Hospital Admission And Medical Costs
A 1996 study found that people who have panic attacks or panic disorder have a much higher rate of medical services utilization, along with higher medical costs. For instance, experiencing chest pain might lead you to believe you’re having a heart attack, which could lead to hospital admission.
This elevated use of medical services can be expensive over time, for both the patient and the medical system. However, more recent demographic studies are required to update whether this is still the case for people who have panic attacks today.
How To Help Someone Having A Panic Attack
Seeing a friend or loved one suffering a panic attack can be frightening. Their breathing may become abnormally fast and shallow, they could become dizzy or light-headed, tremble, sweat, feel nauseous, or think theyre having a heart attack. No matter how irrational you think their panicked response to a situation is, its important to remember that the danger seems very real to your loved one. Simply telling them to calm down or minimizing their fear wont help. But by helping your loved one ride out a panic attack, you can help them feel less fearful of any future attacks.
Stay calm yourself. Being calm, understanding, and non-judgmental will help your loved ones panic subside quicker.
Focus your loved one on their breathing. Find a quiet place for your friend to sit and then guide them to take slow, deep breaths for a few minutes.
Do something physical. Together, raise and lower your arms or stamp your feet. It can help to burn off some of your loved ones stress.
Get your friend out of their own head by asking them to name five things around them or talking soothingly about a shared interest.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. Once the panic attack is over, your loved one may feel embarrassed about having an attack in front of you. Reassure them and encourage them to seek help for their anxiety.
Panic attacks: what they are and what to do about them Free course to help you manage panic.
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Comorbidities With Panic Disorder
Until recently, the panic disorder was not distinguished from agoraphobia . As it stands in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5 agoraphobia is one of the most common disorders to co-occur with panic disorder. Current estimates contend that just under 2% of teens and adults have agoraphobia . Often, people associate panic attacks or their panic disorder with certain places, people, or events and the fear of another attack occurring can lead to comorbid fears of the location or idea that there is no escape, which leads to extreme avoidance. Panic disorder can also occur simultaneously with other anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and/or Social Anxiety Disorder , for example.
Depression also commonly co-occurs with panic disorder, with reports estimating comorbidity between 10-65% over one’s life. This comorbidity is more likely to develop at the same time that panic disorder is recognized and diagnosed, although roughly 30% of people have major depression before meeting criteria for panic disorder as well .
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What Causes Panic Disorder: Mind Body Or Both
Body: There may be a genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders some sufferers report that a family member has or had a panic disorder or some other emotional disorder such as depression. Studies with twins have confirmed the possibility of “genetic inheritance” of the disorder.
Panic Disorder could also be due to a biological malfunction, although a specific biological marker has yet to be identified.
All ethnic groups are vulnerable to panic disorder. For unknown reasons, women are twice as likely to get the disorder as men.
Mind: Stressful life events can trigger panic disorders. One association that has been noted is that of a recent loss or separation. Some researchers liken the “life stressor” to a thermostat that is, when stresses lower your resistance, the underlying physical predisposition kicks in and triggers an attack.
Both: Physical and psychological causes of panic disorder work together. Although initially attacks may come out of the blue, eventually the sufferer may actually help bring them on by responding to physical symptoms of an attack.
Believing You Have No Control Over Your Feelings
One of the objectives of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is giving you more power over your thoughts. And because your thoughts are directly linked to your body and your feelings, when you heal your mind your physical symptoms will decrease.
It may seem like panic happens to you, but in reality it doesnt. Once you understand this, you will have more control.
Shortness Of Breath Or Hyperventilation
Taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths can help your body and re-regulate your breathing. A benefit is that deep breathing can also activate the parasympathetic nervous system, calming the body’s fight-or-flight response and reducing feelings of anxiety.
What Is The Difference Between Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
- Panic attacks are fairly common and having one does not mean that you have panic disorder. For example, if you are feeling very stressed or overtired, or if you have been doing excessive exercise, you might have a panic attack. This does not mean that you have panic disorder.
- Panic attacks only become a problem if you are regularly worried about having more attacks, or if you are afraid that something bad will happen because of a panic attack. For example, people worry that they will faint, embarrass themselves, have a heart attack, go crazy, or die.
- In panic disorder, the panic attacks are unexpected and unpredictable. It is common for people with other anxiety disorders to have panic attacks, and this is not panic disorder. For example, people with a phobia of dogs might have a panic attack whenever they are near a dog. But in this case, the panic attack is expected, and the person is afraid of the dog not the panic attack.
TIP: Symptoms of anxiety and panic can be the result of a medical problem . Therefore, it is important to have a medical check-up to rule out any medical conditions.
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Agoraphobia And Other Phobias
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, or help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong.
If you have agoraphobia, leaving home, going out in public and travelling alone can cause intense anxiety. Many people with agoraphobia avoid everyday activities because of their phobia.
Agoraphobia is one of the conditions that can develop alongside panic disorder. People with panic disorder can develop agoraphobia because of their fear of having a panic attack in a public place.
You may worry that a panic attack in a public place will be embarrassing, or that you’ll have difficulty getting help if you need it. You may also worry about public places that you would have difficulty leaving, such as a train, if you were to have a panic attack.
If you have agoraphobia, you may find it difficult to leave the house, particularly if you’re not with a trusted family member or a friend.
If you have panic disorder, you may also develop other fears and phobias, which can often seem irrational. For example, you may start to worry about a particular object or action that triggers your attacks and become fearful of those things.
Drug And Alcohol Misuse
Some studies have shown that conditions that cause intense anxiety, such as panic disorder, can also increase your risk of developing an alcohol or drug problem.
The side effects or withdrawal symptoms of both prescribed medication and illegal drugs can increase the symptoms of anxiety.
Smoking and caffeine can also make your anxiety symptoms worse, so you should try to give up smoking and limit the amount of caffeine in your diet.
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Myth : Panic Attacks And Anxiety Are The Same Thing
Fact: Panic attacks can occur without a trigger such as anxiety.
Anxiety is the feeling of uneasiness, nervousness or overwhelming apprehension over perceived threats or the belief that one cannot cope with such threats. Nearly everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, usually due to work, school or having to make a big decision. Just because someone has anxiety does not mean they will have a panic attack.
Anxiety that is uncontrolled and gets worse over time, interfering with daily activities, can be classified as an anxiety disorder. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that specifically causes panic attacks. These attacks can be triggered by certain situations or they can occur unexpectedly. The symptoms associated with panic attacks can be severe and feel like an actual heart attack or impending doom. A person who has panic attacks may have excessive worry related to any future attacks. This can influence certain behaviors such as the avoidance of places or situations that are perceived as possible triggers.
*It should be noted that not all anxiety disorders cause panic attacks.
Some People May Develop Panic Disorders
For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.
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Myth : Panic Attack Triggers Should Be Avoided
Fact: Some treatment methods encourage the introduction of triggers to decrease sensitivity.
Some people may choose to avoid triggers, but its not the only way of coping with panic attacks. Some therapists, with the patients permission, may choose to treat panic disorder with exposure therapy. This may seem like the exact opposite of what you should do, but continual avoidance means the fear is still present and can give rise to future attacks. This type of therapy focuses on the management of known fears. If an individual with panic attacks can identify their triggers or fears, a therapist can gradually expose them to situations or ideas that cause them anxiety.
Exposure therapy can help individuals overcome the dread of certain situations in a safe and controlled environment. There are many types of exposure therapy:
- Imagined exposure: A person will mentally confront their fears
- In vivo exposure: Exposure to objects and scenarios
- Virtual reality exposure: This is a combination of imagined and in vivo exposure that makes a situation appear real but is fabricated
If you or someone you love struggles with panic attacks and has formed a dependency on prescribed or other substances, call The Recovery Village to learn more about treatment options. A representative can discuss a care plan that fits your needs. Help is available, you dont have to live in fear.
What Can I Do About It
There are a few different things you can do that have been shown by research to help the most:
Although there are many other alternative therapies for anxiety, there is less evidence that they actually work. Some people find that herbal remedies help reduce their bodys response to anxiety. Remember that even herbal remedies can have side-effects and may interfere with other medications. Dosages can also vary depending on the brand you use. Talk about the risks and benefits of herbal or other alternative treatments with your health care providerand make sure they know all the different treatments youre trying.
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Common Panic Attack Triggers
Panic Disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by episodes of intense anxiety and distress. These episodes, or panic attacks, can be experienced differently from person to person. But, some identifying symptoms of panic attacks include increased heart rate, feelings of fear and dread, heavy breathing, and heavy or painful feelings in the chest. For individuals who deal with panic attacks, it can be helpful to identify triggers that stimulate these episodes. This way, these panic attack triggers can be avoided, helping to prevent panic attacks from happening altogether.
Coping Skills For Anxiety Including Panic Attacks
Therapy can also help a person develop effective coping skills for preventing and managing anxiety. These may vary depending on personal preferences, but can include increasing social supports, problem-solving for stressors, journaling, exploring spirituality, exercise/movement, etc. Practicing healthy self-care habits and generally trying to live a balanced lifestyle can simultaneously help to reduce the stress one may experience in life, while increasing ones ability to effectively cope with anxiety.
Summary: Anxiety is a common human experience, but persistent and debilitating anxiety, is often what causes people to seek treatment. There are a variety of types of anxiety. Panic or Panic Attacks are among the types of anxiety. Learn what are panic attacks, symptoms and causes and treatments for panic attacks and other anxiety disorders.
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Don’t Fight A Panic Attack
Fighting a panic attack can often make it worse. Trying to resist the attack and finding you’re unable to can increase your sense of anxiety and panic.
Instead, during a panic attack, reassure yourself by accepting that although it may seem embarrassing, and your symptoms may be difficult to deal with, the attack isn’t life-threatening. Focus on the fact that the attack will evetually end and try your best to let it pass.
Myth : Panic Attacks Cause Extreme Harm
Fact: Panic attacks can feel terrible, but are not life-threatening.
Panic attacks are often described as one of the most frightening experiences a person can have. The symptoms can become so severe that a person mistakenly thinks they are having a heart attack. In spite of the severity of such symptoms, most panic attacks can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 30 minutes or longer. Here are some common symptoms associated with panic attacks, including:
- Rapid heart rate
- Strong fear of losing control
- Choking sensation
The symptoms of a panic attack can occur without warning and can happen anywhere at work, in class or at the store. Panic attacks can even wake you from sleep. Its important to remember that even though panic attacks are very frightening, they are not life-threatening. However, the stress hormones involved in the various symptoms of a panic attack can increase inflammation in the body. Therefore, when panic disorder is untreated and panic attacks occur frequently, this can affect a persons overall health. Similar to the effects of chronic stress, some negative effects could include increased blood pressure and the buildup of fat tissue, leading to weight gain.
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What Are The Complications Of Panic Disorder
As the panic gets worse and an attacks last longer, you may find it very tough to cope with everyday life, keep a job, or function in social settings. You may fear going into places where it may be hard to escape or you feel trapped. Some people can’t leave their home for fear that help is not available or that he or she will be forced into a situation that will trigger an attack.
People with this condition may also abuse alcohol or drugs to relieve stress.
How Is Panic Disorder Treated
If youre experiencing symptoms of panic disorder, talk to a health care provider. After discussing your history, a health care provider may conduct a physical exam to ensure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing your symptoms. A health care provider may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker. The first step to effective treatment is to get a diagnosis, usually from a mental health professional.
Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy , medication, or both. Speak with a health care provider about the best treatment for you.
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Panic Disorder In Children
Panic disorder is more common in teenagers than in younger children.
Panic attacks can be particularly hard for children and young people to deal with. Severe panic disorder may affect their development and learning.
If your child has the signs and symptoms of panic disorder, they should see a GP.
After taking a detailed medical history the GP will carry out a thorough physical examination to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms.
They may refer your child to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. The specialist may recommend a course of CBT for your child.
Screening for other anxiety disorders may also be needed to help find the cause of your child’s panic attacks.
How To Stop A Panic Attack
Before wrapping up the article, here are some tips for you to practice if you or your loved one is having panic attacks.
- Practice deep breathing by inhaling through your nose, holding your breath while counting to 5, and finally exhaling through your mouth.
- Use your senses to ground yourself back at the moment. Focus on what you are seeing, touching, or listening to.
- Prepare a list of images you can visualize when having a panic attack.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle including exercise and a healthy diet.
- Practice muscle relaxation once daily.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Panic Attack
Panic attacks trigger your sympathetic nervous system. This leads to the fight or flight response that you experience when faced with danger.
A panic attack can occur suddenly and without warning. Its symptoms may come on gradually and peak after about ten minutes. They may include one or more of the following:
- tingling or numbness
- feeling that death is imminent
In some cases, you may develop an overwhelming fear of experiencing another panic attack. This may be a sign that youve developed a panic disorder.
Panic attacks arent life threatening. But their symptoms can be similar to those of other life-threatening health conditions, such as heart attack. If you experience symptoms of a panic attack, seek medical attention right away. Its important to rule out the possibility that youre actually having a heart attack.
The exact cause of panic attacks is often unknown. In some cases, panic attacks are linked to an underlying mental health condition, such as:
- a major life change, such as having a baby
- losing a loved one
Living with a mental health condition, such as a phobia or PTSD, can also raise your risk of panic attacks.