Panic Attacks – A Terrifying And Misunderstood Illness
Panic attacks are the most terrifying experience for the sufferer. You can be calm and everything is right with the world and then suddenly it happens. Your heart starts racing and you suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of dread and doom. Your palms become clammy and you suddenly feel unsafe and you need to get out of the current situation you’re in.
For those who suffer from panic attacks this is a common occurrence. These attacks strike without warning and put the sufferer on edge to the point where that person no longer wants to leave the house. Being far from home during an attack only exaggerates the fear. Many who suffer from these attacks have been to many doctors and the emergency room many times, convinced they were having a heart attack. Each time they are told that there is nothing physically wrong with them. The cause of panic attacks are yet unknown, but there does seem to be a genetic factor as often they run in families and seem to afflict women more than men.
Panic disorder often leads to other mental health issues because it can lead to a sense of isolation, depression and an overall feeling of dread. This sense of fear can cripple the sufferer where they develop phobias against things that were occurring at the time of their first attack. They might be in an elevator at the time and this leads to a phobia of elevators. Anything that can be associated with an attack can lead to a fear of that particular situation.
Many who have had panic attacks fear losing control in a public place, which often leads to agoraphobia where they are afraid to leave their home to do something as simple as grocery shopping. They associate being home with being safe, even though the panic attacks often occur at home. Most who suffer from panic attacks report that they went from being perfectly calm, to suddenly feeling their heart slam in their chest and begin to race.
One of the biggest complications of panic attacks is a feeling of isolation. Those who have them often feel as though they are all alone with their illness. This is only exaggerated by the fact that loved ones are often left perplexed and don’t understand the sensation of the attack and the sheer terror that the sufferer feels. In a misguided attempt to help, they often tell the person to simply “get over it” which is counter productive and often brings on frustration on the part of the person experiencing the attack. Learning to cope with panic attacks is best done through cognitive behavioral therapy where the sufferer is taught to think differently and rationally about the situation.
There is relief for panic attacks with the right treatment program and the support of loved ones. Those suffering need to know that although their condition might not be understood, they need the care and support of those around them. With this support and the right therapy, panic attacks can be overcome and the sufferer can begin to enjoy life again.