Anyone who has ever had unexpected panic attack will almost certainly never forgot the sudden and terrifying burst of symptoms, both physical and psychological. It feels as if you were in a small cage with a large hungry tiger only there is no objective danger. Imagine yourself sitting at home comfortably watching TV.
All of a sudden, you get a horrible sensation of dread, your heart begins to race, and you don’t know why. You think that you are having a heart attack. Before you know it, you are sweating, have trouble catching your breath, feel dizzy, and are frightened to death.
You feel as if you need air, as if you need to move around, as if you need to do something/anything to stop these terrible feelings. You try to calm yourself, but it doesn’t work . You are rushed to the hospital but, by the time you get to the emergency room, your symptoms have disappeared and you feel silly about getting everyone so worked up.
You have a thorough examination and blood check and the doctor says he cannot find anything wrong with your heart. It was just an anxiety attack. Just an anxiety attack? You feel as though you were going to die! Now you feel you are going crazy.
There is close connection between your mental state and how you feel physically. Heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, and respiration are all stroobly influenced by mental input. When we get nervous, we feel it physically the “butterflies” in our stomach before a final exam or asking someone out to date.
The first step in the treatment of Panic Disorder is to recognize that all the scary feelings and physical symptoms are part of the well recognized and very treatable Anxiety Disorder that is defined below.
According to the diagnostic manual, you have Panic Disorder if:
- You have had two or more panic attacks that came on out of the blue and for no apparent reason.
- A panic attack is a discrete episode of extreme fear and anxiety. The symptoms some one suddenly and reach a crescendo within ten minutes. The attack ends within few hours.
- During a typical panic attack you develop four of the following symptoms:
- These panic attacks had a significant impact on you, in that either: