Panic and anxiety attacks are described as sudden experiences of fear or anxiety that can be quite overwhelming. When one experiences a panic and anxiety attack, he or she immediately feels as if their heart is pounding a mile a minute and they suddenly feel that they cannot breathe. Often, the sufferer even feels that he or she may be going crazy or even dying. If panic and anxiety attacks are not treated properly, it can lead to other serious problems. Fortunately, there are proven treatments for these attacks that will help those who are suffering from them.
Panic and anxiety attacks can strike anywhere, anytime. It can happen when you are at home, in your car, in the mall, or just walking down the street. There are many signs and symptoms to these attacks, which usually reach the peak of their effect in only ten minutes. These attacks usually last for as long as an hour, but the average time is 30 minutes. Full blown panic attacks have the following signs or symptoms:
Shortness of breath Chest pains Shaking Feeling of being choked Sweating Nausea Feeling tingling sensations in various parts of the body Numbness Feeling of dying or going crazy
There are no specific or exact causes for panic or anxiety attacks, but some studies have shown that these attacks usually are hereditary. Other causes for panic and anxiety attacks include these occurrences happening during major changes in one’s life such as graduating from school, getting a new job, getting married, or starting a family. Also, severe stressful situations such as getting a divorce, getting fired, or losing a loved one can also lead to panic attacks. There are also medical conditions and other physical factors that can cause or trigger these panic and anxiety attacks. These include hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, withdrawal from medications, and overuse of stimulants such as caffeine and amphetamines.
Fortunately, panic and anxiety attacks are treatable. The two top treatments are medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Sometimes, a combination of these two treatments is needed.
The use of medication to treat panic attacks is very important to help control or reduce the symptoms that come along with the attacks. Medication is most effective if it is partnered with other treatments and exercises such as therapy or changes in one’s lifestyle. The most common medications used to treat panic attacks include antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Antidepressants usually take more than a week before you see its effects, which is why they have to be taken recurrently. Benzodiazepines are medications that act within 30 minutes to an hour of taking them. They are to be ingested during a panic attack to help relieve symptoms. It is very important to take high precaution, however, as these drugs can be very addictive and can lead to serious cases.
During cognitive behavioral therapy, the thinking patterns and behavioral techniques of the patient are studied to help them change and improve their outlook on life and especially on their fears. It helps the patient to understand and know what to do in case another panic attack occurs.