arms or pins and needles
- Feelings of impending doom
- chest pains
- A sensation of choking or being unable to breathe
- Feeling you are about to go crazy
- A feeling that you are so fragile that you may break into a million pieces
- Being easily startled
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing all control of yourself
- Feeling of total unreality
- Rumination (Over thinking)
- Constant fear feelings
One study found that people sometimes see 10 or more doctors before being properly diagnosed, and that only one out of four people with the disorder receive the treatment they need. That's why it's important to know what the symptoms are, and to make sure you get the right help.
I believe firmly that however strong the grip that Panic Disorder has on you, you can learn to reverse and control your symptoms and leave a good quality of life once again.