Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia
Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep.
Many people don’t know that their disorder is real and highly responsive to treatment. Some are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones, about what they experience for fear of being considered a hypochondriac. Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves from friends, family, and others who could be helpful or supportive.
The disorder often occurs with other mental and physical disorders, including other anxiety disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, or substance abuse. This may complicate of getting a correct diagnosis.
Some people stop going into situations or places in which they’ve previously had a panic attack in anticipation of it happening again.
These people have agoraphobia, and they typically avoid public places where they feel immediate escape might be difficult, such as shopping malls, public transportation, or large sports arenas. About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia. Their world may become smaller as they are constantly on guard, waiting for the next panic attack. Some people develop a fixed route or territory, and it may become impossible for them to travel beyond their safety zones without suffering severe anxiety.
A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
- Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- Fear of dying
Since many of the symptoms of panic disorder mimic those of heart disease, thyroid problems, breathing disorders, and other illnesses, people with panic disorder often make many visits to emergency rooms or doctors’ surgeries, convinced they have a life-threatening issue.
In the past it might have taken months or years and lots of frustration before getting a proper diagnosis. Some people are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors or loved ones about what they are experiencing for fear of being seen as a hypochondriac. Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves from friends, family, and others who could be helpful. We hope this pattern is changing.
Many people suffering from panic attacks don’t know they have a real and highly treatable disorder.
Speak to your Doctor today for advice about the different medications and therapies that are available in order to overcome your mental illnesses. You don’t have to be embarrassed about your condition, its more common than you actually think, and GPs deal with all sorts of mental health issues on a daily basis. Take it from me, i avoided it and suffered for years because i was afraid what people might think. But knowing what i know now, Its not something to be embarrassed about and more people than you actually think also suffer from the same illness your going through.
YOUR NOT ALONE WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER !!!