Panic symptoms and panic anxiety attacks are a relatively common condition in which a person experiences a period of quite intense anxiety which comes on suddenly. They can last from a few minutes to a few hours. The frequency of occurrence can also vary quite widely from occurring daily to occurring once every year or so. Panic attacks can also happen at any time and have even been known to happen whilst the person is asleep. The causes of panic symptoms can also vary and may be triggered by an entirely random event or a sequence of specific “personal trigger” events.

People who suffer frequent panic attacks are said to have a condition called panic disorder. It is estimated that 2% of the population will experience a panic attack during their lifetime. The external panic symptoms of an attack can have quite negative social results. It is estimated that 1 in 3 sufferers of panic disorder also have some form of agoraphobia – that is to say they are afraid to go out.

What’s it like

People who are having a panic attack often fear that they are having a heart attack, have difficulty breathing and in extreme cases fear that they may be dying. This is despite the fact that the fear experienced during a panic attack is often out of all proportion to reality.

The length of time that that panic symptoms is suffered by someone can vary from person to person. Panic disorder may continue for just a few months or last for years. This largely depends on when treatment is sought and what treatment is given. There is quite a bit of evidence available which suggests that with many people the symptoms just disappear of their own accord later in life.

Most sufferers of panic symptoms will get better after treatment. There are many treatments available and eventually a person will encounter a trigger event whilst under treatment but not have an attack. This will break the panic pattern and will eventually allow a person to lead a normal life without the need for further treatment.

Methods of Treatment

The best treatments are natural holistic ones which do not involve the used of antidepressants such as imipramine and Nardil. The patient should try activities which lead to stress reduction such as yoga and tai-chi. Indeed, most moderate physical exercise can help in relieving the symptoms of panic attacks. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine should be avoided where possible. Psychotherapy is another possible treatment which could help to reduce symptoms. Finally, cognitive-behavioral techniques using relaxation therapy has also been found to help people overcome the effects of panic symptoms.

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